OPEC curbs, supply risks to buoy oil prices in 2020: Reuters poll
DUBAI: Oil prices will remain supported near current levels this year as persistent geo-political risks and OPEC-led output curbs help offset growing supply from other producers, a Reuters poll showed on Friday.
The survey of 50 economists and analysts, mainly conducted before the coronavirus outbreak, forecast benchmark Brent crude LCOc1 to average $63.48 per barrel in 2020. That compares with an average of $63.76 so far this year and last month’s forecast of $63.07.
The 2020 outlook for West Texas Intermediate CLc1 rose to $58.22 a barrel from December’s $57.70 forecast.
Oil prices surged earlier this month after a U.S. drone strike killed a top Iranian commander, but the rally was short-lived.
“Heightened tensions in the Middle East will keep upward pressure on prices, as the risk that U.S. and Iran could accidentally enter into a direct military conflict persists.” Economist Intelligence Unit analyst Cailin Birch said.
Prices are now near their lowest since October however, on fears that the coronavirus epidemic might hit global growth and oil demand, but further downside should be capped by lower output from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
“OPEC will come close to balancing the market in 2020 and their deeper than expected cuts will provide a layer of support as oil markets remain fixated on the recent output increase with non-OPEC producers,” OANDA analyst Edward Moya said.
Most poll respondents expect OPEC and its allies led by Russia, a grouping known as OPEC+, to extend their agreement to limit supply beyond the currently agreed end date at the end of March. - Reuters

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