Oil price guesswork

• Oil will probably continue to decline to as low as $30 bbl., according to Gary Cohn, president and chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. “We’re probably in the lower, longer view,” said Cohn.

• Oil has the potential to reach $200 bbl. because of a lack of investment in new supply, said OPEC Secretary General Abdell El-Badri. He gave no time frame for when oil will hit that price.

• Shale oil will soon be needed to make up for production declines around the world, pushing U.S. prices as high as $65 bbl., the head of Astenbeck Capital Management said.

• In a Bloomberg News survey of analysts and traders, 12 of 32 respondents predicted oil futures would decline early in the year while 10 forecast an increase. “We don’t think we have seen the bottom yet,” said Giovanni Staunovo, a commodities analyst at UBS in Zurich. “We are establishing a bottom,” said Bill O’Grady, chief market strategist at Confluence Investment Management. “In the long run, probably $60 is going to be your pivot point.” Oil could fall as low as $30 because supply surpluses won’t disappear overnight, said Barclays analyst Miswin Mahesh. 

• “Probably the most encouraging sign for oil prices is that supply drawdown,” Joseph Tanious, principal and investment strategist at Bessemer Trust, told The Wall Street Journal. “But I’d want to see more confirmation of that before we call a bottom.”

• The recent surge in oil prices is just a head fake, and oil as cheap as $20 a barrel may soon be the way, said Citigroup analyst Edward Morse. He sees a rebound to around $75 by year end.

So, if you are unsure about the future of oil prices, don’t feel bad. Apparently no one has a clue how or when this cycle might end.

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