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Jim O'Neill to Barron's: Brent Crude Oil May Surge 25 Percent to $80 in Next Year

Jim O'Neill to Barron's: Brent Crude Oil May Surge 25 Percent to $80 in Next Year

By    |   Monday, 27 November 2017 11:02 AM

Economist Jim O'Neill predicts Brent crude oil may surge more than 25 percent to $80 a barrel in the next year.

The market is waking up to robust global economic growth and is wary of geopolitical risk emanating from Saudi Arabia, CNBC cites O'Neill as writing for Barron's.

"While oil prices could be about $60 per barrel in November 2018, my guess is that they will have risen to about $80 per barrel in the meantime," O'Neill wrote in Barron's this weekend.

O'Neill, the former chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management and creator of the "BRIC" acronym, says the market is realizing that global economic growth is likely expanding at 4 percent or higher and will stoke more demand for oil.

On the supply side, traders are getting nervous about Saudi Arabia, "the world's most important marginal supplier of oil," as the kingdom embarks on "radical changes" to domestic and foreign policy, says O'Neill, an economics professor at the University of Manchester.

"With the spot price having now moved above the five-year forward price, one could conclude that a trend change is under way. For my part, I'm unsure, but I wouldn't be surprised if it happened," O'Neill wrote.

Oil prices fell on Monday, with U.S. crude easing from two-year highs on prospects of higher output, but losses were limited before an OPEC meeting that is expected to extend output limits, Reuters reported.

Brent crude oil was down 10 cents at $63.76 a barrel by 1430 GMT. U.S. light crude was 70 cents lower at $58.25.

U.S. crude oil production has risen by 15 percent since mid-2016 to 9.66 million barrels per day (bpd), not far from top producers Russia and Saudi Arabia. Rising drilling activity means output is likely to grow further.

U.S. energy firms added oil rigs last week. The monthly rig count rose for the first time since July, to 747 active rigs, as producers were encouraged by rising crude prices.

U.S. crude touched $59.05 a barrel on Friday, its strongest since mid-2015, partly driven by the closure of the 590,000 bpd Keystone pipeline connecting Canada’s oil sand fields with the United States following a spill, which reduced stocks.

Oil prices have risen sharply in recent months thanks to efforts to limit output by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other producers.

OPEC and its allies cut production by 1.8 million bpd in January and have agreed to hold down output until March. OPEC meets on Thursday to discuss policy and most analysts expect some form of deal to extend the cuts.

“A long-running barrage of bullish rhetoric from the oil cartel has cemented widely-held beliefs that supply curbs will be extended through to the end of next year,” said Stephen Brennock, analyst at London brokerage PVM Oil Associates.

Analysts at Barclays also expect OPEC to keep output limits for another six or nine months, but said this was so widely forecast that there was a risk prices could fall after the OPEC meeting.

“This week, we expect volatile prices as market participants shed length,” Barclays said in a note to clients. “Prices might fall in the immediate aftermath of the deal as speculative length ‘sells the news’. Still, fundamentals should keep Brent at an average of $60 a barrel this quarter.”

Harry Tchilinguirian, head of oil strategy at French bank BNP Paribas, also saw “plenty of room for disappointment.”

“Should the outcome of the next OPEC meeting fall short of expectations, the large net-long speculative position on oil futures can unwind, sending prices lower and volatility higher.”

(Newsmax wire services contributed to this report).

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Economist Jim O'Neill predicts Brent crude oil may surge more than 25 percent to $80 a barrel in the next year.
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Monday, 27 November 2017 11:02 AM
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