Tags: Oil | forecasting | imprecise | science

US Energy Official: Oil Price Forecasting Is 'Imprecise Science'

By    |   Saturday, 07 February 2015 05:02 PM

The Energy Department, just like private analysts, failed to predict the plunge in oil prices over the past seven months that sent them to 5½-year lows last month.

So what gives?

"We’re making assumptions [about supply and demand], and those assumptions are imprecise. There’s a wide range of possible outcomes," Tancred Lidderdale, a senior economist at the department's Energy Information Administration, told International Business Times.

Michael Loewen, a commodity strategist at TD Securities, told the news service that predicting oil prices is "both a science and an art."

When it comes to science, analysts pore over data from many sources to calculate supply and demand.

"But you have to assign a probability to certain factors actually happening, and so that’s the art side," Loewen said.

"You have to have a very good handle on both sides to be worth your salt."

Unforeseen events, such as Russia's invasion of Ukraine, can put a crimp in any forecast, he said.

Meanwhile, John Kilduff, founding partner of Again Capital, doesn't think oil's 7 percent rally this week — to $51.55 a barrel — will last.

"I still believe we're going to go to that $30 to $33 area, which is the low point from the financial crisis in 2008, 2009," he told CNBC.

"What you saw over the past several days was technical in nature, a short squeeze. This volatility is a little crazy, and I think that $30 is a downside target for technicians that are in this market."

Oil recently has experienced a rollercoaster ride.

While news emerged last Friday that oil companies shut down 90 rigs in the previous week, that just represents a jettison of "the runts of the litter," Kilduff said.

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The Energy Department, just like private analysts, failed to predict the plunge in oil prices over the past seven months that sent them to 5 ½-year lows last month.
Oil, forecasting, imprecise, science
312
2015-02-07
Saturday, 07 February 2015 05:02 PM
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