BofA Merrill cuts crude oil price forecasts for 2017, 2018

Posted July 01, 2017

"We expect this will leave prices trading near $45 (a barrel) until there is evidence of a decline in the USA horizontal oil rig count, sustained stock draws or additional OPEC production cuts", they said in the note.

The current USA crude futures were up by a massive 5.1% increase this week alone, while the Brent crude also did well on this week having 4.8% increase on its belt.

US crude futures settled up 19 cents at $44.93 a barrel on Thursday after hitting a two-week high of $45.45 in late-morning trading.

Reuters' monthly oil price poll showed analysts have reduced their price forecasts again, with 2017 average Brent and WTI prices lowered by more than $2 since last month. Schenker says sustained growth in China is essential for the future health of the oil market.

"There are two key drivers".

Another factor supporting the oil prices is the decrease in crude stocks in Cushing terminal, the largest one in the US.

Crude prices slipped to the lowest in 10 months last week but have since rebounded more than 7 percent, stretching their bull-run to the longest since April.

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A weaker dollar and lower USA crude oil production for last week are pushing oil prices up this week to their seventh consecutive trading session in the black, but crude prices have dropped by double digits since the beginning of the year and are set to record their worst first-half performance since the first half of 1998.

Omran al-Zwai, a spokesman for Arabian Gulf Oil Company (AGOCO), an NOC subsidiary, said output had been as high as 950,000 bpd in recent days, rising from about 885,000 bpd at the start of last week. At the same time, gasoline reserves in the country decreased by 0.9 million barrels, or by 0.37 percent - to 241 million barrels.

That combined two-year Canadian increase is equal to nearly a third of Opec's production cuts that it made with allies like Russian Federation at the beginning of this year in an effort to raise prices.

The economists comments come in the context of the Organisation for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), having previously announced that its members would cut production in order to force the price upwards.

OPEC has exempted Nigeria and Libya from the curbs, leaving them free to ramp up output following local unrest, with Libyan oil production nearing 1 million bpd.

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