POLL-Oil price forecasts cut as market slumps

Reuters Middle East

* Forecasts downgraded after sharp falls in spot prices

* Brent seen averaging $107.60 in 2013 vs $111.70 in 2012

* WTI average seen at $94.60 vs $94.15 in 2012

* WTI seen outperforming Brent

* For a table of forecasts, see

April 30 (Reuters) - Brent crude will be hover around $100 a

barrel for the next two years, a Reuters poll showed after

analysts slashed their forecasts for the oil price to reflect

ample supply and sluggish economic growth.

Brent crude oil will average $107.60 per barrel this

year, Reuters monthly oil price survey for April predicted on

Tuesday, down from $110.80 in last month's poll and below last

year's average price of $111.70.

Slower-than-expected growth data from the United States and

China, the world's biggest oil consumers, in the past month has

tempered the outlook for oil demand while global output has kept

rising, especially from U.S. shale oil projects.

Brent has lost more than 6 percent since the start of April

and has averaged close to $110.40 so far in 2013.

The poll forecasts the downtrend in prices will continue

next year, with Brent averaging $106.60 in 2014 before

recovering only very slightly to $106.70 in 2015.

Reuters surveyed 27 oil analysts at banks, brokerages and

consultancies. Of the 25 analysts polled in both March and

April, 17 reduced their forecasts.

"The ongoing rise in oil production, combined with the weak

economic recovery will keep the lid on oil prices," ABN Amro

energy economist Hans van Cleef said.

"Overall, I think weak demand and ample supply will, in the

end, result in lower average oil prices in 2013 (compared to

2012) and this trend will continue in 2014 and 2015," he said.

U.S. light crude oil, also known as West Texas

Intermediate or WTI, should outperform European benchmark Brent

after having underperformed it in the past years.

The poll forecast WTI would average $94.60 a barrel in 2013,

down from $95.70 in last month's poll but slightly above the

2012 average of $94.15.

That will help narrow the gap between WTI and Brent on the

back of rising U.S. demand and improving U.S. pipeline

infrastructure, which will help deliver oil to refining hubs

more quickly.

Weak economic activity would weigh on demand in Europe. In

the United States, economic growth should be faster than in

Europe although first-quarter economic growth was not as strong

as expected, Chris Tevere, analyst at GAIN Capital, said.

He expects U.S. crude oil futures to average $92 a barrel in

2013 and $96 in 2014.

MORE DOWNSIDE

Brent touched a 2013 low of $96.75 on April 18 but analysts

said it should recover back above $100 a barrel by the third

quarter.

"While we do not rule out further weakness in the near term,

we do not see prices acclimatising below the $100 per barrel

mark past Q2," Barclays analyst Miswin Mahesh said.

"Progressing through the tail end of Q2 and into the second

half of 2013, we see strong indications for demand growth

developing which will keep the call on crude elevated."

Two analysts forecast Brent prices would average below $100

in 2013 compared with one in the previous month's poll.

"The recent weakness supports our view that oil prices have

been unsustainably high, given the fragility of the global

economic recovery," said Julian Jessop, analyst at Capital

Economics.

"Over the next few years we continue to expect $100 to

become a ceiling for Brent, rather than the floor that many

others assume," said Jessop, who forecast Brent at $98 a barrel

for 2013 and $90 in 2014.

Thirteen analysts forecast Brent would average more than

$108.40 in 2013, the median of the forecasts, compared with 19

in last month's poll.

Raiffeisen Bank International had the highest forecast for

Brent in the poll at $114.30 for 2013, while Citigroup had the

lowest at $90 a barrel.

(Reporting by NR Sethuraman in Bangalore; Editing by

Christopher Johnson and Susan Fenton)

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