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The growing consensus on Wall Street is that the rally in oil prices has more room to the upside as the global economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, maybe a lot more room.
Bank of America commodities strategist Francisco Blanch said in a research note on Monday he sees a case for $100 a barrel oil next year.
"First, there is plenty of pent up mobility demand after an 18 month lockdown. Second, mass transit will lag, boosting private car usage for a prolonged period of time. Third, pre-pandemic studies show more remote work could result in more miles driven, as work-from-home turns into work-from-car. On the supply side, we expect government policy pressure in the U.S. and around the world to curb capex over coming quarters to meet Paris goals. Secondly, investors have become more vocal against energy sector spending for both financial and ESG reasons. Third, judicial pressures are rising to limit carbon dioxide emissions. In short, demand is poised to bounce back and supply may not fully keep up, placing OPEC in control of the oil market in 2022," explained Blanch.
While other commodities prices such as lumber and copper have corrected lately, oil has maintained its bullish bias.
Recent gains in the oil patch have been fueled by indications of strong demand amid economic rebounds meeting low levels of supply.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported last week that U.S. crude oil inventories fell by 7.4 million barrels for the week ended June 11. Meanwhile, the National Bureau of Statistics reported that crude oil throughput in China for May rose 4.4% versus last year to hit a record high.
Similar to BofA, Goldman Sachs is expecting firmer oil prices moving forward. Strategists at the investment bank don't rule out prices nearing $100 a barrel before year end.
"Near term our highest conviction long is oil where we still see brent [crude oil] averaging $80/bbl this third quarter with potential spikes well above $80/bbl. Global demand likely rose to 97.0 million barrels a day in recent days from 95.0 million barrels a day just a few weeks ago as the U.S. passes the baton to Europe and emerging markets, where even India is beginning to show improvements," Goldman Sachs global head of commodities research Jeffrey Currie contends.
Adds Currie, "With such robust demand growth against an almost inelastic supply curve outside of core OPEC+ (GCC + Russia), the global oil market is facing its deepest deficits since last summer at nearly 3.0 million barrels a day. With refiners quickly responding to small improvements in margins, petroleum product supplies have broadly matched this jump in end-use demand, leaving this deficit almost entirely in crude."
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