WTI Crude prices are expected to average $67.32 per barrel this year, and hold steady and range-bound for the rest of 2018 and 2019, as increased supply from OPEC and the United States is expected to meet rising Asian demand and offset supply disruptions from Iran and elsewhere around the world, a monthly Reuters poll of 44 analysts and economists showed on Tuesday.
In the Reuters survey at the end of last month, analysts had expected WTI to average $66.79 per barrel this year, up from the $66.47 forecast in May, as they expected supply deficits from Venezuela and Iran to outweigh OPEC’s production boost.
So far this year, WTI Crude prices have averaged $66.16 per barrel, and were down 0.47 percent at $69.80 at 07:58 a.m. EDT on Tuesday.
In today’s poll, the experts also lifted their forecasts for Brent Crude to average $72.87 per barrel in 2018, up from the $72.58 expected in the June survey and above the $71.68 average so far in 2018. At 07:58 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, Brent Crude was down 0.07 percent at $75.50.
The July survey marked the 10 month in a row in which analysts polled by Reuters have revised up their forecasts for average Brent and WTI prices this year.
The analysts expect oil prices to remain range-bound throughout 2018 and in 2019, as lower Iranian supply and lower stocks will continue to be bullish factors, while trade tensions that could hurt oil demand and market sentiment, coupled with rising U.S. oil production would keep a lid on prices.
The experts see the U.S. sanctions taking between 500,000 bpd and 1 million bpd of Iranian crude oil off the market.
“The disruption to Iranian barrels will weigh on oil markets in the second half of 2018 and H1 2019 as there are few spare barrels in the market that can offset a big disruption to Iranian supplies,” Emirates NBD commodities analyst Edward Bell told Reuters.