Oil-exporters’ cartel OPEC has released its outlook for crude to trade at US$55 per barrel in 2018, about 4% higher than its current ‘reference basket’ price. We are not so sure. While bullish on petroleum production, we think that prices might be held in check by OPEC itself, which will not want to risk raising prices too far or too fast.
OPEC foresees the world economy growing at 3.6% next year, up from a previous estimate of 3.5%. Demand for crude, now at 32.8 million barrels a day, is expected to climb to 33.1 million barrels. Still, current prices are below the cost curve of most US shale-oil producers, and OPEC has every interest in keeping them there to keep their competing supplies in the ground.
By Yann Quelenn