World Bank expects oil prices to cross $65/b mark in 2018

The World Bank on Tuesday forecasted oil prices to average $65 a barrel over 2018 on strong demand, while agriculture commodities were anticipated to see a price rise of over 2 percent on diminished planting prospects.

In its April Commodity Market Outlook, the Bank said that oil prices would increase over the year to $65 a barrel from $53 a barrel in 2017 due to increasing demand and restrain by the oil producing countries.

 “Oil prices have more than doubled since bottoming in early 2016, as the large overhang of inventories has been reduced significantly,” said John Baffes, Senior Economist and lead author of the Commodity Markets Outlook. “Strong oil demand and greater compliance by the OPEC and non-OPEC producers with their agreed output pledges helped tip the market into deficit.”

The report said that though oil prices were projected to decline from April 2018 level, it should be supported by continued production constraint by OPEC and non-OPEC producers, coupled with strong demand.

“Upside risks to the forecast include constraints to U.S. shale oil output, geopolitical risks in several producing countries, and concerns the United States may not waive sanctions against Iran,” the report said.

Downside risks include weaker compliance with the oil producers’ agreement to restrain output or outright termination of the accord, rising output from Libya and Nigeria, and a quicker-than-expected rise in shale oil output, it added.

Agricultural commodities, including food commodities and raw materials, are anticipated to see a price rise of over 2 percent this year on diminished planting prospects. Weather disruptions are expected to be minimal.

The World Bank also revised upward its forecast for prices for energy commodities, which include oil, natural gas, and coal, to 20 percent, a 16 percentage point upward revision from October’s outlook.

The metals index is expected to rise as 9 percent drop in iron ore prices is offset by increases in all base metals prices, led by nickel, which is forecast to rise 30 percent.

According to the Outlook, the upside risks to the metal’s price forecast include more robust global demand than expected. Supply could be held back by slow incorporation of new capacity, trade sanctions against metals exporters, and policy actions in China, according to APP.

Downside risks include slower-than-expected growth in major emerging markets, the restart of idle capacity, and an easing of pollution-related policies in China. Precious metals are expected to climb 3 percent this year in anticipation of U.S. interest rate increases and higher inflation expectations.

Posted on: 2018-04-25T10:25:00+05:00