Why Goldman Just Drastically Slashed Its Oil Price Prediction

Goldman Sachs reduced its outlook for oil prices this year citing abundant supply, Bloomberg reports, quoting a note to clients.

The investment bank’s analysts now expect Brent crude to average US$62.50 a barrel this year, down from an earlier projection of US$70 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate, according to Goldman Sachs, will average US$55.50 a barrel, compared with an earlier estimate of US$64.50 a barrel.

The price outlook revision was motivated by expectations of another glut despite the OPEC+ production cuts aimed at removing 1.2 million bpd from the global market and continued growth in U.S. shale oil production, as well as higher output in Brazil and Canada.

The bank’s analysts said, with regard to their expectations of oversupply, that OPEC produced a lot more crude oil in the last months of 2018, which means the cartel begins 2019 with more total production than it had at the beginning of last year, when larger production cuts were in effect.

What’s more, the Goldman analysts noted, pipeline bottlenecks in the Permian, which have pressured WTI previously, will likely clear faster than expected, driving a price rise in the U.S. benchmark.

“We expect that the oil market will balance at a lower marginal cost in 2019 given higher inventory levels to start the year, the persistent beat in 2018 shale production growth amidst little observed cost inflation, weaker than previously expected demand growth expectations (even at our above consensus forecasts) and increased low-cost production capacity,” analyst Daniel Courvalin wrote in the note.

The forecast update, however, comes days after the latest quarterly Dallas Fed Energy Survey revealed business activity in the U.S. oil and gas sector slowed down considerably in the fourth quarter of the year as benchmark oil prices plunged by over a quarter, suggesting shale oil production growth may slow down in 2019.