(Bloomberg) -- Oil prices are likely to remain in check during 2020 as OPEC+ production cuts are offset by higher output from other countries and a mixed outlook for demand, according to analysts.
Analysts see prices climbing higher in the middle of the year as stronger emerging-market demand and the OPEC+ cuts trim global inventories. Saudi Arabia surprised the market in early December with a deeper supply cut, which, along with signs of a thaw in the U.S.-China trade conflict that may boost demand, lead some prominent analysts to revise their forecasts higher.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. increased its estimate for Brent crude to $63 a barrel from $60, according to a note from analysts including Damien Courvalin and Jeff Currie. “This points to a tighter inventory path than we previously expected, especially through first-half of 2020.”
West Texas Intermediate will average $58.50 a barrel in 2020, according to the median of analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg since the OPEC+ meeting in early December. That compares to the current level of around $60 and the average so far in 2019 of $56.95. Brent is forecast to average $64.25 a barrel.
The forward curve is in backwardation, with spot prices for WTI about $4 a barrel and Brent about $5.25 a barrel higher than December 2020 contracts. That premium for near-term delivery comes as producers sell forward contracts to hedge their output for the next couple of years and as inventories are seen as likely to decline.
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