Crude oil is hovering around the $84 mark, and the U.S. Energy Information Administration is out with a bearish report on oil prices going forward. What is Wall Street thinking on oil--and is it a buy or sell proposition?
The EIA report -- and a similar one from the International Energy Administration -- seem like good news for global energy consumers, but they are worrisome for investors:
In its most recent 2012 forecast released on May 8, the EIA says that the price of crude oil will fall, on average, $2.50 per barrel compared to April’s forecast. While the EIA still expects oil to average about $104 per barrel before the year is out, the agency expects “flat growth” for oil prices in 2013.
This from the EIA report:
The EIA’s current forecast of the average U.S. refiner acquisition cost of crude oil in 2012 is $110 per barrel, which is $2.50 per barrel lower than in last month’s Outlook, but still about $8 per barrel higher than last year’s average price. EIA expects the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil to average about $104 per barrel in 2012, about $2 per barrel lower than the forecast in last month’s Outlook, but $9 per barrel higher than the 2011 average price. EIA expects crude oil prices to remain relatively flat in 2013.
Last week, oil was trading at around $84, at its lowest level since October 2011.
Analysts generally assign softer oil prices to a weakening global economy, especially new debt troubles in Spain (along with a bailout plan that failed to pacify global investors), tepid job numbers in the U.S., and weaker economic data in China and India--all of which has forced oil demand down, leading to a 14% decline in crude oil prices in May 2012--off 25% from 2012 highs.
Some analysts say the free fall in oil prices has a ways to go before it hits bottom.
“There have been no 'game changers' this week," explains Julian Jessop, chief global economist for London-based Capital Economics, in comments to the Associated Press on June 8, 2012. "The prices of commodities should end the year much lower than they are now."
Others say that now that the lousy economy has been acknowledged, and factored into the equation, price declines should stabilize. That’s the sentiment from a research report out mid-June from Barclays, which says that oil prices