December 5, 2017 / 5:33 AM / a year ago

2018 oil prices lifted by lower stocks, resolve on output cuts, Goldman says

Crude oil storage tanks are seen from above at the Cushing oil hub, appearing to run out of space to contain a historic supply glut that has hammered prices, in Cushing, Oklahoma, March 24, 2016. REUTERS/Nick Oxford

(Reuters) - Goldman Sachs has raised its crude oil price forecasts for 2018, citing lower inventories next year and the strong commitment shown by Russia and Saudi Arabia last week to extend output cuts at the OPEC-led meeting in Vienna.

The bank in a note published late on Monday raised its Brent price forecast for next year to $62 a barrel and its WTI forecast to $57.50 a barrel. The revisions also reflect higher U.S. pipeline tariffs and a wider WTI-Brent differential of $4.50 a barrel, the bank said.

“While the (OPEC-led) deal leaves room for an earlier exit than currently scheduled, we now reflect this resolve in our supply forecast, with full compliance for longer and a more modest exit rate,” analysts at the bank said in the note.

Oil prices, which have come off highs hit following the deal between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other crude producers to extend their output curbs, are being supported by expectations of a drop in U.S. crude stockpiles. [O/R]

“Of course, risks remain and we see these as skewed to the upside into 2018 on the risk of an overtightening, either because of new disruptions, demand exceeding our optimistic forecast or OPEC letting the stock draw run hot,” Goldman said.

The bank, however, said it believes the response of shale oil and other producers to higher prices will encourage OPEC and Russia to pare back their now greater spare capacity, leaving long-term risks to prices skewed to the downside.

Reporting by Nithin Prasad in BENGALURU; Editing by Tom Hogue

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