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Oil Update—March 2019

My forecast for April is that the West Texas Intermediate oil price will range between $57.50 and $67.50 per barrel. The range is $2.50 higher than last month’s forecast.

The price has been slowly creeping up as OPEC+’s cutbacks take effect. Saudi Arabia, in particular, is driving prices higher according to a Reuters article “More shale, who cares? Saudi Arabia pushes for at least $70 oil” where it states the following:

DUBAI/LONDON (Reuters) – Budget needs are forcing Saudi Arabia to push for oil prices of at least $70 per barrel this year, industry sources say, even though U.S. shale oil producers could benefit and Riyadh’s share of global crude markets might be further eroded.

Riyadh, OPEC’s de facto leader, said it was steeply cutting exports to its main customers in March and April despite refiners asking for more of its oil. The move defies U.S. President Donald Trump’s demands for OPEC to help reduce prices while he toughens sanctions on oil producers Iran and Venezuela.

A Brent price of $70 translates into a low $60s WTI price.

Of course, the US China trade negotiations are still important for global growth. My assumption is that both sides will continue working toward or will successfully conclude a deal. And there are still concerns with Iran and Venezuela as well as other OPEC members. In other words, there are still a lot of moving parts that can drive oil higher or lower. My expectation, though, is that oil will continue to rise in April.

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