EIA raises 2018 oil market outlook as recovery gathers pace

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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The US Energy Information Administration has raised its 2018 oil price forecast amid fresh signs of a global market rebound.

In its latest monthly outlook, the government agency said Brent crude would average US$59.74/b this year, up 4.3% from the December forecast.

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In 2019, the global oil benchmark is expected to trade at US$61.43/b.

Oil prices have made their strongest start to a year since 2014 as exporters group OPEC and Russia continue to cut output.

Brent was trading at US$68.74/b on Tuesday as it continues to recover from a 12-year low of US$28/b in January 2016.

The EIA also lifted its 2018 world oil demand forecast by 100,000b/d from its December projection.

Global liquid fuel demand is expected to reach 101.76Mb/d in 2019, up 1.65Mb/d from anticipated 2018 demand.

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VENEZUELA

Meanwhile, Venezuelan crude production is expected to continue to suffer from the economic and political turmoil that has crippled state-owned company PDVSA, the agency said.

The country's oil output has fallen to around 1.8Mb/d, its lowest level in almost three decades. Since 2013, the figure has fallen by more than 1Mb/d.

"EIA expects Venezuela's production to continue to fall through the forecast period as the financial situation of [PDVSA] becomes more precarious," the report said.

It added that tanker tracking data showed that diluent for blending with Venezuela's heavy crude is becoming "increasingly difficult" to import, while recently imposed US sanctions have further hobbled PDVSA.

"As a result, Venezuela's oil exports have decreased significantly over the past six months, further limiting Venezuela's access to much-needed cash," it added.

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