Goldman Sachs expects oil rally to run out of steam soon

[BENGALURU] Oil prices are likely to pull back in the coming weeks due to the uncertain path of future demand and a "daunting" inventory overhang, Goldman Sachs said in a note dated Monday.

"The collapse in (refining) margins to unprecedented lows is reflective of both over-valued crude prices as well as a more moderate demand recovery, two pillars of our short-term bearish view," the Wall Street bank said.

Goldman expects Brent prices to reach US$35 per barrel in the short term, compared with around US$43 hit on Monday.

Oil prices bounced to three-month highs on Monday after the OPEC+ nations agreed to extend record output cuts of 9.7 million barrels per day into July amid signs of a quicker-than-expected economic recovery.

Brent crude futures were trading around US$41 a barrel on Tuesday. The benchmark contract has vaulted more than 150% since hitting US$15.98 in April, its weakest since June 1999.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose to US$38.45 a barrel on Tuesday.

Goldman raised its 2020 Brent price forecast to US$40.40 a barrel from US$35.60 earlier, citing positive sentiment around the reopening of economies. WTI prices are now forecast to reach US$36 this year, compared with a previous estimate of US$33.10.

"This rebound has been fueled by a macro risk-on backdrop and a policy induced Chinese crude import binge, yet fundamentals are turning bearish," Goldman said.

With demand expectations running ahead of a more gradual and still uncertain rebound, the oil market faces a big challenge of normalising a billion barrels of excess inventories, analysts at the bank wrote.

Goldman expects supplies to increase with US shale and Libyan shut-in production coming back online, which would lead to a deficit of 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) versus a prior estimate of 2 million bpd for June.



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