West Texas Intermediate futures tumbled 4.7% last Friday, leading to the first close below $30 per barrel in 12 years. Oil’s slump last week sent the United States Oil Fund (NYSEArca: USO), which tracks West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures, and the United States Brent Oil Fund (NYSEArca: BNO), which tracks Brent crude oil futures, to an average weekly loss of more than 11%.
Oil’s ongoing weakness has prompted an array of big-name Wall Street banks to slash their price forecasts on crude. Morgan Stanley analysts, including Adam Longson, head of energy commodity research, argue that investors are putting too much emphasis on fundamental factors and are not paying attention to an appreciating U.S. dollar.
Goldman Sachs Group has also forecast oil to drop to $20 per barrel but attributes further weakness to potential storage tank limits as producers keep pumping until they completely fill up storage space and halt some production. However, Goldman also sees a new bull market being born from oil’s current bear market in the second half of 2016.
“The crash in U.S. oil futures — which sank back below $30 a barrel on Friday to a new 12-year low — will send the nation’s shale-oil boom spinning into reverse in the second half of the year, the bank said in a report. As U.S. production slumps by 575,000 barrels a day, global oil markets will tip from surplus to deficit, Goldman predicts,” reports Grant Smith for Bloomberg.
OPEC has kept up production to pressure high-cost rivals, such as the developing U.S. shale oil producers. The International Energy Agency expects it will take several years before OPEC can effectively price out high-cost producers. [Oil ETFs Face World-Record Supply Glut]