Oil exchange traded products endured another volatile week last week, but the United States Brent Oil Fund (NYSEArca: BNO), which tracks Brent crude oil futures, could be worth considering, particularly if one bank’s forecast for Brent crude proves accurate.
Even with all the talk about the emergence of renewable energy sources in the U.S. and other developed economies, some market observers believe global oil demand will remain robust.
“Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofAML) warns that Brent crude oil could reach $90 per barrel stemming the new IMO rules regarding shipping fuels and a weaker dollar courtesy of a de-escalation in the US/China trade war,” reports OilPrice.com.
Looking ahead, fundamentals are improving. The International Energy Agency projects consumption to increase each quarter of 2019 year-over-year, albeit at a slower-than-usual pace for the first quarter. Meanwhile, on the supply side, Saudi Arabia and other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries have been cutting output. Additionally, U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela have reduced further bets on international supplies.
Betting On Brent
“In February, BofAML estimated that Brent crude would be trading within the $50 to $70 per barrel band through 2024, with prices “anchored” around $60 per barrel, citing rising US shale supplies and slowing oil demand growth. Shorter term, BofAML saw Brent rising to $70 per barrel citing tighter supply as Venezuela, Iran, Mexico, and OPEC produce less oil—some on purpose and some not,” according to OilPrice.com.
Current OPEC compliance with production cut plans remains above their historical average, and it usually takes between two to three quarters for inventories to normalize after the cuts. While demand has yet to catch up to elevated supplies, rebounding economies in Europe and steady economic growth in the U.S. could prompt more upside for oil this year.
“With military tensions rising in the Middle East and trade tensions rising between the U.S. and China, we believe that chances of a tail event driving Brent crude to these price extremes (are) higher than what option markets are currently pricing,” BofAML said in a recent note.
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