Reuters Poll: Oil in 2017 to Be Capped Below $60

Average Brent prices are expected to improve with each subsequent quarter.Average Brent prices are expected to improve with each subsequent quarter.

Oil prices will gradually rise towards $60 per barrel by the end of 2017, a Reuters poll showed, with further upside capped by a strong dollar, a likely recovery in US oil output and possible non-compliance by OPEC with agreed cuts.

Brent crude futures will average $56.90 a barrel in 2017, according to 29 analysts and economists polled by Reuters. The current forecast is marginally lower than the $57.01 forecast in the previous survey.

However, average Brent prices are expected to improve with each subsequent quarter, starting with $53.67 in the first, to $56.51 in Q2, $58.69 in Q3 and $59.78 in the fourth quarter. Brent has averaged about $45 per barrel so far this year. "Crude prices should trade most of the time above their 2016 average. A stronger upside potential should become evident especially in the second half when the market fundamentals will record a significant improvement (under the assumption of strong compliance to the OPEC deal)," said Intesa SanPaolo analyst Daniela Corsini.

Earlier this month, OPEC and non-OPEC producers reached their first deal since 2001 to curtail oil output jointly and ease a global glut after more than two years of low prices that overstretched many budgets and spurred unrest in some countries. While the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has agreed to reduce output by 1.2 million barrels per day from January 1, 2017, producers from outside the 13-member group agreed to cut production by 558,000 barrels per day.

"We expect the deal to only be partly implemented, many of the non-OPEC countries are likely to renege as are many of the smaller OPEC members, but cuts should still be large enough to help rebalance the market," said Capital Economics analyst Thomas Pugh.

Acceleration in the market rebalancing could be achieved and the process could be completed by mid-2017 if the oil producers group sticks to the terms of the historic agreement, analysts said.

However, an increase in US shale production, a stronger dollar in the wake of expected interest rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve and easing of geo-political tensions in Libya and Nigeria could limit any major gains in oil prices, they added.

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