As oil prices continue falling despite OPEC’s renewed efforts to shore up world crude markets, Wall Street banks have more bad news for the producer group: the outlook for next year isn’t great either.
Oil futures have lost 8 percent since the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies agreed on May 25 to keep output constrained through the first quarter of 2018 in a bid to clear a global glut. While Goldman Sachs Group Inc. expects their strategy to ultimately succeed, they warn the surplus may re-appear once the curbs end. Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase & Co. say the group will have little choice but to drop the reduced production.
Resurgent supplies from U.S. shale drillers and fading growth in fuel demand mean that world oil markets will face another overhang next year, the banks predict. That means Saudi Arabia and Russia, the two biggest producers in the 24-nation coalition, will have to control crude prices around $42 a barrel.With U.S. production growing strongly, there doesn’t seem to be much room for OPEC to cut production in 2018.
The surplus will continue as U.S. shale drillers boost production with surprising speed. American oil explorers, having learned to operate more efficiently during a two-year market slump, have restored almost all the output lost during the downturn. As a result, the market may be unable to absorb the return of production halted by OPEC and its partners when their pact ends in April.Still, even if a surplus re-emerges in 2018, OPEC’s current efforts to deplete stockpiles will make their task of managing it easier, according to Citigroup Inc.
Those increases in inventories may nonetheless prove substantial enough to prevent prices gaining, said David Martin, an analyst at JPMorgan, who slashed his 2018 forecast for Brent crude by $10 a barrel to $42 on May 25. Brent traded near $49 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London on Friday.

OPEC is shackled to its deal for a long time.

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