Oil prices will face an uphill struggle in 2024 as global growth risks, including China’s patchy economic recovery, restrain demand, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday, even with expectations that OPEC+ may extend production cuts. A survey of 30 economists and analysts forecast Brent crude LCOc1 would average $84.43 in 2024. This is below the $86.62 projected by 40 respondents in October, with some analysts opting out this month as they await the outcome of the OPEC+ meeting on Thursday. U.S. crude CLc1 forecasts were also lowered to $80.50 for next year, from $83.02 last month. “Caught between geopolitical tail risks and bearish fundamentals, it is hard for us to be bullish on crude oil,” said Societe Generale commodity strategist Florent Pele. “Without many options left for OPEC+ to respond to potential demand weakness, we are adjusting our forecasts downwards to reflect the emerging dimmer demand picture.” Demand growth forecasts for 2024 ranged from 0.5-2.2 million barrels per day (bpd), compared with the 1-2 million bpd prediction in September. Benchmark Brent crude LCoc1 has dropped more than 15% since late September amid record U.S. production and demand worries, and has averaged around $82.50 a barrel this year. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia (OPEC+), which postponed their meeting from last week amid disagreement between some producers, may extend or deepen production cuts to prop up prices. “We still expect an extension of the unilateral Saudi and Russia cuts through at least Q1 2024, and unchanged group cuts, although a deeper group insurance cut is likely on the table,” Goldman Sachs said in a note. Last week, the International Energy Agency said oil markets will see a slight supply surplus in 2024 even if OPEC+ extends cuts. “In the end, OPEC+ won’t stop the trend in oil prices: and that is downwards!” said Frank Schallenberger, head of LBBW commodity research. Source: Reuters (Reporting by Deep Vakil and Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; editing by Arpan Varghese and Sharon Singleton)

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