Oil prices forecast $50 to $70 per barrel through 2022, report says

Oil prices are expected to average $50 to $70 per barrel until 2022 according to a recent forecast by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The evaluation is down from the bank's previous oil forecast of $55 to $75.

BoFA reported that below the oil price bands are oil supply rationing and rapid emerging markets. These factors will demand growth and eventually push for higher oil prices. On the other hand, above the oil price band are global oil supplies and emerging markets that demand destruction that will repress price increase. In general, demand is set to exceed supply through 2022.

"Global oil consumption has expanded by 3.6 million barrels per day in the past two years, the best two-year run rate since 2010/11 and inventories are drawing," BoFA said in its report. "On our latest estimates, oil demand should keep growing by 1.1 million bpd per annum out to 2022, driven entirely by emerging markets." The report added that although carpooling, electric vehicles and autonomous driving could help slow oil demand, it discouraged fast technological adoption to beat oil prices.

As for oil supply, the report projected an annual US shale oil growth of 700,000 bpd through the forecast period. Non-OPEC supply growth could reportedly average 830,000 bpd annually with 80 percent of accumulative gains in the US. Currently, Brent crude oil prices remain to be the lowest for decades. But the report posited that oil prices have recovered because of OPEC and non-OPEC players putting an end to the price war and cutting production by 1.8 million bpd.

The report confidently noted that as oil demand expand steadily while supply stops growing, global inventory levels will draw strongly in the next months and cut the excess down by more than half by the end of the year. This balance will encourage oil prices to trade within BoFA's expected band over the next five years.

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