Oil seen above $100 by 2011, Really?

Oil Prices

Oil prices may rise above $100 a barrel by early 2011, as global demand rises and producers fail to boost supply, Bernstein Research forecast on Monday.  Investors are placing bets on the United States Oil Fund LP (ETF) (NYSE:USO) which is down 60% YTD.

Oil prices in the near-term should remain at or below $75 a barrel, moving higher in 2010 as global demand grows, and into triple-digits by late 2010 or early 2011, as demand outpaces supply, Bernstein analysts said.  "We believe that the stage is set for a sustained commodities bull run," Bernstein said in a note to clients.

"Demand will likely be better in late 2009/early 2010 than consensus estimates assume, and this combined with non-OPEC supply reductions should cause spare capacity to decline in 2010." Here's how the USO fund looks today:

United States Oil Fund Lp $

Short Interest (Shares Short) 17,298,000
Days To Cover (Short Interest Ratio) 1.1
Short Percent of Float %
Short Interest - Prior 15,305,200
Short % Increase / Decrease 13.02 %
Short Squeeze Ranking™  
% From 52-Wk High ($
98.54 )
-162.42 %
% From 52-Wk Low ($
22.74 )
39.44 %
% From 200-Day MA ($
31.80 )
15.31 %
% From 50-Day MA ($
35.82 )
4.61 %
Price % Change (52-Week) -61.00 %

Bernstein's forecasts are driven by IMF estimates for 2.5 percent real global GDP growth next year. But Bernstein rejected forecasts from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which call for non-OPEC countries to boost oil supplies this year and next.

Under-investment in oil fields means a slow recovery for non-OPEC oil output, since drillers need oil prices at or above $75 a barrel to push them to expand production capacity any quicker, Bernstein said.

"The (EIA) agency predicts positive non-OPEC supply growth in both 2009 and 2010. We find such bullishness on the supply side hard to fathom."

Oil futures surged to almost $150 a barrel last July, before plunging to nearly $30 in December as the recession deepened. U.S. oil futures edged above $71 a barrel on Monday.

SOURCE: http://www.reuters.com/article/pressReleasesMolt/idUSTRE5793EW20090810

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