Russia's VTB recently said that, based on initial data, it has not changed its forecast for 2014 energy prices.
"Brent traded within a narrow range in January despite market concerns about over-supply. In fact, the initial evidence is that the anticipated call on OPEC crude in 2014 is being increased on raised demand estimates, while OPEC output remains at or below 30mmb/d. Brent averaged USD 107.24/bbl for the quarter, slightly ahead of our USD 105/bbl forecast," VTB Capital analysts Colin Smith and Marc Jacouris said. "We make no changes to our current forecasts, apart from mark-to-market changes to our WTI forecast. We have also adjusted our GBp-denominated European hub gas price to reflect changes in VTB Capital's FX forecasts.
The sharp sell-off in Brent that started in late December quickly stabilized in early January around the USD 107/bbl level and remained within a tight, USD 2/bbl range for the rest of the month. The WTI-Brent spread started the month at -USD 12.38/bbl, quickly widening to the USD 15/bbl mark before closing through the rest of the month to end just below USD 9/bbl."
"We believe that OPEC will continue to target USD 100/bbl Brent and will endeavor to maintain production at around 30mmb/d in order to do so. We expect that Saudi Arabia will be willing and probably able to accommodate changes elsewhere within OPEC, based on a scenario analysis," Smith and Jacouris said. "It is clearly early in the year and it is likely that pressure within OPEC will grow, but the year has got off to a fairly robust start so far as oil prices are concerned."
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