Friday 8 April 2016 9:51 am

Brent crude and WTI: Where big banks think the oil price is heading next

Speculation about when the tarnished black gold will recover continues to swirl around financial markets.

The chatter is growing louder as the world's major oil producers prepare for a crunch meeting due to take place in Doha next Sunday.

They're widely expected to firm up a preliminary oil freeze deal in February between four countries – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Venezuela and Russia.

Read more: These are the "fragile five" Opec members that could collapse if oil prices don't stabilise

The key question concerns Iran, whose oil exports roughly halved from 2.6m in 2011 to 1.3m in 2015 at the hands of a US and European Union embargo, and wants to bring its output to pre-sanctions levels before sticking to any agreement.

There have been contradictory signals as to whether de facto Opec leader Saudi Arabia participate in the deal without co-operation from Iran.

Nevertheless, Saudi Arabia doesn't want oil prices to rise too much, because this will essentially throw a credit line to struggling US shale gas producers which it's been trying to price out of the market. Russia recently said that oil at $45-$50 per barrel is acceptable to allow the global oil market to balance.

Read more: Iranian minister rebuffs Saudi oil demands

Talk of a potential co-operation has helped oil prices climb to over $40 a barrel in recent weeks, from lows of $27 a barrel in January. Analysts are also predicting another (very) brief up tick if it actually goes through, however they don't expect any big price increases longer-term.

Below is a table put together by Reuters rounding up what wonks at some of the world's biggest banks think is in store for crude investors in the near-term.

Bank name


Société Générale

7 April

The world's oil markets have started to rebalance, and this will continue as long as US oil prices remain low enough to force output cuts among US shale producers.

We doubt Brent crude will be able to trade much above $45 this year.


28 March

Oil prices could slump as much as 20 to 25 per cent from their current level of around $40 per barrel.

Oil could fall back to the low $30s.


28 March

Warns that the recent oil price recovery has taken place against a backdrop of weak fundamentals, and it will come to an end.

Crude prices will pull back to somewhere in the mid- to low $30 range.

Bank of America

17 March

Opec's output freeze, a strong driving season, easy money, and falling US shale output should push Brent crude prices to $47 by June.

Brent crude hits $47 by June


Morgan Stanley

14 March

Hedging plus storage may cap WTI upside in the low-to-mid 40s. 

Brent crude capped in the mid-to-low $40s.

Goldman Sachs

11 March

Expects oil prices to remain volatile in the second quarter and sharp declines could weigh on the relief rally.

Prices remain within $25 to $45.

Credit Suisse

3 March

Oil prices could soar to $50 as soon as next month.

Could hit $50 in May.

(Source: Reuters)