By Nakul Iyer

Mar 31 (Reuters) – Oil prices will stabilize above $ 60 a barrel this year as vaccine distribution supports recovery in demand, and OPEC and its allies continue to control supply, a survey showed. from Reuters on Wednesday.

The survey of 48 participants forecast that Brent will average $ 63.12 per barrel in 2021, above last month’s consensus of $ 59.07 and the year-to-date average price of $ 59.36. The benchmark Brent was trading near $ 64 on Wednesday.

“As vaccines are expected to pick up pace and OPEC + is likely to maintain a cautious approach – reducing production cuts when demand recovers – we expect oil inventories to normalize by mid-year, which should support prices.” said Giovanni Staunovo, an analyst at UBS.

Likewise, it is estimated that oil demand will grow between 5 and 7 million barrels per day (bpd) this year, despite the renewed confinements by COVID-19 in Europe.

Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA, said the US economy is recovering rapidly, driving global demand for crude higher despite wavering prospects in Europe.

Central to the price recovery thesis is the expectation that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a group known as OPEC +, will extend their production cuts when they meet in April and increase only modestly. its pumping after.

Marshall Steeves, an energy markets analyst at IEG Vantage, said $ 60 could prove critical, as above that level, US shale becomes cheaper, leading to higher production and putting it back in competition for market share with OPEC +.

Saudi Arabia could start ramping up production at prices above $ 70, but by then that of US shale is likely to be growing as well, as listed firms seek to boost financial returns, he said.

(Edited in Spanish by Carlos Serrano)

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