- Goldman Sachs has predicted oil will surge to $140 a barrel this summer, with a fall in Russian supply adding to pressures in the market.
- But the bank said consumers will feel as though prices have surged to $160, in part because refinery bottlenecks mean gas prices are surging.
- Brent crude oil has already jumped around 50% this year to trade at roughly $119 a barrel on Tuesday.
Goldman Sachs economists have predicted oil prices will surge to $140 a barrel this summer, with a drop in Russian production and a gradual recovery in Chinese demand adding to the pressure on already low supplies.
But they said consumers will feel as though oil has hit $160 a barrel, because a lack of capacity at refineries means gasoline and fuel prices are rising more than would normally be expected, adding to costs across the economy.
Oil prices have already jumped roughly 50% this year as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and broader supply and demand imbalances. High oil prices have pushed US gas prices to a record high of $4.92 a gallon, according to the AAA.
Brent crude, the international benchmark, and WTI crude, the US benchmark, traded at around $119 and $118 a barrel respectively Tuesday.
Goldman’s analysts, including chief commodities strategist Jeff Currie, said in a note Monday that they expected prices to go higher “given the current record low levels of inventories.”
They predicted Brent will average roughly $140 a barrel in the third quarter of the year, but said it could go higher.
“A large spike in prices remains quite possible this summer, when demand seasonally reaches its peak,” the analysts wrote.
However, Currie and colleagues said consumers would feel as though oil had jumped by even more.
They said bottlenecks at refineries — which turn crude oil into usable oil products — mean gas and fuel costs are considerably higher than would normally be expected compared to benchmark prices. The analysts said there was “an unprecedented refining shortage.”
Goldman’s team said a rise in Brent crude to $140 a barrel would therefore mean prices across developed economies reaching levels normally associated with $160 a barrel this summer.
The investment bank said it expects prices to stay high, even though a surge to around $140 would trigger some “demand destruction” by encouraging people to stop using as much energy.
Goldman said Brent oil prices would average $115 a barrel in the fourth quarter of 2023, with WTI averaging $110.
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