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Standard Chartered: Oil poised to plunge to $10 a barrel

7ed6a62f-46fb-46da-9a13-f24ae9eb0b0eFrom Newsmax

One bearish investment bank now warns that the price of oil may continue to plunge until it hits $10 a barrel.

Standard Chartered became the latest major bank to downgrade its oil outlook, predicting crude will tumble to $10. The bank joins Goldman Sachs, RBS and Morgan Stanley in making ultra-bearish calls as prices have collapsed by 15 percent this year, the U.K. Telegraph reported.

Analysts warned the oil market remains fundmentally out of balance as record over-supply and stagnant demand weighs on traders, the report said.

Standard Chartered said there was no bottom in sight until “money managers in the market conceded that matters had gone too far,” the Telegraph reported.

“Given that no fundamental relationship is currently driving the oil market towards any equilibrium, prices are being moved almost entirely by financial flows caused by fluctuations in other asset prices, including the dollar and equity markets,” said Standard Chartered. “We think prices could fall as low as $10/bbl before most of the money managers in the market conceded that matters had gone too far,” it added.

Oil last slumped to $10 during the height of the Asian financial crisis in 1998, said Simon Williams at RAC.

“It’s going to be a very interesting year in oil,” said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney. “The lower the price goes, the faster in time we are likely to form a base and recover.”

Analysts have scrambled to adjust forecasts amid the price rout, with Barclays, Macquarie, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Standard Chartered and Societe Generale all cutting their 2016 oil price forecasts.

“A marked deterioration in oil market fundamentals in early 2016 has persuaded us to make some large downward adjustments to our oil price forecasts for 2016,” Barclays bank said.

“We now expect Brent and WTI to both average $37/barrel in 2016, down from our previous forecasts of $60 and $56, respectively,” it added.

Meanwhile, oil prices continued to fall on Wednesday after a rise in weekly U.S. crude inventories fed into bearish sentiment about the deepening global supply glut that has brought oil prices close to 12-year lows, Reuters reported.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, was down 37 cents at $30.49 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) was down 30 cents at $30.13 a barrel. Both contracts saw intra-day highs of more than $1 above Tuesday’s closing price on upbeat Chinese economic data earlier in the session.

“Overall, it’s a bearish report. I think today’s inventory report is all about products …The long awaited massive decline in crude production is not starting again,” said Dominic Chirichella, senior partner at Energy Management Institute in New York.

U.S. crude inventories rose by 234,000 barrels in the last week, compared with analysts’ expectations for an increase of 2.5 million barrels, according to the government’s Energy Information Administration.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley warned on Wednesday that a rise in demand for crude could be lower than previously expected.

“Any slowing in the rate of demand growth could delay the timing of rebalancing and ultimately a price recovery,” they said in a research note.

The potential for the calling of an emergency OPEC meeting also weakened on Wednesday when Iran’s oil minister was quoted as saying he had not received any request for such a gathering.

Nigeria’s oil minister said on Tuesday that a “couple” of OPEC members had asked for an emergency meeting.

Days ahead of the expected implementation of a landmark nuclear accord between Tehran and world powers, Iran briefly detained a group of U.S. sailors after they entered Iranian waters.

Iran released the sailors on Wednesday after holding them overnight, determining they had entered Iranian waters by mistake.

(Newsmax wire services contributed to this report).

IMAGE: (Dollar Photo Club)

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