(Updates with settlement price in seventh paragraph.)
Aug. 16 (Bloomberg) -- West Texas Intermediate crude will probably decline next week on concern that the Federal Reserve will pare stimulus measures amid signs of economic growth, a Bloomberg survey showed.
Nineteen of 35 analysts, or 54 percent, forecast crude will decrease through Aug. 23. Eleven respondents, or 31 percent, predicted an increase. Five projected no change. Last week, 62 percent of analysts said there would be a drop.
The Fed will probably trim the central bank’s $85 billion in monthly bond purchases next month, according to 65 percent of economists in a Bloomberg survey conducted Aug. 9-13. U.S. employers fired the fewest workers last week since before the recession began almost six years ago, a Labor Department report showed yesterday.
“People are worried about Fed tapering,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at the Price Futures Group in Chicago. “Recent strong economic data suggest that September tapering is back on the agenda, and it should be bearish for oil.”
The number of claims for jobless benefits dropped by 15,000 to 320,000 in the week ended Aug. 10, the least since October 2007, the Labor Department said yesterday. The Fed has said that policy makers will watch the job market to determine when to begin scaling back the monthly bond-buying program.
Prices may also fall as refineries reduce their crude processing amid weakening fuel demand. The refinery utilization rate dropped to 89.4 percent in the week ended Aug. 9, the lowest level since June, the Energy Information Administration said on Aug. 14. Petroleum consumption decreased 3 percent to 19.1 million barrels a day, the EIA, the Energy Department’s statistical arm, said.
Crude futures for September delivery gained $1.49, or 1.4 percent, to $107.46 a barrel this week on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The oil survey has correctly predicted the direction of futures 50 percent of the time since its start in April 2004.
Bloomberg’s survey of oil analysts and traders, conducted
each Thursday, asks for an assessment of whether crude oil
futures are likely to rise, fall or remain neutral in the coming
week. The results were:
RISE NEUTRAL FALL
11 5 19
--With assistance from Tsuyoshi Inajima in Tokyo, Sarah Chen in Beijing, Winnie Zhu in Shanghai, Ramsey Al-Rikabi, Pratish Narayanan and Yee Kai Pin in Singapore and Grant Smith in London. Editors: Margot Habiby, Richard Stubbe