(Updates with settlement prices in fifth paragraph.)
Aug. 30 (Bloomberg) -- West Texas Intermediate crude will probably increase next week on the prospect of an attack against Syria that could disrupt shipments from the Middle East, a Bloomberg survey showed.
Sixteen of 37 analysts, or 43 percent, forecast crude will gain through Sept. 6. Fifteen respondents, or 41 percent, predicted a decrease and six said there would be no change. Last week, 61 percent of analysts forecast a decline.
The U.S. and its allies are moving closer to a military strike against Syria in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus last week. President Barack Obama released an intelligence assessment this week and U.K. said yesterday that it is “highly likely” the Syrian government was behind the operation.
Saudi Arabia, the largest supplier in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, has backed rebels opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Assad’s allies include Iran, the group’s sixth-biggest producer. The Middle East accounted for 35 percent of global oil output in the first quarter of this year, according to data from the International Energy Agency.
Front-month crude futures rose $1.23, or 1.2 percent, to $107.65 a barrel this week on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices are up 17 percent this year.
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
16 6 15
--With assistance from Grant Smith in London, Sarah Chen in Beijing and Winnie Zhu, Ramsey Al-Rikabi and Yee Kai Pin in Singapore. Editors: Margot Habiby, David Marino