Featured StoryOil prices took a break today (Monday) from their four-day streak of gains. Crude for September delivery ended 35 cents lower, or 0.4%, to $89.78 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
But there are a few catalysts that could propel energy higher this week.
The recent resurgence in oil prices - up about 14% in the past month - has trickled to prices at the pump, too.
For the third consecutive week last week, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported the U.S. average retail price of regular gasoline jumped seven cents to $3.49 a gallon. The national average diesel fuel price increased nine cents to $3.78 per gallon.
Money Morning Global Energy Strategist Dr. Kent Moors warned a few weeks back of this expected oil price climb. He said "the gasoline and oil markets have certainly been oversold and remain so to this day," adding that "the rebound is likely to be greater there than in the energy sector as a whole."
It appears that rebound has started. Here are three factors that could fuel the oil price climb this week.
2012 oil price outlook
2012 Oil Price Outlook: How to Profit From $150 Oil
2011 was an up-and-down year for oil prices, but don't expect that pattern to repeat in 2012.
No, next year, the trajectory for oil prices will be far more linear - and it's pointed up.
In fact, we could even see $150 oil by mid-summer.
There are two key reasons why:
- Despite the economic crisis in Europe, oil demand proved resilient in 2011. It is poised to remain steady in 2012, and then escalate drastically for the foreseeable future.
- Supplies will once again be constrained, and the potential for political upheaval in major oil-producing nations has increased.
Indeed, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) recently recommended that traders buy July 2012 Brent crude futures in anticipation of a rally to $120 a barrel. It was one of the bank's top six trades for 2012 published in its "Global Economics Weekly" report.
Barclays Capital agrees.
"Even in the worst case scenario, the downside to oil prices is unlikely to be anything as severe as during the 2008-2009 cycle," Barclays analysts Roxana Molina and Amrita Sen wrote in a report earlier this year. "As a result, we maintain our price forecast of $115 per barrel for Brent in 2012 and expect $90 per barrel to hold as a sustainable floor even under gloomy macroeconomic conditions."
As for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude the Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects it to average nearly $94 a barrel next year.
And even that's a conservative estimate.
"Given the oil volume constriction oncoming and the continuing increase in global demand - this drives the price, not North America or Western Europe - we will reach $150or beyond by July 4," said Money Morning Global Energy Strategist Dr. Kent Moors.
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