CNBC's weekly poll of analysts forecasts oil to continue to fall this week as weak fundamentals (supply overhang and anemic demand) weigh on the market.
Out of 12 analysts, nine (or 75 percent) expect prices to fall this week, three said they would be largely unchanged and none expected prices to rise.
Oil fell nearly 6 percent last week and some respondents see a test of $76/bbl, possibly $74 this week. China monetary tightening and a slow start to the U.S. earnings season may also drag. But investor buying on the dips -- as the the global economic recovery gains traction-- may limit any move lower.
"Higher inventories, warmer weather, and a possible drop in the Dow next week on top of a current downtrend in oil makes me think oil could easily fall in price say to $76 or even $75." - Mike Sander, Sander Capital Advisors
"Oil pricing has near-term propensity to fall further due to a confluence of bearish factors -- U.S. inventories, China monetary tightening, slow start to U.S. earnings season -- but the trading range will likely stay within $75-85. Prices approaching $77 would be viewed by many investors as good buy opportunities. However, most investors lack the conviction to push prices toward $83." - Victor Shum, Purvin & Gertz
'I would look for a test of the $76.00 level but I would highly doubt that the market will spike down through $75.00 unless the dollar takes off, another unlikely scenario. The NYMEX markets are saturated with longs so the downside remains vulnerable. - Linda Rafield, Platts
'We think the market is headed lower in the short term. Back down to $74 is our target. Stock market will have a tough time and dollar should rally a bit.' - Mark L. Waggoner, Excel Futures
"I'm neutral on oil for next week. Fundamentals are unlikely to improve and uncertainty will linger in the market for the short-term, constraining upward movements in prices. Nevertheless, investors buying on weakness now that the global recovery seems relatively well entrenched is likely to limit the downside for prices." - Ben Westmore, National Australia Bank