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Oil could be set for a serious comeback: RBC’s Croft

The oil bulls are out again as one RBC oil expert sees oil heading about 50 percent higher over the next year.

Last week, Crude oil fell nearly 7 percent, hitting a three week low of $43 on Thursday before rebounding a bit on Friday following the weaker than expected jobs report.

While she believes oil prices will be volatile in the short term, RBC Capital Markets' global head of commodity strategy, Helima Croft, predicts that the commodity will rise as high as $60 in the year ahead.

"We may see as we head into the end of the year, as we get into December, [oil could move] into the $50s," said Croft last week on CNBC's "Futures Now."

In 2017, "we believe that's where we really start to work off the inventories and that's where we see us in the $60s."

But that very much depends on what could happen with the world's "stressed producers," as Croft calls them.

These are countries who are big oil producers, but find their production lines strapped, usually thanks to circumstances within their own borders. Croft raised Venezuela as a prime example, as the South American oil producer has struggled to maintain production amid roiling civil and political unrest.

The Andean nation's production has been impacted in the past by political and economic turmoil, and "if we have something like that happen again, that's a catalyst for moving higher," Croft said.

This is because such an event would strap Venezuela's oil production capabilities because of the unrest, preventing the country from pouring more barrels on to an already oversupplied oil market, thereby keeping supply capped in the face of what has been generally lower demand for oil.

Last month, the International Energy Agency said that global crude supplies were outstripping demand. However, Croft maintains that the oil oversupply looks to be easing, and that the persistence of the global glut has potentially been overblown. In a recent note, she wrote that "acute downside risks to the oil market are visible and are likely already mostly priced in."

For now, all eyes are now on the informal OPEC meeting slated for September, with the big question being whether a production freeze will be agreed upon.

"I think the market will move say $5 higher on the back of that because right now, nobody thinks OPEC has a heartbeat," she explained. "So if they announce a statement, I do think we will move higher."

Crude is now down more than 4 percent this year, after running above $50 in the first half of 2016.


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