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Goldman Sachs trims its oil price forecast as supply surplus grows

U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs has lowered its forecast for the price of oil price, saying its supply-demand balance for the fourth quarter of 2016 is weaker than previously expected.

"We are lowering our (fourth quarter) forecast to $43 (per barrel) from $50 (per barrel) previously," a commodity research team at the bank, led by Damien Courvalin, said in a note published Tuesday.

"Given upside surprises to (third-quarter) production and greater clarity on new project delivery into year-end. This leaves us expecting a global surplus of 400,000 (barrels per day) in (the fourth quarter) versus a 300,000 (barrels per day) draw previously."


Oil flare
Udo Weitz | Bloomberg | Getty Images

It added that this forecast only assumed a limited additional increase in production by Libya and Nigeria. It added that a potential deal between OPEC members could support prices in the short term, but said that the potential for less supply disruptions and trader positioning in the global markets meant that risks were skewed to the downside into year-end.

"Importantly, given the uncertainty on forward supply-demand balances, we reiterate our view that oil prices need to reflect near-term fundamentals – which are weaker – with a lower emphasis on the more uncertain longer-term fundamentals," Goldman Sachs added.

Oil markets were in focus on Tuesday as major oil producers met at the International Energy Forum in Algeria. OPEC's informal meeting, alongside other influential non-OPEC producers such as Russia, could lead to a possible production freeze deal that would support oil prices.

However, an Iranian oil minister said on Tuesday that this week would not be the time for OPEC decision making, according to Reuters. Oil prices fell lower on Tuesday morning.

"Statements by participants suggest potentially greater collaboration between OPEC members than in previous attempts, although the outcome of this advisory meeting remains uncertain," Goldman Sachs added in the note.