Oil prices have been given a boost, but they could struggle to head higher

Key Points
  • Oil will be in a $55 to $75 per barrel range on a 12-month basis, said Manpreet Gill, head of FICC investment strategy at Standard Chartered Private Bank.
  • There's been plenty of price-supportive news in the short term, but oil could struggle to head higher still, Gill said.
  • Concerns over Venezuela and impending U.S. sanctions on Iran have supported oil prices in recent weeks.
'Basic demand-supply fundamentals' imply oil prices will dip: Strategist
'Basic demand-supply fundamentals' imply oil prices will dip: Strategist

Oil prices have climbed in recent weeks, but whether that rise will continue for longer could be in doubt.

"On a 12-month basis, which is the horizon we take, we think we're more likely to be in sort of a $55 to $75 range, which is a little bit lower than where we are today," Manpreet Gill, head of fixed income, currencies and commodities investment strategy at Standard Chartered Private Bank, told CNBC's Sri Jegarajah.

"The reason for that is simply, when we look out beyond the next few months and really take that one-year view, we're looking at the basic demand-supply fundamental. That's what causes our bullish view all the way coming in over the past year or two. That's what's causing us to say, how much can this go if we start really looking beyond the next three months?" Gill said.

Prices have risen recently amid concerns over the impact of potential U.S. sanctions on Venezuela's oil exports following a disputed election which saw Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro re-elected. Also, an executive order that prohibited U.S. citizens from participating in the sale of Venezuelan receivables linked to oil was signed by U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday, Reuters reported.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 20 cents, or 0.28 percent, at $72.44 per barrel. International benchmark Brent crude futures were 13 cents, or 0.16 percent, higher at $79.35 during Asia afternoon trade on Tuesday.

Brent had crossed the $80 mark last week for the first time since November 2014.

View of an oil refinery in the Maracaibo lake, on May 2, 2018 in Maracaibo, Venezuela.
Federico Parra | AFP | Getty Images

"The question for us is how much more can this price move, in the sense of how much more bad news can we get?" Gill said.

That was given how the demand-supply balance will begin to turn less supportive for oil in 2019, Gill said. "There [will be] much more supply relative to demand, so you're not getting the same level of fundamental support," he added.

In recent weeks, markets have been focused on the effect of impending U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil exports, which the Trump administration has repeatedly threatened to do. Trump had announced that he was pulling U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal earlier this month.

More broadly, prices have firmed amid ongoing oil production cuts led by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.