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Brent crude futures LCOc1 were trading at $49.39 per barrel at 1028 GMT, down $1.49 from their last close. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude Clc1 was down $1.27 at $47.25 a barrel.
This summer the U.S. oil price has whipsawed from more than $50 a barrel in June to below $40 earlier this month. In the past two weeks it has risen more than 20%, to a recent $48.22 a barrel.
International Brent crude oil futures were trading at $46.20 per barrel at 8.47 p.m. ET, up 16 cents, or 0.35 percent, from their last close and not far off their $46.30 monthly high reached in the previous session. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $43.71 a barrel, up 22 cents, or 0.51 percent, from their last close.
Brent crude LCOc1 was up 27 cents a barrel at $42.07 at 0957 GMT (0557 EDT). It reached $41.51 on Tuesday, the lowest since April 18. U.S. crude CLc1 added 28 cents to $39.79.
North Sea Brent crude oil prices averaged $60/barrel (b) in April, a $4/b increase from March and the highest monthly average of 2015. Despite increasing global inventories, several factors contributed to higher prices in April, including indications of higher global oil demand growth, expectations for declining U.S. tight oil production in the coming months, and the growing risk of unplanned supply outages in the Middle East and North Africa.
Brent crude oil prices will average $58/bbl in 2015 and $75/bbl in 2016
The growing uncertainty surrounding oil prices presents a major challenge to all price forecasts. EIA's January Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), released yesterday, forecasts Brent crude oil prices averaging $58/bbl in 2015 and $75/bbl in 2016, with annual average WTI prices expected to be $3/bbl to $4/bbl below Brent.
In 2015, world oil demand is anticipated to rise by 1.15 mb/d, following an upward revision of 30 tb/d due to expectations of higher oil requirements in OECD America and Other Asia.
December was the sixth consecutive month in which monthly average Brent prices decreased, falling $17/barrel (bbl) from November to a monthly average of $62/bbl, the lowest since May 2009. The December price decline reflects continued growth in U.S. tight oil production, strong global supply, and weakening outlooks for the global economy and oil demand growth.
Crude oil markets continue to search for a bottom as prices declined again in December and the first week of January. The North Sea Brent front month futures price settled at $50.96/bbl on January 8, a decline of $21.58/bbl from December 1