Analysts at Goldman Sachs warned Sunday that a stronger U.S. dollar could push oil prices back down to $40 per barrel as inventories hit record highs and crude becomes more expensive for foreign buyers.
Goldman said it expects Brent prices to lose recent gains and projects that West Texas Intermediate will hover around $40 per barrel during the next two quarters as the U.S. dollar strengthens.
“As a result and absent further unexpected OPEC disruptions, we expect Brent oil prices and timespreads to reverse their recent strength, although the lack of a meaningful build in the past few months leaves risk to our forecast for (WTI) oil prices remaining at $40/barrel for two quarters skewed to the upside,”Goldman said.
The U.S. dollar rose to an 11 and a half year high against other major currencies on Friday thanks in part to a positive employment report from the Department of Labor, Reuters said.
OptionsXpress analyst Ben LeBrun told Reuters that the rising U.S. dollar will steer near term oil prices.
“The US dollar is continuing to strengthen. In the short-term it’s more about the dollar than anything else fundamentally,” LeBrun said.
LeBrun added that while political tensions in the Middle East and North Africa have disrupted output those interruptions will play “second fiddle to the U.S. dollar.”