The World Bank is raising its 2017 forecast for crude oil prices to $55 per barrel from $53 per barrel as members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) prepare to limit production after a long period of unrestrained output.
Energy prices, which include oil, natural gas and coal, are projected to jump almost 25 percent overall next year, a larger increase than anticipated in July. The revised forecast appears in the World Bank’s latest Commodity Markets Outlook. Oil prices are expected to average $43 per barrel in 2016, unchanged from the July report.
“We expect a solid rise in energy prices, led by oil, next year,” said John Baffes, Senior Economist and lead author of the Commodity Markets Outlook. “However, there is considerable uncertainty around the outlook as we await the details and the implementation of the OPEC agreement, which, if carried through, will undoubtedly impact oil markets.”
A modest recovery is projected for most commodities in 2017 as demand strengthens and supplies tighten.
Metals and minerals prices are expected to rise 4.1 percent next year, a 0.5 percentage point upward revision due to increasing supply tightness. Zinc prices are forecast to rise more than 20 percent following the closure of some large zinc mines and production cuts in earlier years. Gold is projected to decline slightly next year to $1,219 per ounce as interest rates are likely to rise and safe haven buying ebbs.
Agriculture prices are expected to increase 1.4 percent in 2017, slightly less than expected in July, as food prices are projected to climb more gradually than anticipated (1.5 percent) and beverage prices are seen dropping by a greater extent (0.6 percent) on expectation of a large coffee output. Among food prices, grains prices are forecast to rise a steeper-than-anticipated 2.9 percent next year, while oils and meals prices are anticipated to rise a slower-than-expected 2 percent.
“Low commodity prices hit commodity-exporting emerging and developing economies hard but now appear to have bottomed out,” said Ayhan Kose, Director of the World Bank’s Development Prospects Group. “Growth in this group of economies is expected to be near zero for the year. Where feasible, policymakers should pursue growth-enhancing strategies, such as investments in infrastructure, health and education, in the context of a credible medium-term fiscal plan.”
This edition of the Commodity Markets Outlook contains a Special Focus analyzing OPEC’s recent announcement of plans to limit production. Historically, agreements aimed at influencing the prices of commodities such as tin and coffee have succeeded in swaying markets for a time but eventually lost that ability and collapsed. OPEC’s ability to affect oil prices is likely to be tested by the expansion of oil supply from unconventional sources, including shale producers.
The World Bank’s Commodity Markets Outlook is published quarterly, in January, April, July and October. The report provides detailed market analysis for major commodity groups, including energy, metals, agriculture, precious metals and fertilizers. Price forecasts to 2025 for 46 commodities are presented along with historical price data.