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Brent crude likely to hit $70 a barrel by mid 2018: Report


Tribune News Network
Doha
Robust global demand and tight supplies should see Brent crude rising to $70 per barrel by mid-2018, according to a BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research report that came out on Thursday.
The report predicted the diesel fuel pricing to reach $90 per barrel on rising demand.
"Higher US interest rates and a strong dollar could act as a headwind to commodities," it said, adding that the fundamentals were improving for US natural gas, with prices reaching $3.30 per million BTU, and structural demand, especially from liquid natural gas (LNG), outpacing production growth.
Among the precious metals, the report said there was limited upside to gold in 2018, with prices expected to reach $1,326 per ounce.
It issued a bullish macro outlook for 2018, calling for robust global economic growth, steady US expansion and solid stock returns that peak in the first half of the year.
However, it warned of signs that the long bull market run is nearing the end of its leash, triggering a mid-year pullback alongside potential for some of the best returns in the last gasps of the cycle.
The BofA Merrill Lynch team forecasts modest returns in equities and credit negative bond returns, a stronger dollar, higher levels of volatility and tighter credit spreads in 2018.
Inflation is expected to be the big story of the year, particularly in the US, where the labour market is expected to further tighten as inflation pressures are building. Passage of US tax reform is the main upside risk to economic growth, with far-reaching effects, particularly for emerging markets, that have not been fully priced into the market.
"Our overall outlook for the year ahead is macro bullish, so much so that we're ultimately market bearish," said Michael Hartnett, head of Global Investment Strategy, BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research.
"Investors are chasing growth and high-yielding assets in a bull market that's been driven and enabled by central bank liquidity. We see an end to this Icarus trade and an aggressive downgrade of risk assets once profits peak, investor positioning becomes excessively enthusiastic and central banks start withdrawing liquidity as they scale back support."

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