Executive Summary: Oil market outlook

March 2016

Crude oil prices have recovered slightly after hitting 14-year lows earlier in Q1. North Sea Brent futures averaged $33.5 per barrel in February, up by around $1.5 from January. Brent futures bounced further to around $40/bbl in early March, hitting $41.48/bbl before losing momentum.

The modest price gains were prompted by reports that OPEC planned to hold a meeting with non-OPEC countries, including Russia, in March or early April. But it is doubtful this will have a tangible impact on the flooded oil market. Signs that crude production in the United States was beginning to respond to lower oil prices also helped support prices.

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