CIBC’s Spector Is Top WTI Oil Forecaster, Ranking Shows

CIBC World Markets Corp., the wholesale-banking unit of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, was the most accurate forecaster of oil traded in New York among analysts ranked by Bloomberg over the past eight quarters.

Estimates by Katherine Spector, CIBC’s New York-based analyst, for West Texas Intermediate crude futures were closest to the actual price from the fourth quarter of 2010 through the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2012.

“This is a market that is perpetually one unexpected supply outage away from a sharply higher oil price,” Spector said by e-mail on Oct. 5. “Supply will continue to be where the surprises are in the oil balance, whether bullish or bearish.”

Spector expects WTI crude to average $98 a barrel in the fourth quarter and range from $100 to $108 a barrel next year as U.S. and European sanctions curb Iranian exports and oilfield stoppages interrupt supply in some non-OPEC countries. She worked as global head of energy strategy at JPMorgan Chase & Co. from 2004 to 2008 before joining CIBC in June 2010.

Pedro Moreno Alonso of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA in Madrid and Scott Hanold of RBC Capital Markets LLC in Minneapolis were the top forecasters of Brent crude and Henry Hub natural gas futures, respectively, the Bloomberg ranking survey found.

Oil capped its biggest quarterly increase this year on Sept. 30 on concern that escalating tension in the Middle East will disrupt supplies and as gasoline surged to a five-month high at the end of the month. WT gained 8.5 percent in New York in the third quarter, closing at $92.19 a barrel on Sept. 28.

Iran Overtaken

Iran’s production and exports have declined this year as economic sanctions targeting its oil, banking and shipping industries made it harder for the Persian Gulf state to sell and deliver crude. In June, Iran slipped to third place among producers within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, behind Iraq. It then dropped to fourth in September after fellow-member Kuwait boosted output, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Saudi Arabia is OPEC’s biggest producer.

“Oil has traded in a consistent, if wide, range for the past two years,” Spector said, with variations of roughly $80 to $110 for WTI and $100 to $120 for Brent.

“The Saudis have done a very good job of market management in that period,” she said. “But the bullish take is that during a period of very weak global demand growth, it has taken record Saudi production four months in a row to keep prices from breaching the upper bounds of that range.”

CIBC was followed by Banco Santander SA, HSH Nordbank AG, Westpac Banking Corp. and Wells Fargo Securities LLC as the most accurate forecasters of WTI. The following table gives more details on the rankings for WTI, Brent crude and Henry Hub gas.

Bloomberg Rankings Best Forecasters of Energy Prices
NYMEX West Texas Intermediate
 Rank Name                    Company
  1   Katherine Spector       CIBC World Markets Corp.
  2   Jason Kenney            Banco Santander SA
  3   Sintje Boie             HSH Nordbank AG
  4   Justin Smirk            Westpac Banking Corp.
  5   David Tameron           Wells Fargo Securities LLC

ICE Brent Crude
 Rank Name                    Company
  1   Pedro Moreno Alonso     Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA
  2   David Bouckhout         TD Securities
  3   Marshall Adkins         Raymond James & Associates Inc.
  4   Michael Wittner         Societe Generale SA
  5   Norman Rudschuck        Norddeutsche Landesbank

NYMEX Henry Hub Natural Gas
 Rank Name                    Company
  1   Scott Hanold            RBC Capital Markets LLC
  2   Laurent Key             Societe Generale SA
  3   Jason Schenker          Prestige Economics LLC
  4   Peter Buchanan          CIBC World Markets Inc.
  5   Jan Stuart              Credit Suisse Group AG

Source: Bloomberg
Methodology note: Rankings are based on quarterly forecasts from
the fourth quarter of 2010 through the third quarter of 2012.
Rankings were based on average margins of error, which were
calculated by subtracting the forecast from the actual oil or
gas price and dividing the result by the price. To qualify for
each ranking, a company had to submit at least four forecasts,
including two in the most recent four quarters.
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