Goldman Forecasts `Substantially Higher Prices' for Crude in 2011, 2012

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. forecasts “substantially higher prices” for oil in the second half of 2011 and 2012 as the global inventory surplus is exhausted.

“We believe that forward price levels offer good hedging opportunities for calendar 2011/2012 for consumers despite the recent rally,” Goldman analysts led by Allison Nathan and Jeffrey Currie said in a note to clients yesterday.

“We expect the supply-demand balance to continue to tighten in the fourth quarter of 2010 as continued global economic growth, albeit likely at a slower pace than in the first half, continues to strengthen demand,” the note said. “Moving into the second half of 2011 and 2012, we expect the global inventory surplus to be exhausted and OPEC spare capacity to be drawn on to balance the market, leading to substantinally higher prices.”

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