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EIA hikes Brent, WTI crude price forecasts for 2019

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has increased its forecasts for the spot price of crude oil in 2019.

In its latest "Short Term Energy Outlook" released Aug. 7, the U.S. government agency said it now forecasts Brent crude oil prices to average $70.58 per barrel and West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices to average $64.34/bbl in 2019, for respective increases of $1.84/bbl and $2.30/bbl from the prior-month forecast.

On Aug. 7, the October Brent contract closed at $73.75/bbl while the September WTI contract closed at $69.17/bbl.

"The higher price forecast reflects a lower forecast for global oil supply in 2019 that was only partially offset by lower forecast oil demand for next year," the agency wrote.

The EIA now expects global oil inventories to rise by about 300,000 barrels per day next year, which is almost 400,000 bbl/d less than previously forecast.

However, oil production in the U.S. continues to rise to record highs. The EIA estimates that U.S. crude oil production averaged 10.8 MMbbl/d in July, up 47,000 bbl/d from June. The agency sees U.S. crude oil production averaging 10.7 MMbbl/d in 2018 and 11.7 MMbbl/d in 2019, significantly higher than 9.4 MMbbl/d average in 2017.