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Downward Revisions Remind Us that All Forecasts Depend on One Important Input

Minneapolis, MN | May 23, 2023 | By: Steve Sinos, Blue Lacy Advisors, LLC

Every analyst's price forecast starts with today's price. May's STEO demonstrated this with a price revision that outstripped the modest changes to its fundamental analysis.

Three Things

  1. The EIA just came out and said it. They had to revise their crude oil price forecast because today’s price is too low, so their base case can’t get to their previous expectation from here without accelerating their fundamental case. Revisions are normal and good analysts acknowledge this. Most public analysts, however, move the timeline of their forecast until they are “right.”

  2. Price forecasts get all the attention, but they are the least useful part of an analyst’s good work. Instead, the input variables give you meaningful data to track, allowing you to gauge progress toward the base case fundamental scenario.

  3. The STEO revisions were minor tweaks reflecting new information collected since the last report. They see a tightly balanced market, with modest builds through 2023 accelerating into 2024.

The Future Depends on the Present

This week’s edition of the EIA’s “This Week in Petroleum” started, “We revised down our crude oil price forecast in the May Short Term Energy Outlook (STEO) because of rapid declines in the price of crude oil at the end of April and in early May.” Every analyst should be able to recognize the indisputable truth of that statement immediately: all forecasts are inherently dependent on the starting point. In the context of the STEO, the price on the day the model is run is the most important input variable for determining the ultimate price in their forecast. As of 11 Apr 2023, the average price across the 12-month Brent strip was $82.40, with month 12 $11.12 backward to the prompt month. This was the week following OPEC’s announcement to cut production when prices were trading about $4/bbl higher on average along the strip compared to the end of March. In that publication, the EIA forecast Brent to average $85/bbl during 2023 and $81 for all of 2024. By 9 May 23, the date of the most recent release, Brent had fallen to an average price of $75.76/bbl (down >8%) and a Month 1 v. Month 12 backwardation of $4.84 (flatter by more than half).

*This summary is based off May 15, 2023

A free excerpt, such as this one, will be published on a delay periodically. This is an excerpt from Blue Lacy Advisors, LLC's (“Blue Lacy”) weekly commentary for clients, which is based on a collection of models, research/analytical subscriptions, and bespoke work. Each week Blue Lacy explores how market drivers included in these analyses might affect or be used in clients' planning, budgeting, and execution of strategy. Call Blue Lacy to make an appointment today!


Meet the Author!

Phone: +1-832-413-3124

Steve has spent his career in strategy, risk, trading, and investment. He works with investors to source investments in opportunistic or high growth sectors, with particular interest in early-stage companies solving clearly defined problems.

He is currently a Managing Partner with Blue Lacy Advisors LLC, giving management teams and investors confidence in their decision making by supporting strategic planning and execution, risk management, commodity trading, and market analysis.

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