Oil prices are expected to rebound in 2015 and 2016 as the market stabilizes in the wake of a near-40 percent collapse this year, Reuters monthly poll showed on Thursday.
Although forecasts have collapsed in the wake of OPEC's decision last week not to cut output despite a global glut, analysts still see oil prices next year averaging more than $10 a barrel above current levels, the poll showed.
The survey of 31 analysts and economists, conducted after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting on Nov. 27, forecast North Sea Brent crude would average $82.50 a barrel in 2015, down $11.20 from last month's poll.
That is the biggest downgrade in average forecasts since the global economic crisis in 2008 and compares with an average price of around $102 for Brent so far this year. The poll forecast Brent would average $87.40 in 2016.
But the projections are still well above current prices.
Brent traded around $70 a barrel on Thursday, down from a high above $115 on June 19. Brent reached a five-year low on Monday of $67.53 a barrel and U.S. crude touched $63.72.
"We could see a base for recovery in the second half of next year," said Carsten Fritsch, senior oil analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. "We could even see $85 a barrel by late 2015."
Twenty-one of the 29 analysts who contributed to both the October and the latest poll cut their forecasts. Fifteen said they changed their forecasts after the OPEC meeting.
"OPEC's decision to maintain its production entrenches a surplus," said Gareth Lewis-Davies, strategist at BNP Paribas. "At current levels of OPEC crude output, the market faces 1.5 million to 2 million barrels per day of surplus."
In Reuters monthly oil price poll in June, analysts had forecast Brent would average $104.80 in 2015.
Italy's Nomisma Energia had the lowest 2015 Brent forecast in the latest Reuters poll at $69.18 a barrel, while U.S. based brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein had the highest forecast at $104.
"OPEC's abandoning of oil market management last Thursday feels like one of those seminal points in the history of oil," said Credit Suisse analyst Jan Stuart, who cut his 2015 Brent price forecast by $16.25 to $75.25.
The poll forecast U.S. light crude would average $78.00 a barrel next year, down $10 from October's consensus. WTI has averaged $96.00 in 2014.
Brent's premium to U.S. crude will narrow to $4.50 a barrel in 2015 from $6.85 so far this year and $10.58 in 2013, the poll said.