Oil prices are testing lows not hit since early 2004. Amid increasingly bullish signs that Iranian output will ramp up sooner rather than later, a market rebalance may have to wait to 2017.

The IEA, in its 11 December oil market report, revises down its ‘call on Opec’ forecast for the fourth quarter next year by 220,000 b/d to 31.86mn b/d. This is only just above current Opec output – 31.82mn b/d for November according to MEES estimates. In other words, presuming Opec output remains at current levels, it is touch and go whether global oil markets will return to balance in even the fourth quarter next year. (CONTINUED - 1082 WORDS)