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The Big Picture

By Elliott H. Gue on Nov. 26, 2012

The health and trajectory of the global economy play a key role in determining the supply-demand balance for energy prices.

Although developed economies such as the US and Western Europe contribute little to incremental growth in global oil demand, these end-markets still account for a substantial proportion of global energy consumption. We expect the US economy to expand by 2 percent to 3 percent in 2013–assuming that President Obama and Congressional leaders eke out a compromise to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff–while trends in recession-hit EU should at least stabilize over the next 12 months.

More important, Chinese authorities successfully engineered a soft landing for the Mainland economy, setting the quintessential emerging market on the path to grow its gross domestic product at a sustainable annual rate of 7 percent to 8 percent.

This forecast for steady, if unspectacular economic growth, informs our base case for oil prices.

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