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Goldman Sachs raises 12-month commodity returns forecast

(Reuters) - Goldman Sachs on Monday raised its 12-month commodity returns forecast by 3% to 6.4% citing an improved outlook for oil after an OPEC-led agreement to curb output further as well as agriculture sector supply concerns.

FILE PHOTO: A Chinese ship is loaded with soybeans at Port of Santos May 19, 2015. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker/File Photo

“Policy clarity” after the U.S.-China trade deal and the British elections could trigger commodity demand, analysts at the bank said in a note.

“However, the structural supply problems that have discouraged investment in commodity production remain: poor company returns, too much debt and environmental liabilities”.

Washington and Beijing cooled their trade war last week, reducing some U.S. tariffs in exchange for what U.S. officials said would be a big jump in Chinese purchases of U.S. farm products and other goods.

After winning a majority in the UK election last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed to “get Brexit done” by Jan. 31 and then agree a new trade deal with the European Union by the end of 2020.

Goldman forecast returns of 1.7%, 4.7% and 6.4% on its S&P GSCI commodity index for 3 months, 6 months and 12 months, respectively. Over the 12-month horizon, Goldman saw returns of 9.1% from energy, 7.7% for precious metals, and 7.9% for the livestock sector.

Benchmark Brent crude oil prices LCOc1 have rallied this year, supported by production curbs by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, who this month agreed to lower output by a further 500,000 barrels per day as of Jan. 1. [O/R]

“As the focus becomes very near-term and open-ended, the cuts to production could be deeper with OPEC delivering credible and observable threats to ‘cheaters’,” the bank said.

“With a near-term focus, backwardation rises and so do returns. We are raising our oil returns forecast to 15% from 9.7% even though we see oil prices trading sideways in 2020.”

The bank had earlier raised its 2020 oil price forecasts citing tighter-than-expected inventories after the OPEC-led agreement.

Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri in Bengaluru

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