Afternoon Coffee: US Government Lowers Oil Price Outlook, Wholesale Inventories Increase Unexpectedly in January

Africa Studio/Adobe Stock Africa Studio/Adobe Stock

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has lowered its forecast for brent crude oil prices this year and into 2017. The government now predicts oil prices will average $34 a barrel in 2016 and rise to $40 a barrel in 2017, down $3/b and $10/b, respectively, from previous forecasts.

Wholesale inventories rose 0.3% in January due to weak sales, the Commerce Department reported. The inventory increase was unexpected — economists predicted a fall of 0.2%.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development also released its leading indicators report this week, which points to slowing growth in many economies around the world, including the U.S., U.K. and Japan. The group’s outlook for China remains the same with “tentative signs of stabilization.”

Chipotle is still fighting outbreaks of the Norovirus. A Chipotle location in Massachusetts had to close this week after an employee tested positive for the highly contagious virus.

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