Short-term forecasts from the U.S. Energy Information Administration predict that oil prices will remain relatively low through 2016. While the news is concerning for some, as noted by respondents to last month's survey of purchasing managers for the ISM Report on Business, PwC economists predict that U.S. transport and industrial sectors could benefit by nearly $300 billion in 2015.
"Some large corporations may not feel the benefits straight away due to having hedged against higher oil prices or being bound by long-term contracts with their suppliers," says Richard Boxshall, PwC senior economist. But the drop in operating costs for these sectors could lead to increased production levels.
The eurozone transport sector is also expected to see big impacts, with PwC forecasting a benefit of $65 billion.
Even with expectations for lower prices, the EIA warns that the oil price outlook still has a high degree of uncertainty in it. In November, OPEC decided to maintain its crude oil production target of 30 million barrels per day, but key producers may be willing to reduce production to drive prices up if low prices begin to have a significant impact on their economies.
Not all sectors will benefit from continued low prices, most notably companies operating in energy and oil. Major oil companies, such as Halliburton, have already announced layoffs as a result.