Global oil demand to hit 25-year low in April, IEA says
The IEA expects the market to start recovering in the second half of the year if restrictions are lifted
Global oil demand is expected to fall by a record 9.3 million barrels per day (mbpd) year-on-year in 2020, the International Energy Agency (IEA) wrote in its monthly report. Demand in April is estimated to be 29 mb/d lower than a year ago, down to a level last seen in 1995.
The impact of containment measures in 187 countries and territories has brought mobility almost to a halt. For the second quarter of 2020, demand is expected to be 23.1 mb/d below the same period in 2019. The recovery in 2H20 will be gradual; in December demand will still be down 2.7 mb/d y-o-y, the IEA predicts.
Global oil supply is set to plunge by a record 12 mb/d in May, after OPEC+ forged a historic output deal to cut production by 9.7 mb/d from an agreed baseline level. Because April production was high, the effective cut is 10.7 mb/d. Additional reductions are set to come from other countries, with the US and Canada seeing the largest declines. Total non-OPEC output falls could reach 5.2 mb/d in 4Q20, and for the year as a whole output may be 2.3 mb/d lower than last year.
Refining throughput in 2020 is forecast to fall 7.6 mb/d y-o-y to 74.3 mb/d on sharply reduced demand for fuels. Global refinery intake is expected to plummet by 16 mb/d y-o-y in 2Q20, with widespread run cuts and shutdowns in all regions. Although refinery runs are falling, product stocks are still expected to build by 6 mb/d. In 2H20, refining activity will slowly recover as the global market moves into deficit.
Early data show China’s implied stock build in 1Q20 at 2.1 mb/d, and US stocks increased by 0.5 mb/d. OECD data show that industry stocks in February fell by 35.4 mb to 2 878 mb as a draw for products more than offset a build in crude. Total OECD oil stocks stood 42.4 mb below the five-year average and, due to the weak outlook, now provide 79.2 days of forward demand coverage. In March, floating storage of crude oil increased by 22.9 mb (0.7 mb/d) to 103.1 mb.
Twin demand and supply shocks caused oil futures prices to fall by 40% in March. Brent has recovered modestly from an 18-year low as producers reached agreement to curtail output and is trading at $31/bbl. Weak demand pushed prices for crude grades such as WTI Midland and West Canadian Select below $10/bbl. Cracks for gasoline and jet fuel continued to suffer as containment measures were introduced.