Global oil demand set to see first quarterly decline in over 10 years, IEA says

Fri 14 Feb 2020 10:02 GMT | 14:02 Local Time

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Global oil demand is now expected to see its first quarterly contraction in over a decade, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), as the new coronavirus and widespread shutdown of China’s economy hits demand for crude.

Demand is now expected to fall by 435,000 barrels a day (b/d) in the first quarter of 2020, down from the same period a year ago, and marking the first quarterly contraction in more than 10 years, the IEA said in its monthly oil market report Thursday.

The expected decline in demand prompted the agency to cut its 2020 growth forecast by 365,000 b/d to 825,000 barrels a day, the lowest since 2011. Lower-than-expected consumption in the OECD countries trimmed 2019 growth to 885,000 b/d, it also said.

The forecast downgrade comes as the coronavirus, which has infected over 59,000 worldwide and killed over 1,300 people, continues to weigh on global market sentiment and China’s economic activity with factories and businesses closing and travel restricted both to and from China and within the country.

The outbreak has also affected business elsewhere with economic forums and business conferences cancelled, the latest being the Mobile World Congress that was set to take place in Barcelona this month.

The World Health Organization has said the outbreak “holds a very great threat for the world” and the International Monetary Fund’s Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva told CNBC Wednesday the new strain of coronavirus was “clearly more impactful” on the world economy than the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic.

The negative impact on oil demand hit oil prices hard as the virus took hold in January with a barrel of Brent crude falling by around $10 to fetch below $55 a barrel.

But prices have risen this week on expectations that major producers OPEC and non-OPEC producers, led by Russia, could cut global oil output further to counteract the slump in demand (a slump that had already been around before the coronavirus due to the trade war between the U.S. and China).




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