IEA Raises 2020 Oil Demand Forecast

IEA Raises 2020 Oil Demand Forecast

The International Energy Agency (IEA) bumped up its 2020 oil demand forecast on Friday; but warned that the spread of COVID-19 posed a risk to the outlook.

The Paris-based IEA raised its forecast to 92.1 million bpd, up 400,000 bpd from its outlook last month; citing a smaller-than-expected second-quarter decline.

“While the oil market has undoubtedly made progress … the large, and in some countries; accelerating number of COVID-19 cases is a disturbing reminder that the pandemic is not under control and the risk to our market outlook is almost certainly to the downside,” the IEA said in its monthly report.

Strong rebound to fuel deliveries

The easing of lockdown measures in many countries caused a strong rebound to fuel deliveries; in May, June and likely also July, the IEA said.

But oil refining activity in 2020 is to fall by more than the IEA anticipated last month and to grow less in 2021, it said.

Demand in 2021 will likely be 2.6 million bpd below 2019 levels; with kerosene and jet fuel due to a drop in air travel accounting for three-quarters of the shortfall.

“For refiners, expectations of much tighter feedstock markets ahead is likely to offset any benefit from improving demand. Refining margins will also be challenged by a major product stocks overhang from the very weak second quarter of 2020,” Reuters quoted the IEA as saying.

On the supply front, the IEA said the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers including Russia; a grouping known as OPEC+, had shown 108% compliance with their pact to rein in output.

Market driven cuts had also affected other producers, especially the United States; though US supply was to slowly recover in the second half of 2020. While the lifting of force majeure on exports of Libyan crude could add another 900,000 bpd to global markets by the end of the year.