Oil demand growth at decade low

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Global oil demand in the first half of 2019 grew at its slowest pace since 2008, hurt by increasing signs of economic slowdown. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 10 August 2019

Oil demand growth at decade low

  • Mounting signs of a global economic slowdown outweigh potential supply interruptions

LONDON: Mounting signs of an economic slowdown and a ratcheting up of the US-China trade war have caused global oil demand to grow at its slowest pace since the financial crisis of 2008, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said.

The IEA said global oil demand in the first half of 2019 grew at its slowest pace since 2008 hurt by mounting signs of an economic slowdown and a ramping up of the US-China trade war.

Rystad Energy said the oil market was going “from gloomy to gloomier,” calling into question the consultancy’s own bullish view for the first part of 2020.

“Economic recession risk and further escalation of the US-China trade war are key concerns in the near term. How long OPEC+ is willing to continue to manage production adds uncertainty,” said Bjørnar Tonhaugen, head of oil market analysis at Rystad Energy.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other producers, an alliance known as OPEC+, agreed in July to extend their supply cuts until March 2020 to boost oil prices.

Russia’s energy ministry said IEA’s estimates were largely in line with its own forecasts and that Moscow had taken into account the possibility of a slowdown in oil demand when it extended an output cut deal with OPEC.

“Market focus in oil has clearly shifted. It is squarely on future demand, rather than on supply,” said Harry Tchilinguirian, global oil strategist at BNP Paribas in London.

Saudi Arabia plans to maintain its crude oil exports below 7 million barrels per day in August and September to bring the market back to balance and help absorb global oil inventories, a Saudi oil official said on Wednesday.

The UAE also will continue to support actions to balance the oil market, Energy Minister Suhail Al-Mazrouei said in a tweet on Thursday.

Oil prices rose on Friday, supported by expectations of more OPEC production cuts.

Brent crude futures were up 89 cents at $58.27 a barrel in early trade while (WTI) futures were at $53.33 per barrel, up 79 cents.

“Despite a further cut in oil demand growth by the IEA, oil prices are trading marginally higher, as the demand growth cut was already announced previously by the head of the IEA and the agency still expects larger inventory draws for 2019,” UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo said.


OECD forecast sees global growth at decade low

Updated 22 November 2019

OECD forecast sees global growth at decade low

  • Governments failing to get to grips with challenges, outlook says

PARIS: The global economy is growing at the slowest pace since the financial crisis as governments leave it to central banks to revive investment, the OECD said on Thursday in an update of its forecasts.

The world economy is projected to grow by a decade-low 2.9 percent this year and next, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said in its Economic Outlook, trimming its 2020 forecast from an estimate of 3 percent in September.

Offering meagre consolation, the Paris-based policy forum forecast growth would edge up to 3 percent in 2021, but only if a myriad of risks ranging from trade wars to an unexpectedly sharp Chinese slowdown is contained.

A bigger concern, however, is that governments are failing to get to grips with global challenges such as climate change, the digitalization of their economies and the crumbling of the multilateral order that emerged after the fall of Communism.

“It would be a policy mistake to consider these shifts as temporary factors that can be addressed with monetary or fiscal policy: they are structural,” OECD chief economist Laurence Boone wrote in the report.

Without clear policy direction on these issues, “uncertainty will continue to loom high, damaging growth prospects,” she added.

Among the major economies, US growth was forecast at 2.3 percent this year, trimmed from 2.4 percent in September as the fiscal impulse from a 2017 tax cut waned and amid weakness among US trading partners.

With the world’s biggest economy seen growing 2 percent in 2020 and 2021, the OECD said further interest rate cuts would be warranted only if growth turned weaker.

China, which is not an OECD member but is tracked by it, was forecast to grow marginally faster in 2019 than had been expected in September, with growth of 6.2 percent rather than 6.1 percent.

However, the OECD said that China would keep losing momentum, with growth of 5.7 percent expected in 2020 and 5.5 percent in 2021 in the face of trade tensions and a gradual rebalancing of activity away from exports to the domestic economy.

In the euro area, growth was seen at 1.2 percent in 2019 and 1.1 percent in 2020, up both years by 0.1 percentage point on the September forecast. It is seen at 1.2 percent in 2021.

The OECD warned that the relaunch of bond buying at the European Central Bank would have a limited impact if euro area countries did not boost investment.

The outlook for Britain improved marginally from September as the prospect of a no-deal exit from the EU recedes.

British growth was upgraded to 1.2 percent this year from 1 percent previously and was seen at 1 percent in 2020.