IEA may cut its oil demand growth estimates if global economy weakens

If the global economy weakens, for which there are already some signs we may lower oil demand estimates, says Fatih Birol IEA chief expectations. (AFP)
Updated 28 September 2019

IEA may cut its oil demand growth estimates if global economy weakens

SEOUL: The International Energy Agency (IEA) may cut its growth estimates for global oil demand for 2019 and 2020, should the global economy weaken further, its chief said on Friday.

In August the Paris-based agency trimmed its global oil demand growth estimates for 2019 and 2020 to 1.1 million and 1.3 million barrels per day (bpd), respectively, as trade woes weighed on global oil consumption, making demand grow at its slowest pace since the financial crisis of 2008.

“It will depend on the global economy. If the global economy weakens, for which there are already some signs we may lower oil demand expectations,” Fatih Birol told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Knowledge Forum in Seoul.

He said China’s economic growth, which has fallen to the lowest in nearly three decades, could also mean there would be some revisions, as Beijing is “an engine of the demand growth.”

China’s economic growth slowed to 6.2 percent in the second quarter, its weakest pace in at least 27 years, dragged down by weaker demand amid heightened trade tensions with the US.

“But at the same time, we shouldn’t forget low oil prices also (put) upward pressure on the demand,” the IEA chief said.

Global crude benchmark Brent is hovering around $62 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate is sitting around $56, weighed down by worries over slowing global economic growth that could dent oil demand.

Asked about how Asian importers could increase their energy security in the midst of the tensions in the Middle East, Birol said diversifying oil and natural gas imports as much as possible is a way to cope with geopolitical risks.

“Especially for natural gas, this is a very lucrative time to diversify. Buyers’ hands are much stronger,” he said. “Definitely it’s a time to make new contracts and good prices ... competition now it’s not among buyers but among sellers.”

A day earlier, the IEA chief said liquefied natural gas (LNG) investments hit a record of $50 billion in 2019, driven by Canada and the US.


Philippine jobless rate hits record 17.7% in April due to pandemic

Updated 05 June 2020

Philippine jobless rate hits record 17.7% in April due to pandemic

  • The Philippines is facing its biggest economic contraction in more than three decades
  • April’s 17.7 percent unemployment rate equivalent to 7.3 million people without jobs

MANILA: The Philippines’ unemployment rate surged to a record 17.7 percent in April, the statistics agency said on Friday, as millions lost their jobs due to a pandemic-induced lockdown that battered the economy.
The Philippines, which before the pandemic was one of Asia’s fastest growing economies, is facing its biggest contraction in more than three decades after the new coronavirus shuttered businesses and crushed domestic demand.
April’s unemployment rate, which is 7.3 million people without jobs, compares with 5.3 percent in January and 5.1 percent in April last year.
“We should not lose sight of the fact that this loss in employment is really temporary,” Economic Planning Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon said in an online news conference.
The lockdown in the capital, Manila, which was one of the world’s longest and strictest, was relaxed as of June 1 to allow much-needed business activity to resume and soften the economic blow of the coronavirus, which has infected more than 20,000 in the country.