OPEC doesn’t see peak oil demand

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman chairs the virtual extraordinary meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC countries earlier this year. (AFP)
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Updated 09 October 2020

OPEC doesn’t see peak oil demand

  • Group forecasts crude consumption growing, driven largely by greater use of cars in developing countries

PARIS: The coronavirus crisis has sparked talk that the world might have reached peak oil demand but the OPEC group sees crude consumption continuing to grow during the next quarter century, driven in large part by greater use of cars in developing countries.

In its latest forecasts, released on Thursday, OPEC sees surprisingly little long-term impact despite the pandemic plunging the global economy and oil demand into a tailspin.

While the pace of economic recovery will dictate how fast oil consumption rebounds, even OPEC’s scenario of a slow healing sees an eventual return to increased demand.

“At the global level, oil demand is expected to increase by almost 10 mbd (million barrels per day) over the long-term, rising from 99.7 mbd in 2019 to . . . 109.1 mbd in 2045,” it said in its latest World Oil Outlook.

This baseline scenario represents 9.4 percent growth from pre-coronavirus consumption levels.

Under its slow growth scenario, OPEC expects 5 percent growth in oil demand.

And even with fast adoption of green technologies and tougher climate change policies, the group still sees a 3.1 percent increase in consumption.

OPEC’s forecast contrasts with that of some industry players, including major oil firms such as BP, which in its latest long-term estimates predicted that oil demand had already peaked or would soon do so thanks to increased use of renewable energy and the impact of the coronavirus.

Yet even the cartel’s forecasts reveal the impact of the changes already underway in certain regions.

It sees oil demand as having already peaked in developed countries that are part of the OECD, while it will continue to grow in developing countries.

“Demand projections show a contrasting picture between the two major regions: Declining long-term OECD demand and growing demand in the non-OECD,” said the report.

“In this regard, India, China and other developing countries (DCs) with increasing populations and high economic growth play a key role in increasing energy demand while developed nations in the OECD are exerting more of their efforts on energy efficiency and low-carbon technologies,” it added.

China and India are expected to account for half of that energy demand growth.

OPEC expects oil demand in OECD countries to peak between 2022 and 2025 before beginning to decline, thanks in large part to a switch to electric vehicles.

But in China and India, OPEC sees road transportation as posting the biggest gains in oil demand.

In China, it expects road transport to account for almost half of the overall demand growth, as the number of cars on the road triples. In India, it expects the number of cars to multiply more than five times.


Japan’s capital sees prices fall most in over 8 years as COVID-19 pain persists

Updated 27 November 2020

Japan’s capital sees prices fall most in over 8 years as COVID-19 pain persists

  • Tokyo core CPI marks biggest annual drop since May 2012
  • Data suggests nationwide consumer prices to stay weak

TOKYO: Core consumer prices in Tokyo suffered their biggest annual drop in more than eight years, data showed on Friday, an indication the hit to consumption from the coronavirus crisis continued to heap deflationary pressure on the economy.
The data, which is considered a leading indicator of nationwide price trends, reinforces market expectations that inflation will remain distant from the Bank of Japan’s 2% target for the foreseeable future.
“Consumer prices will continue to hover on a weak note as any economic recovery will be moderate,” said Dai-ichi Life Research Institute, which expects nationwide core consumer prices to fall 0.5% in the fiscal year ending March 2021.
The core consumer price index (CPI) for Japan’s capital, which includes oil products but excludes fresh food prices, fell 0.7% in November from a year earlier, government data showed, matching a median market forecast.
It followed a 0.5% drop in October and marked the biggest annual drop since May 2012, underscoring the challenge policymakers face in battling headwinds to growth from COVID-19.
The slump in fuel costs and the impact of a government campaign offering discounts to domestic travel weighed on Tokyo consumer prices, the data showed.
Japan’s economy expanded in July-September from a record post-war slump in the second quarter, when lockdown measures to prevent the spread of the virus cooled consumption and paralyzed business activity.
Analysts, however, expect any recovery to be modest with a resurgence in global and domestic infections clouding the outlook, keeping pressure on policymakers to maintain or even ramp up stimulus.