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October 16, 2020 Blog

OPEC Raises 2020 Oil Demand Forecast

Crude Oil Price Movements

After four consecutive months of gain, spot crude prices settled significantly lower in September. The OPEC Reference Basket (ORB) fell by $3.65, to $41.54/b, while the year-to-date averaged $40.62/b. Crude oil futures prices on both sides of the Atlantic declined during September, for the first time since April. ICE Brent averaged at $41.87/b, while NYMEX WTI dropped and settled at $39.63/b. The Brent-WTI spread continued narrow at just over $2/b.

World Economy

The global economic growth forecast remains at minus 4.1% for 2020, while for 2021 it is revised downward to 4.6%, from 4.7% in last month’s assessment. In 2020, the US economic growth forecast is revised up to minus 4.2% y-o-y, followed by a downwardly revised growth of 3.9% in 2021.

World Oil Demand

In 2020, world oil demand is estimated to decline by 9.5 mb/d y-o-y, relatively unchanged from last month’s assessment, reaching a level of 90.3 mb/d. In the OECD, demand growth is revised slightly lower by around 0.06 mb/d in 2020. This downward revision accounts for lower expectations for transportation fuel consumption in the US and parts of Europe in 2H20 following a weak summer driving season, which has more than offset a less-than-expected decline in 1H20 data, due to steady petrochemical feedstock demand in the US and increased heating fuel restocking in Europe.

World Oil Supply

The non-OPEC liquids supply forecast in 2020 is revised up by 0.31 mb/d from the previous month’s assessment, mostly due to a higher-than-expected recovery in US liquids production. Non-OPEC liquids supply is now estimated to contract by 2.4 mb/d y-o-y, to average 62.8 mb/d. Oil supply in 2020 is forecast to decline mainly in Russia with 1.1 mb/d, US with 0.7 mb/d, Canada, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Malaysia, and Azerbaijan, while it is projected to grow in Norway, Brazil, China, Guyana and Australia.

Product Markets and Refining Operations

In September, refining margins showed mixed results. In the Atlantic Basin, product markets benefited from refinery run cuts, despite weakness coming from the middle of the barrel due to high gasoil availability, amid more stringent lockdown measures, as COVID-19 infection rates continued rising. In the US, the landfall of Hurricane Laura in early September affected several refinery operations, while maintenance-related shutdowns in Europe led to a relatively tighter gasoline market in both regions. In Asia, growing product surplus continued to pressure product markets, outweighing all gains from healthy gasoline demand in India, but refinery intakes within the region remained strong.

Product exports returned above 1 mb/d in August, with gasoil and fuel oil outflows increasing from the low levels seen the month before. Following seven months of consecutive declines, India’s crude imports increased in August, averaging 3.6 mb/d, as refiners returned to the market after drawing down high inventories in the previous two months. However, refinery runs and product demand remain weak, amid continued lockdown measures.

Tanker Market

Dirty tanker rates remained weak in September, as tonnage demand was weak and the unwinding of floating storage increased availability. After three spectacular quarters in 2020, ship owners are expecting a slow fourth quarter for tanker demand and an uncertain outlook for the coming year. Clean tanker rates have seen some pick up as the easing of COVID-19 restrictions has revived some product trade flows.

Crude and Refined Products Trade

Preliminary data shows that US crude imports continued to slide, averaging 5.2 mb/d in September, the lowest since 1992. US crude exports in September rebounded after falling the month before to average 3 mb/d. Japan’s crude imports showed a recovery, averaging 2.4 mb/d in August, up from a low of 1.9 mb/d in June 2020, but well below the recent 3.1 mb/d peak seen in March. Product imports also remained relatively healthy in August, up 11% m-o-m.

Commercial Stock Movements

Preliminary August data showed that total OECD commercial oil stocks fell by 20.7 mb, m-o-m. At 3,204 mb, they were 226.8 mb higher than the same time one year ago and 219.3 mb above the latest five-year average. Within the components, crude stocks declined by 30.2 mb m-o-m, while product stocks increased by 9.4 mb, m-o-m. OECD crude stocks stood at 78.1 mb above the latest five-year average, while product stocks exhibited a surplus of 141.3 mb. In terms of days of forward cover, OECD commercial stocks fell by 1.3 days, m-o-m, in August to stand at 71.9 days. This was 9.6 days above the August 2019 level, and 9.1 days above the latest five-year average.

Balance of Supply and Demand

Demand for OPEC crude in 2020 is revised down by 0.3 mb/d from the previous month’s assessment to stand at 22.4 mb/d, around 7.0 mb/d lower than in 2019. Similarly, demand for OPEC crude in 2021 is revised down by 0.2 mb/d from the previous month’s assessment to stand at 27.9 mb/d, around 5.6 mb/d higher than in 2020.

Source: OPEC

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Crude Oil Price Movements

After four consecutive months of gain, spot crude prices settled significantly lower in September. The OPEC Reference Basket (ORB) fell by $3.65, to $41.54/b, while the year-to-date averaged $40.62/b. Crude oil futures prices on both sides of the Atlantic declined during September, for the first time since April. ICE Brent averaged at $41.87/b, while NYMEX WTI dropped and settled at $39.63/b. The Brent-WTI spread continued narrow at just over $2/b.

World Economy

The global economic growth forecast remains at minus 4.1% for 2020, while for 2021 it is revised downward to 4.6%, from 4.7% in last month’s assessment. In 2020, the US economic growth forecast is revised up to minus 4.2% y-o-y, followed by a downwardly revised growth of 3.9% in 2021.

World Oil Demand

In 2020, world oil demand is estimated to decline by 9.5 mb/d y-o-y, relatively unchanged from last month’s assessment, reaching a level of 90.3 mb/d. In the OECD, demand growth is revised slightly lower by around 0.06 mb/d in 2020. This downward revision accounts for lower expectations for transportation fuel consumption in the US and parts of Europe in 2H20 following a weak summer driving season, which has more than offset a less-than-expected decline in 1H20 data, due to steady petrochemical feedstock demand in the US and increased heating fuel restocking in Europe.

World Oil Supply

The non-OPEC liquids supply forecast in 2020 is revised up by 0.31 mb/d from the previous month’s assessment, mostly due to a higher-than-expected recovery in US liquids production. Non-OPEC liquids supply is now estimated to contract by 2.4 mb/d y-o-y, to average 62.8 mb/d. Oil supply in 2020 is forecast to decline mainly in Russia with 1.1 mb/d, US with 0.7 mb/d, Canada, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Malaysia, and Azerbaijan, while it is projected to grow in Norway, Brazil, China, Guyana and Australia.

Product Markets and Refining Operations

In September, refining margins showed mixed results. In the Atlantic Basin, product markets benefited from refinery run cuts, despite weakness coming from the middle of the barrel due to high gasoil availability, amid more stringent lockdown measures, as COVID-19 infection rates continued rising. In the US, the landfall of Hurricane Laura in early September affected several refinery operations, while maintenance-related shutdowns in Europe led to a relatively tighter gasoline market in both regions. In Asia, growing product surplus continued to pressure product markets, outweighing all gains from healthy gasoline demand in India, but refinery intakes within the region remained strong.

Product exports returned above 1 mb/d in August, with gasoil and fuel oil outflows increasing from the low levels seen the month before. Following seven months of consecutive declines, India’s crude imports increased in August, averaging 3.6 mb/d, as refiners returned to the market after drawing down high inventories in the previous two months. However, refinery runs and product demand remain weak, amid continued lockdown measures.

Tanker Market

Dirty tanker rates remained weak in September, as tonnage demand was weak and the unwinding of floating storage increased availability. After three spectacular quarters in 2020, ship owners are expecting a slow fourth quarter for tanker demand and an uncertain outlook for the coming year. Clean tanker rates have seen some pick up as the easing of COVID-19 restrictions has revived some product trade flows.

Crude and Refined Products Trade

Preliminary data shows that US crude imports continued to slide, averaging 5.2 mb/d in September, the lowest since 1992. US crude exports in September rebounded after falling the month before to average 3 mb/d. Japan’s crude imports showed a recovery, averaging 2.4 mb/d in August, up from a low of 1.9 mb/d in June 2020, but well below the recent 3.1 mb/d peak seen in March. Product imports also remained relatively healthy in August, up 11% m-o-m.

Commercial Stock Movements

Preliminary August data showed that total OECD commercial oil stocks fell by 20.7 mb, m-o-m. At 3,204 mb, they were 226.8 mb higher than the same time one year ago and 219.3 mb above the latest five-year average. Within the components, crude stocks declined by 30.2 mb m-o-m, while product stocks increased by 9.4 mb, m-o-m. OECD crude stocks stood at 78.1 mb above the latest five-year average, while product stocks exhibited a surplus of 141.3 mb. In terms of days of forward cover, OECD commercial stocks fell by 1.3 days, m-o-m, in August to stand at 71.9 days. This was 9.6 days above the August 2019 level, and 9.1 days above the latest five-year average.

Balance of Supply and Demand

Demand for OPEC crude in 2020 is revised down by 0.3 mb/d from the previous month’s assessment to stand at 22.4 mb/d, around 7.0 mb/d lower than in 2019. Similarly, demand for OPEC crude in 2021 is revised down by 0.2 mb/d from the previous month’s assessment to stand at 27.9 mb/d, around 5.6 mb/d higher than in 2020.

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