Pouring cold water on yesterday’s optimistic demand forecast projected by OPEC, which projected global crude demand growth to rise by 1.5mm b/d in 2018, this morning the International Energy Agency warned that the crude oil price rally could be short-lived because, contrary to OPEC’s expectations, global oil demand will be weaker than expected this year and next. In its closely watched monthly oil report, the IEA cut its crude demand growth outlook by 100,000 barrels a day for 2017 and 2018, as the WSJ reported. The agency now expects demand to grow by 1.5 million barrels a day this year and 1.3 million barrels a day next year.
The IEA predicted that balances will likely show the crude market is oversupplied in Q4 2017 and the first half of 2018, with oil demand in 2017 at 97.7mmb/d, rising to 98.9 million in 2018. Meanwhile, non-OPEC Oil Supply is expected To rise by 700,000b/d In 2017 To 58.1mmb/d, and another 1.4 mmb/d in 2018 to 59.5mm b/d, led by shale output.
The IEA also noted that global oil inventories fell 63mm barrels In Q3, only second quarterly draw since 2014, with the call on OPEC crude seen at 32.6mmb/d in Q4, declining to 32.0mmb/d in Q1 2018.
However, “the highlight of the report was that they lowered their demand forecast,” said Jens Pedersen, senior analyst at Danske Bank. The report also cautioned that “if the geopolitical concerns calm down, then prices could fall down again, so on the margin it’s a tad bearish.”
The IEA noted that oil prices have risen roughly 20% since early September with Brent crude sustaining gains above $60 a barrel in recent weeks, on the back of supply disruptions and geopolitical tensions in the Middle East. But if those problems prove temporary, a “fresh look at the fundamentals” would likely show the “market balance in 2018 does not look as tight as some would like and there is not in fact a ‘new normal.’”
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