Global oil demand may be a bit lower this year than previously thought, weighed down by weaker consumption rates in emerging markets. The International Energy Agency lowered its demand growth projection for 2019 by 90,000 barrels per day to 1.3 million barrels per day (mb/d). It also revised down its 2018 demand figure by 70,000 bpd to 1.2 mb/d.
The agency said that the dip is likely temporary, and demand should pick up over the course of the year. The first quarter may be chalked up to a “tough quarter rather than the start of a new trend,” the IEA said. But the lower demand figure ultimately meant that the global oil market was in surplus in the first quarter by about 0.7 mb/d, a larger glut than expected.
“As we move through 2Q19, while there is considerable uncertainty on the supply side, it is highly likely that the implied balance will flip into an indicative deficit of about the same size,” the IEA said in its report. “Stocks in the OECD at the start of April have fallen back to the level seen in July in terms of days of forward cover and other stock indicators are pointing in the same direction.”