- Global oil demand has been hit hard by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) and the widespread shutdown of China’s economy. Demand is now expected to fall by 435 kb/d y-o-y in 1Q20, the first quarterly contraction in more than 10 years. We have cut our 2020 growth forecast by 365 kb/d to 825 kb/d, the lowest since 2011. Lower-than-expected consumption in the OECD trimmed 2019 growth to 885 kb/d.
- The coronavirus outbreak has also led us to revise down the outlook for global refinery runs. Chinese crude throughputs for 1Q20 have been cut by 1.1 mb/d and are now expected to contract by 0.5 mb/d year-on-year. As a result, global runs are forecast to expand by just 0.7 mb/d in 2020. The launch of IMO’s new bunker fuel regulations in January boosted simple refining margins based on sweet crudes.
- Global oil supply slumped by 0.8 mb/d in January to 100.5 mb/d. A blockade in Libya slashed production and the UAE saw output fall by 0.3 mb/d. World oil output was largely unchanged on a year ago as lower supply from OPEC was offset by a 2.1 mb/d increase in non-OPEC production. The call on OPEC crude plunges to 27.2 mb/d in 1Q20, which is 1.7 mb/d below the group’s January production of 28.86 mb/d.
- OECD industry stocks held largely steady in December at 2 915 mb as a build in product inventories more than offset lower crude holdings. Total oil stocks stood 26.4 mb above the five-year average and covered 61 days of forward demand. Preliminary data for January show inventories building in the US and Japan while falling in Europe. Short-term floating storage of crude oil built 7.7 mb in January to 76.2 mb, most of which is Iranian oil.
- Crude oil futures tumbled by $10/bbl during January in anticipation of a negative impact on demand from Covid-19. The price of grades from the Middle East, North Sea and West Africa, popular with Chinese refiners, fell while the Libyan outage was supportive for alternative crudes from Algeria and Azerbaijan. The coronavirus also weighed on product cracks, in particular jet/kerosene, although reports of Chinese run cuts provided support.
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