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US EIA cuts 2020 oil demand growth outlook to 370,000 b/d on coronavirus

  • Author
  • Meghan Gordon
  • Editor
  • Jonathan Dart
  • Commodity
  • Oil

Washington — The US Energy Information Administration on Wednesday slashed another 660,000 b/d off its outlook for 2020 global oil demand growth, now predicting growth of 370,000 b/d from 2019.

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Most of the reduction was in Chinese demand, where EIA cut expected growth for 2020 to 100,000 b/d, down from 500,000 b/d in January.

"EIA also made significant downward revisions to the demand forecasts for Japan, South Korea and Italy," it said in the Short-Term Energy Outlook.

In January, EIA had predicted 2020 global oil demand growth of 1.34 million b/d, before the coronavirus outbreak became severe in China and started spreading globally.

Travel restrictions, social distancing and supply-chain impacts have forced agencies and analysts to make sharp cuts to projected 2020 oil demand growth, with some now predicting the first contraction since 2009.

The International Energy Agency said Monday it expects 2020 demand to shrink by 90,000 b/d from 2019.

OPEC said earlier Monday that it expects 2020 oil demand to grow by just 60,000 b/d.

S&P Global Platts Analytics has a current base case of 240,000 b/d of oil demand growth in 2020 but a worst-case "global epidemic" scenario that would cause oil demand to contract by 975,000 b/d from 2019, head of refining and demand analytics Claudio Galimberti said.

"The reason we called it 'global epidemic' and not pandemic has to do with the fact that we assumed this virus would hit different regions of the world at different times: Europe and Middle East in March, Americas in April and the rest of the world in May," he said.

Galimberti said the projection assumes it takes three months for a region to recover fully.