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Crude oil is feeling the effects of a new resurgence of Covid cases and a new round of pandemic related lockdowns, with the expected uptick in demand taking a further hit.
In the latest published report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) cut its already frugal forecast for demand in oil products in 2021 to 5.5 million barrels a day, 280,000 barrels down on their original estimates for the year.
The cuts are focused mainly on the first quarter with a forecast drop in demand of 600,000 barrels a day, falling to 300,000 barrels a day in the second quarter of the year.
The global pandemic is back with a vengeance, and despite vaccination programs already underway around the world, the number of new cases has continued to spiral. New strains of the virus have already prompted many countries to reinstate lockdowns and end travel and free movement. Travel to many destinations worldwide is subject to anything up to fourteen days of enforced isolation, making any recreational travel unfeasible, at best.
According to the Paris based IEA:
“Border closures, social distancing measures, and shutdowns, among other policies, will continue to constrain fuel demand until vaccines are more widely distributed, most likely only by the second half of the year.”
Increased demand for heating oil products on the back of record low temperatures in many parts of Europe and Asia has done little to counter the effects of the Covid restrictions. The IEA is downbeat on the impact of this rise in demand.
Demand for oil products had shown a marked increase, but as new strains of the Covid-19 virus were detected toward the end of the year, oil demand spiraled downward.
The International Energy Agency’s views mirror comments made by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). They agreed earlier in the month to keep total output flat, with Saudi Arabia signaling their intention to trim an additional one million barrels a day from their output.
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