The world’s appetite for crude oil will return to its pre-pandemic highs by the end of next year but low coronavirus vaccination rates in emerging economies are pushing the pandemic’s end date further away, the International Energy Agency said Friday.

In its market report, the energy watchdog said that while it expects global oil demand in 2022’s final quarter to hit 100.6 million barrels for the first time since late 2019, it was also slashing its forecast for resurgent demand in the second half of this year.

The IEA said the world will want approximately 300,000 barrels a day of crude less than previously thought in this year’s final two quarters because of slow vaccination campaigns in countries such as Brazil, India and Malaysia.

“The uneven distribution of vaccines at the global level means that this situation could persist in the second half of 2021 and into 2022, unless access to vaccines improves,” the IEA said. The report comes the day after a Wall Street Journal analysis showed that more people have died from Covid-19 already this year than in all of 2020.

At the same time, the world has finally burned off the glut of oil it built up when pandemic restrictions grounded flights and shut factories and restaurants last spring. After inventories threatened to exceed storage in the first half of 2020, developed-world oil stocks fell in May to below their pre-pandemic five-year average for the first time in more than a year, hitting their lowest since February 2020, the IEA said.


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