OPEC raises 2021 oil demand growth forecast on hope pandemic wanes

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LONDON: OPEC on Tuesday raised its forecast for growth in world oil demand this yr on expectations the pandemic will subside, offering assist for the group and its allies of their efforts to assist the market.

Demand will rise by 5.95 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2021, or 6.6%, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries forecast in its month-to-month report. That is up 70,000 bpd from final month.

“As the spread and intensity of the COVID-19 pandemic are expected to subside with the ongoing rollout of vaccination programmes, social distancing requirements and travel limitations are likely to be scaled back, offering increased mobility,” OPEC stated within the report.

The upward revision marks a change of tone from earlier months, by which OPEC has lowered demand forecasts due to continued lockdowns. An additional restoration may bolster the case for OPEC and its allies, often called OPEC+, to unwind extra of final yr’s document oil output cuts.

Oil gained additional in direction of $64 a barrel after the report was launched on Tuesday. Prices have risen to pre-pandemic highs above $70 this yr, boosted by anticipation of financial restoration and OPEC+ provide restraint.

OPEC made a small upward revision in its 2021 demand projection final month, however it has steadily lowered the forecast from 7 million bpd anticipated in July 2020.

The group raised its forecast of 2021 world financial growth to five.4% from 5.1%, assuming the influence of the pandemic is “largely contained” by the start of the second half of the yr.

“The global economic recovery continues, significantly supported by unprecedented monetary and fiscal stimulus,” OPEC stated. “The recovery is very much leaning towards the second half of 2021.”

OPEC OUTPUT RISES ON IRAN
OPEC+ agreed on April 1 to ease oil output cuts regularly from May, after the brand new U.S. administration known as on Saudi Arabia to maintain vitality reasonably priced for customers.

The report additionally confirmed greater OPEC oil output already as Iran, exempt from making voluntary cuts due to U.S. sanctions, pumped extra in March, driving a 200,000 bpd rise within the group’s output to 25.04 million bpd.

OPEC+ minimize provide by a document 9.7 million bpd final yr to assist the market as demand collapsed. Most of these curbs stay in place even after the April 1 choice. OPEC+ holds its subsequent coverage assembly on April 28.

Rival producers are additionally boosting provide, though OPEC left its forecast of non-OPEC output growth in 2021 regular at nearly 1 million bpd and nonetheless sees U.S. shale output, which regularly recovers in response to greater costs, declining.

With greater demand and regular non-OPEC provide, OPEC raised its estimate of world demand for its crude to 27.4 million bpd this yr, up 200,000 bpd from final month and permitting for greater common OPEC manufacturing in 2021.

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