SINGAPORE/LONDON/NEW YORK- Major oil industry producers and traders are forecasting a bleak future for worldwide fuel demand, due to the coronavirus pandemic’s ongoing assault on the global economy.
The novel coronavirus hammered fuel demand in the spring, causing consumption to drop by more than one-third as billions of people worldwide restricted their movements.
Consumption rebounded in the summer, but some countries where infections were under control are seeing a resurgence in the deadly virus, sparking waves of lockdowns that could hamper the recovery.
“Risks remain elevated and skewed to the downside, particularly in relation to the development of COVID-19 infection cases and potential vaccines,” said the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, in its monthly report released on Monday.
The virus has infected more than 29 million people, with roughly 925,000 deaths in roughly nine months, according to Reuters data. Several companies are working on a vaccine, but it is likely months away from mass distribution, and it is unclear how effective any vaccine will be in preventing future outbreaks.
OPEC cut its outlook for demand in 2020, saying world oil demand would fall by 9.46 million barrels per day (bpd) this year, an increase of 400,000 bpd from its previous report. It cut its outlook for Asian countries beyond China.