The rebound in global oil demand is set to accelerate in the second half of 2021 as the world continues to burn through the supply glut it accrued last year, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said Thursday.
In its monthly market report, OPEC highlighted data showing that the crude inventories of the world’s developed countries had slipped to around 34 million barrels above the average level for 2015-19.
The Vienna-based organization’s technical committee has said in recent weeks that it expects the world’s crude stocks to fall below the five-year average in the second half of the year. OPEC’s report on Thursday confirmed its expectations that vaccination rollouts, stimulus measures and pent-up demand will add momentum to a resurgence in oil demand.
That outlook recently prompted the cartel to continue relaxing curbs on oil production put in place last year when the world was close to running out of places to store excess crude when pandemic restrictions hammered demand.
Rising consumption of transportation fuels like gasoline mean oil demand will increase to 99 million barrels a day in the second half of 2021, a 5% increase on its level in the first six months of the year, OPEC said. Demand in the fourth quarter is expected to be 99.82 million barrels a day, just 150,000 barrels below 2019’s pre-pandemic average.