IEA Cuts 2018 Oil Demand Forecast On Soaring Oil Prices

Yesterday, we observed that in logical consequence to sharply higher interest rates, US consumer loan demand had slumped in recent weeks, despite increasingly easy credit conditions: an outcome which for many economists is a harbinger to an upcoming recession, as households hunker down and begin to deleverage.

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Now, following a similar causal chain, this morning the International Energy Agency also cut forecasts for global oil demand growth in 2018 due to oil's recent price surge, as the highest prices in three years put a brake on consumption. As a result, the agency trimmed its 2018 world demand growth projection by 40,000 barrels a day to 1.4 million a day, projecting total consumption at 99.2 million barrels a day, down from 99.3mmb/d, still higher than the 97.8mmbpd global oil demand in 2017.

“The recent jump in oil prices will take its toll,” said the Paris-based agency, which serves as an advisor to most major economies on energy policy. Crude has jumped 17% this year, trading near $78 a barrel in London on Wednesday, and approaching the stated Saudi target of $80/barrel at which point the Aramco IPO once again becomes feasible.

As one would expect, the demand forecast by the IEA - which is not a cartel of oil producers and is therefore less biased - differs greatly from the forecast by OPEC - which is a cartel of oil producers and therefore is programmed to see only the best possible outcome no matter how high the price. As shown in the chart below, whereas the IEA demand forecast topped out, that of OPEC sees nothing but blue skies ahead.

The IEA commented on the 16-month campaign by OPEC and its allies to slash a global oil glut, which the agency said had been finally successful, with inventories falling below their five-year average for the first time since 2014. Markets are set to tighten further as output sinks in the economic disaster that is Venezuela and the U.S. re-imposes sanctions on Iran.

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