Oil Rebounds On Strong China Data, Demand Recovery Outlook From UAE

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Tuesday October 13, 2020

Strong economic data released on Tuesday outweighed the fears of crude analysts that demand recovery is in jeopardy due to rising Covid infections and resulting government lockdowns - and as a result, oil prices jumped nearly 2 percent.

Customs data showed that China, the world's top crude importer, took in 11.8 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil in September, up 5.5 percent from August and up 17.5 percent from a year earlier.

September's figure were just shy of China's record high level of 12.94 million bpd set in June, and this caused Paola Rodriguez-Masiu, senior oil markets analyst at Rystad Energy, to remark, "Oil prices, which suffered quite a blow the previous day, were looking for a bright spot and Tuesday offered just that."

Brent settled up 82 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $42.55 per barrel; West Texas Intermediate settled up 96 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $40.36 per barrel.

Also supporting prices was the latest World Energy Outlook from the International Energy Agency, which acknowledged that a vaccine and therapeutics for Covid-19 could mean the global economy rebounds in 2021 and energy demand recovers by 2023.

As for more immediate demand recovery, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in its monthly report forecast demand to rise by 6.54 million bpd next year to 96.84 million bpd - 80,000 bpd less than expected a month ago due to social restrictions being tightened in Britain and the Czech Republic.

Still, OPEC has no intentions of cancelling a tapering in of the record oil output cuts it made this year, and Suhail al-Mazrouei, energy minister for the United Arab Emirates, explained why: "We believe that this is the calculated volume to cater for the demand coming back."

Further rare optimism was expressed on Tuesday by Amin Nasser, chief executive of state-owned Saudi Aramco; he told media that "the worst is definitely behind us" for the oil market because global oil demand is recovering and now stands at 90 million bpd.

Nasser added that demand in China is almost back to its pre-Covid levels.