Global oil demand will exceed pre-pandemic levels this year thanks to growing Covid-19 immunization rates and as recent virus waves haven’t proved severe enough to warrant a return to strict lockdown measures, the International Energy Agency said Wednesday.
In its monthly oil market report, the IEA hiked its oil demand growth forecast for the coming year by 200,000 barrels a day, to 3.3 million barrels a day. The Paris-based agency also raised its demand growth forecasts for 2021 by 200,000 barrels a day to 5.5 million barrels a day.
Factoring in the IEA’s more optimistic forecasts are signs that recent coronavirus variants have been faster spreading but less fatal, helping boost global economic resilience to the virus, and allowing states to continue on a path of gradually winding down lockdown restrictions.
“The number of Covid cases is exploding world-wide but measures taken by governments to contain the virus are less severe than during earlier waves and their impact on economic activity and oil demand remain relatively subdued,” the IEA said.