Paris: The International Energy Agency forecast on Thursday a 28-year record annual drop in world oil demand, saying that optimism for economic recovery had yet to spread to the key oil sector.
The agency further trimmed its forecast for 2009, which it estimated at 83.2 million barrels per day (bpd), three percent lower than last year, “and the sharpest single year’s fall since 1981,” in its monthly oil market report.
Last month it had estimated 2009 demand at 83.4 million bpd.
“Forecast global oil demand for 2009 has been revised down slightly (since last month) following weaker-than-expected preliminary data in various regions,” it said.
“Preliminary data for early 2009 suggest little upside for now in our demand assessment, even if broader market sentiment has become more optimistic,” the IEA said amid a background of emerging signals that green shoots of recovery are appearing in the global economy.
Despite oil prices strengthening to six-month highs around $60 this month, “new bullish macroeconomic sentiment has not yet produced signs of oil demand recovery and oil market fundamentals remain weak.”
According to the IEA’s latest data, demand for oil products plunged by 5.9% in North America and 7.6% in Asia, on a 12-month comparison in March. The fall in Europe was a “relatively modest” 0.3%.