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OPEC sees most of 2021 oil demand recovery in H2 as COVID-19 impact lingers

  • "Total oil demand is foreseen to reach 96.3 million bpd with most consumption appearing in the second half," OPEC said in the report.
  • "This year's demand growth will not be able to compensate for the major shortfall from 2020 as mobility is forecast to remain impaired throughout 2021."
Published March 11, 2021

LONDON: OPEC said on Thursday a recovery in oil demand will be focused on the second half of the year as the impact of the pandemic lingers as a headwind for the group and its allies in supporting the market.

In a monthly report, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said demand will rise by 5.89 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2021, or 6.5%, up slightly from last month. But the group cut its forecasts for the first half.

"Total oil demand is foreseen to reach 96.3 million bpd with most consumption appearing in the second half," OPEC said in the report.

"This year's demand growth will not be able to compensate for the major shortfall from 2020 as mobility is forecast to remain impaired throughout 2021."

The latest forecasts could bolster cautious views among OPEC and its allies, known as OPEC+, on how quickly to unwind more of last year's record oil output cuts. OPEC+ last week decided to mostly extend current cuts into April.

OPEC raised its forecast of world economic growth this year to 5.1% from 4.8%, although it sees the pandemic's impact lingering in the first half.

The report also showed lower OPEC oil output in February as most OPEC+ members returned to output restraint and Saudi Arabia pledged a voluntary cut of 1 million bpd in February and March, which last week was extended into April.

OPEC said its output fell by 650,000 bpd to 24.85 million bpd, driven by the Saudi cut.

Riyadh told OPEC it made almost all of the reduction, lowering production by 956,000 bpd to 8.147 million bpd.

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