LONDON, Sept 13 (Reuters) – OPEC cut its forecast for global oil demand for the final quarter of 2021 on Monday due to the Delta variant of the coronavirus, and said a further recovery would be partially delayed until next year, when the consumption will exceed pre-pandemic rates.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said in a monthly report that it expects oil demand to average 99.70 million barrels per day (bpd) in the fourth quarter of 2021, 110,000 bpd less than forecast. of last month.
“The increased risk of COVID-19 cases mainly driven by the Delta variant is clouding the oil demand outlook for the last quarter of the year,” the group said in the report.
“As a result, oil demand in the second half of 2021 has been adjusted slightly downward, partially delaying the recovery in oil demand until the first half of 2022.”
Governments, companies and operators are watching the speed at which oil demand recovers from last year’s slump. A faster rally could boost prices and challenge the view that the impact of the pandemic may hold back consumption for longer or forever.
Despite the fourth-quarter downward revision, OPEC said global oil demand in all of 2021 would rise by 5.96 million bpd, virtually unchanged from last month’s estimate.
The growth forecast for 2022 was adjusted to 4.15 million bpd, compared to 3.28 million bpd in last month’s report and an estimate of 4.2 million bpd provided by OPEC sources during the last group meeting on September 1.
“The pace of recovery in oil demand is now supposed to be stronger and take place mainly in 2022,” OPEC said. “As vaccination rates increase, the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to be better managed and economic activities and mobility to return firmly to pre-COVID-19 levels.”
(Edited in Spanish by Janisse Huambachano)