COVID-19 results in a 20% decrease in oil demand so far

March 23, 2020
Last Updated:
March 23, 2020
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The oil industry is facing an unprecedented drop in demand as a result of the global measures against COVID-19. While it is too early to assess the impact properly, early indications by traders suggest a 20% drop in demand. The only other time with a demand decrease was in 1980, during the recession following the second oil crisis. That was "just" a mild 5% dent compared to current events. In a sense, the current demand decrease is a preview of demand projections for 2030 and beyond. As an example, Barclays projects a global peak in oil demand between 2030 and 2035 followed by a steady demand reduction. Clients should watch how oil companies respond, as it will reveal vulnerabilities to decreasing demand and consistently low prices.

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