Donald Trump is not going to like this.
Less than 48 hours after suggesting production cuts are in the cards, OPEC slashed demand estimates for the cartel’s crude.
“Demand for OPEC-15 crude in 2019 was revised down by 0.3 mb/d compared to the previous report to stand at 31.5 mb/d, which is around 1.1 mb/d lower than the 2018 level”, OPEC’s monthly report, released on Tuesday, reads. The cartel goes on to say that “compared with the last MOMR, 1Q19 and 2Q19 were revised down by 0.3 mb/d and 0.1 mb/d, respectively, and 3Q19 and 4Q19 were revised down by 0.4 mb/d and 0.2 mb/d, respectively.” The new demand forecast is well below current production levels.
Needless to say, less demand calls for less supply, especially at a time when supply jitters are contributing a deepening rout, which has seen prices plunge into a bear market and has WTI down for a record 12th consecutive session on Tuesday.
Unsurprisingly, the cartel revised up its estimates for non-OPEC supply growth thanks in large part to the U.S.
“Non-OPEC oil supply growth in 2019 was revised up by 0.12 mb/d to stand at 2.23 mb/d and is now forecast to reach an average of 62.09 mb/d, despite a downward reassessment of the oil supply forecasts for Canada, Mexico, Brazil and China”, the report reads. OPEC flags the U.S., Brazil, Canada and the UK as the drivers of supply growth, before adding that “there are many challenges and uncertainties with regard to the 2019 non-OPEC supply forecast, including oil transport infrastructure constraints in the U.S. and Canada.”
As far as global demand is concerned, OPEC says that for 2019, “projections for world oil demand growth are now pegged at 1.29 mb/d, which is 70 tb/d lower than last month.” The cartel cites “economic adjustments in the non-OECD region and, more generally, uncertainties regarding the overall global economic development.”
Of course demand forecasts could be cut further depending on the evolution of the global economy, which is still laboring under the threat of an all-out trade war. PMIs have rolled over of late indicating that the “synchronous global growth” narrative is dead and buried. Now, there’s talk of a “synchronized global slowdown.”
This comes amid renewed criticism from the U.S. President, who on Monday took to Twitter to effectively boycott the supply cuts proposed when OPEC+ met over the weekend. Today’s report only bolsters the case for those cuts, which in turn sets the stage for more hilarious Twitter banter from honorary OPEC Secretary General, and world-renowned commodities strategist Donald J. Trump.
Full OPEC monthly reportOPEC_MOMR_November_2018