Global oil demand to slow despite China import gain
Global oil demand will only rise by 1.2 million barrels per day in 2017, compared with a 1.8 million increase in 2016, despite gains in Chinese consumption, the chief of the International Energy Agency said yesterday. Speaking on the sidelines of Singapore’s International Energy Week, the IEA’s executive director Fatih Birol said oil demand growth could weaken further if prices keep rising. International benchmark Brent crude oil futures have almost doubled from their January multiyear lows to more than $50 (Sh5,075) per barrel. Bicol said the slowdown in demand growth would likely mean that a re-balancing of oil markets in terms of supply and demand will not happen until the second half of 2017. “If there is an increase in the prices as a result of this (OPEC-led) intervention, we may well see a response from higher cost production,” Birol said.