Global demand for road fuels hit a two-month high last week, recovering from the slowdown in October and November when many countries in Europe imposed lockdowns for a second time this year, according to various data points about road use, traffic jams, and road freight services tracked by Bloomberg.
Last week, global road usage was 24 percent below the typical levels before the pandemic, but this was an improvement from the road travel and freight transportation in the middle of November, when road usage was 30 percent below pre-COVID levels, according to Bloomberg’s analysis.
Traffic and fuel use in Asia is strong, while demand is also ticking up in Europe, where several countries, including the UK, ended nationwide lockdowns earlier this month.
According to Bloomberg’s traffic and road usage data, global oil demand recovery is on a three-speed road—Asian demand is the strongest, followed by Europe and the Americas.
In Asia, fuel demand in the world’s top oil importer, China, is nearly back to pre-crisis levels, as is the one in India, the third-biggest importer of oil in the world.
Earlier this week, Indian Oil Corp, the biggest refiner in the country, said its refineries operated at 100-percent capacity in November, for the first time since the pandemic started, in order to meet growing domestic fuel demand.
Oil demand in Asia, particularly China, has been strong in recent weeks, supporting the market while major economies in Europe were on lockdown again in October and November. The second lockdowns, however, did not hit oil demand nearly as badly as the initial lockdowns did in April and May.
Strong demand from Asia and vaccine approvals in the UK and Canada sent Brent Crude prices above the $50 a barrel mark on Thursday. This was the first time Brent had hit $50 since the first days of March, when Saudi Arabia and Russia broke up the previous OPEC+ pact, contributing to massive slides in oil prices exacerbated by the demand crash in the lockdowns in the spring.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:
- Oil Wells On Fire After Attack On Iraqi Oilfield
- Oil Market Hopeful As Vaccinations Begin
- Finding A Way Around The World's Largest Oil Chokepoint