Morgan Stanley has raised its forecast for global oil demand for this year by 36%, citing China's economic reboot and higher demand for air travel.
The investment bank now expects oil demand this year to rise by 1.9 million bpd, up from an earlier forecast of demand growth amounting to 1.4 million bpd, Reuters reported, citing a note by Morgan Stanley analysts.
"Mobility indicators for China, such as congestion, have been rising steadily," the note said, adding that "flight schedules have firmed-up the outlook for jet fuel demand."
This may not lead to a substantial deficit in global oil markets, however, because the bank expects Russian supply to offset some of that demand.
Even so, oil markets are about to swing into a shortage in the second half of the year, pushing Brent crude prices to between $90 and $100 per barrel. This is a downward revision on earlier price forecasts by the bank's analysts, who expected Brent to hit $100 to $110 per barrel in the second half of the year.
"We previously estimated a ~1 mb/d year-on-year decline in 2023, which we moderate to 0.4 mb/d," they said about Russian oil production.
Russia said earlier this month it would cut oil production by half a million barrels from January levels in March in response to Western price caps, according to Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak.
Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs forecast that Brent crude may not hit $100 until the end of the year, revising earlier expectations of this happening a lot sooner, about mid-2023. The reasons for the revision that the bank's analysts cited were higher production in Russia and the United States that could push the market into a moderate surplus this year.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Moreover, all of them attribute this demand optimism mostly to China’s economic rebound which will account for 50% of demand growth or 1.15 million barrels a day (mbd) according to OPEC+’s forecast.
The fact that oil supply from Russia has been stronger than expected confirms the strength of demand.
In fact, Russia exported in January 8.2 mbd of crude and petroleum products. This was higher than both its average 7.8 mbd exports in 2022 and its pre-Ukraine exports of 8.0 mbd by 5.1% and 2.5% respectively.
Based on these positive forecasts, I expect Brent crude to hit $90 a barrel in the first half of 2023 and even touch $100 during the year.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Global Energy Expert