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Global Oil Demand Hit Another Monthly Record in December

Global oil demand rose by more than 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) in December from November, for the eighth monthly record in 2023, the latest data by the Joint Organizations Data Initiative (JODI) showed on Tuesday.    

Rising demand in Asia more than offset declines in the United States and Europe in the last month of 2023, said JODI, which collects figures reported by individual countries.  

According to JODI’s database, oil demand rose by 541,000 bpd in December compared to November. The month-on-month oil demand increase was driven mostly by China, followed by Japan and India. These demand gains more than offset declines in the United States, Italy, and Germany, JODI’s data showed.

In fuels, global LPG demand rose to an all-time high in December while gasoline and diesel demand fell towards the five-year average.

In terms of global crude oil production, output rose slightly in December but fell by 300,000 bpd year-on-year, and was still marginally below the five-year average. Steep annual declines in output in Saudi Arabia – a drop of 1.5 million bpd – and Iraq were partially offset by a 1.1 million bpd output gain in the U.S. in December 2023 compared to December 2022, as well as from Canada and China, per JODI’s database.

Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s leader and the world’s top crude oil exporter, saw its production rise by 126,000 bpd month-on-month in December to 8.94 million bpd, while its crude exports fell by 28,000 bpd to 6.31 million bpd, the data showed.

Global crude inventories fell by 8 million barrels in December and were 275 million barrels below the five-year average, JODI said.

The drop in inventories and the strong demand – despite fears of the opposite – could further support oil prices this quarter, especially if the OPEC+ alliance decides to roll over all or part of the production cuts of 2.2 million bpd that are in place for the first quarter of 2024.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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