Despite the global economic recession, preliminary data suggest oil demand remains rather resilient. According to the latest reported information from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), Global Petroleum Consumption is down one percent y/y in 2008 while China and India show increases of 4% and 5%, respectively. However, current data through September 2009, show oil demand fell quite precipitously in the US. Through September 2009, oil consumption is down over two million barrels per day form the 2007 annual average (an 11% decline). Most of the change in oil consumption is cyclical and with an economic recovery expected, oil demand should rebound and perhaps drive prices higher.
Figure 1 US Average Annual Oil Consumption
Historically, the US has seen this type of demand erosion before. From 1979 to 1983, oil demand in the US declined 28% with annualized rate of a 10% decline per year. Over this same period, oil prices actual rose despite the fall in demand. Oil prices by barrel (42 US gallons) rose from $3.60 in 1972 to $25.10 in 1979. Oil prices are up significantly in 2009. In January 2009, oil was traded at $33.07 a barrel and in January 2010, oil is trading at 2010 Oil prices $78.00 per barrel.
On a global basis, oil demand has only contracted by one percent in 2008, the latest data from the IEA. Despite the fall out in US oil demand, global markets driven from demand from China and India, has kept the global demand for oil relatively stable.
Figure 2 Global Oil Demand
The growing demand for oil from China and India increased their respective share of the global oil markets from 3% and 1%, respectively in 1980 to over 9% and 3% in 2008. At the same time, the US share of global oil consumption has declined from 27% in 1980 to under 23% in 2008. See Figure 3 China and India Oil Demand.
Figure 3 China and India Oil Demand
The bottom line is that as financial growth emerges across the globe, oil demand should increase commensurately and with oil process already at elevated levels, further prices increases are expected. – demand for oil will increase and so will oil prices.