Monday, January 24, 2011

Crude Oil Demand

Global oil demand is back at a record high. It rose to 87.3mbd over the past 12 months through December, surpassing its previous record high during the summer of 2008. That’s a very impressive recovery from the 2009 cyclical low of 84.5mbd. Yet, the price of a barrel of crude oil remains well below its record high of $145.29 on July 3, 2008. That’s because the supply of crude oil also rose to a record high during December of last year. This happened with Saudi Arabia still producing less than it did during previous times when global oil demand was rising to new highs. In other words, the world’s swing producer still has plenty of excess capacity to stop oil prices from climbing above $100 and retesting the 2008 highs anytime soon. That is likely to change over the next 2-3 years as global oil demand continues to soar, especially among the emerging economies.

Oil demand in the New World now exceeds demand in the Old World by 29.1%. We track demand in the Old World countries of Japan, the US, and Europe versus the rest of the world, a.k.a. the New World. In the former, it just started to recover late last year, but remains near the lowest readings since the summer of 1994. The New World’s demand, which exceeded Old World oil usage for the first time on record in January 2005, now exceeds it by 11.1mbd, rising to a record high of 49.2mbd in December. (We update these charts monthly for our subscribers in our "Global Oil Demand & Supply.")


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