The OPEC+ joint technical committee has kept its forecast for growth in global oil demand this year, but is concerned about surging COVID-19 cases in India and elsewhere, three sources from the producer group told Reuters.
In its most recent monthly oil market report, OPEC raised its forecast for global oil demand growth by 70,000 bbl/d to 5.95 million bbl/d.
“Demand growth is still at 6 million bbl/d for 2021,” one of the sources said.
The joint technical committee meeting also expressed concern about rising COVID-19 cases in India, Japan and Brazil, the sources added.
Oil prices fell on April 26 on fears that rising COVID-19 infections in India will dent fuel demand in the world's third-biggest oil importer.
India, which has set a world record in daily COVID-19 cases, ordered its armed forces on April 26 to help tackle surging new infections that are overwhelming hospitals.
The joint technical committee usually reviews market fundamentals and monitors compliance with the group’s oil production cuts.
Compliance levels for March were calculated at 113%, unchanged from levels in February, OPEC+ sources told Reuters last week.
While some analysts have said oil demand may never reach pre-pandemic levels, Goldman Sachs said it expected this by the end of the year and predicted Brent would hit $80 and WTI $77 within six months.
The gloomy forecast will falter if COVID-19 passes quickly and the global economy recovers its appetite for hydrocarbons.
Crude stocks at the Cushing, Okla., delivery hub for U.S. crude futures rose by 1.8 million barrels to 47.8 million barrels, their highest since December 2017, the EIA data revealed.