Global oil markets are heading towards a long-awaited equilibrium, according to updated supply and demand data from the International Energy Agency (IEA).
The IEA report is coming at a time the price of OPEC basket of fourteen crudes stood at between $43.19 a barrel and $43.22, according to OPEC Secretariat calculations
The IEA said in its latest oil market report that a rebalancing of supply and demand was beginning to become evident from the existing supply and demand data which showed that global oil supply was starting to look more measured. Demand was resilient and a surplus of oil could start to shrink later this year, it added.
“Global oil supplies rose 250,000 barrels a day in April to 96.2 million barrels a day (mb/d) as higher Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC output more than offset deepening non-OPEC declines,” the IEA said in its monthly report.
It however noted that year-on-year, “world output grew by just 50,000 barrels a day in April versus gains of more than 3.5 million barrels a day a year ago” and noted that 2016 non-OPEC supply is forecast to drop by 800,000 barrels a day to 56.8 mb/d. Despite the higher output from the 12-country OPEC group, the IEA noted that falling non-OPEC supply and rising demand could cause oil stock growth to decline in the latter half of the year helping the supply and demand dynamic and crucially, oil prices to return to a more stable footing.
“The net result of our changes to demand and supply data is that we expect to see global oil stocks increase by 1.3 million barrels a day (mb/d) in the first half of 2016, followed by a dramatic reduction in the second half of 2016 to 0.2 mb/d.”
The IEA’s Oil Industry and Markets Head Neil Atkinson said that the expected decline in the growth of global oil stocks pointed towards a rebalancing in markets.
“The point being that we have the direction of travel towards balance and a big factor in the change in the stock-build picture between the two halves (of the year) is the major fall-off in production in the non-OPEC countries as a whole.”
“The market is very forward-looking and as it looks through the second half of 2016 and into the early part of 2017 there is a growing expectation that the market will, if not actually balance, certainly get very close to balance.”
Before investors got too excited, however, Atkinson stressed that global oil stocks remained “enormous” and would time to run-down.
“The problem we’ve got is that if you want to see higher oil prices in the rest of 2016, what you need to remember is that oil stocks are at very, very high levels – even if they’re going to grow by a very small amount compared to what we’ve seen and they’re not likely to start falling until 2017. So there’s a big buffer or big dampener on prospective rise in oil prices by the fact that these enormous stocks do exist and will exist for some time to come,” he said.
The IEA noted that oil stocks in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD, which includes most European nations, Australia and the U.S.) declined for the first time in a year in February, lending support to the view that “the global supply surplus of oil will shrink dramatically later this year.”