A number of oil stocks were down in pre-market trading Tuesday, including integrated majors ExxonMobil (XOM - Get Report) and Chevron (CVX - Get Report) , after the International Energy Agency reported a more bearish stance on the commodity.
Global oil demand growth is slowing at a faster pace than the IEA anticipated, the agency said Tuesday in its September oil market report.
Due to a "more pronounced" demand slowdown in the third quarter, the IEA said Tuesday it now expects demand to increase by 1.3 million barrels per day in 2016, versus its previous estimate of a 1.4 mb/d uptick.
Moreover, the agency sees momentum pulling back further to 1.2 million barrels per day in 2017, citing uncertain underlying macroeconomic conditions.
This will reflect poorly in the near term on the stocks of U.S. oil producers like Anadarko Petroleum (APC) , Diamondback Energy (FANG - Get Report) and Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD - Get Report) , among others, who have been levering up their balance sheets in recent months to scoop up attractive properties in hopes of kicking into a higher gear in 2017.
But will the news dampen domestic operators spirits for 2017 and beyond? According to Barclays analysts, it seems unlikely.
Barclays Thomas R. Driscoll, Jeffrey W. Robertson and Oswald Cheung wrote in a Tuesday report that oil inventory has expanded rather than contracted as technology and greater efficiencies have driven costs for producers down.
U.S. exploration and production companies are developing far more oil for less capital since oil supply costs have come down across the board, the firm said.
And volume growth will likely resume if oil averages more than $50 in 2017, according to Driscoll and company. The firm also sees oil supply costs falling further in 2017, "as modest oil service price increases will likely be offset by continued technology progress."
Still, Tuesday's pre-market movement illustrates economic data continues to weigh heavily on the minds of those betting for or against the commodity and its producers.
Tudor, Pickering, Holt analysts wrote late last week after two agencies reported near record draw downs on domestic stockpiles that the market will continue to hinge on datapoints through the fall season, and said this week's reports will be "must-see TV."
The American Petroleum Institute reported an oil draw down of 12 million barrels last week, while the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a 14.5 million reduction in stockpiles.
But as refinery activities reached a summer peak, the IEA said Tuesday crude oil stockpiles were indeed refusing to decline until an "exceptional storm-related draw" hit the U.S. last week. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development saw total inventories build by 32.5 million barrels in July to a new record of 3.1 billion barrels, according to the IEA.
The agency also said that an "anaemic outlook" for refining throughput extends further hand-in-hand with the downward revision to its second half demand forecast. The Paris-based agency said refinery runs in 2016 are set to grow at the lowest rate in a decade.
Still, giving credit to Barclays' thoughts, the IEA expects non-OPEC output to return to growth in 2017 after all, predicting a 320,000 barrel per day uptick in production after output declined 840,000 barrels per day this year.
In the meantime, the market will likely continue to closely follow news concerning the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which is expected to convene next week to possibly discuss some form of production cap.
But if the so-called oil cartel intends to slow down its pace, it showed no signs of it in August when its crude output edged up to 33.47 million barrels per day in August, a near-record level, according to the IEA.
Now traders will turn to the American Petroleum Institute's Tuesday oil inventory report to determine whether or not last week's larger-than-expected draw down was a hurricane-induced fluke.