Economic growth is feeding through into a faster than expected increase in oil demand in the coming months, with incomplete figures for June suggesting consumption grew by about 3.1 million barrels, year-on-year, the biggest gain in almost two years.
Early data, from Goldman Sach's "Oil Demand Tracker" report, indicates that oil demand growth has accelerated in the past few months in both emerging and developed economies, prompting the investment bank to speculate that growth in demand could surprise on the upside over the second half.
"Our 2H17 $52/bbl Brent and 3.7% yoy global real GDP growth forecasts lead us to forecast demand growth of 1.60 mb/d in the second half," the report noted. "With recent activity and oil demand levels surprising us to the upside, we view the risks to our above consensus 1.63 mb/d annual demand growth forecast as skewed to the upside."
Brent Crude futures for delivery in October traded Monday, August 14, at $52.07, marginally lower on the day, but up $3.16 or 6.5% over the past month. U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate futures for September were also marginally lower on Monday at $48.78.
Goldman's bullish demand assessment was supported on Friday by the International Energy Agency, which said it expected 2017 oil demand growth to weigh in at 1.5 million barrels per day, up from an earlier forecast of 1.4 million barrels per day.
"We believe that the biggest driver for this robust demand is strong economic growth in recent months," noted Goldman "While strong activity indicators earlier this year were mostly confined to survey data and in the case of oil further undermined by warm winter weather, our economists' Current Activity Indicators have continued to show broad based acceleration in the real activity indicators in both EM and DM economies."
Demand growth in emerging markets is being driven by increased spending on domestic gas and gasoline products, an indicator of increased consumer spending. Developed market demand was mainly coming from the industrial sector, which is likely to prove a leading indicator for consumer spending in western markets, according to Goldman.
The banks analysis was based on June demand data from the U.S., Japan, India, China, Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Spain and France, which together account for about 52% of global oil demand.
More of What's Trending on TheStreet: