‘Demand destruction has begun’, say JPMorgan analysts

Oil rallied an average of 28% last quarter, jumping to a 2023 high in September as OPEC+ output cuts and further supply restraints from Saudi Arabia and Russia created a deficit in the market.

With prices hovering close to $90 per barrel, expect oil demand to decline this quarter, JPMorgan analysts said in a recent client note.

“After reaching our target of $90 in September, our end-year target remains $86 [per barrel],” wrote Natasha Kaneva, head of global commodities strategy team at JPMorgan.

Kaneva says inventory draws seen during the summer will turn into a slight build in the final months of the year.

“Moreover, demand restraint from rising oil prices is once again becoming visible in the US, Europe, and some EM countries,” reads the note titled “Demand destruction has begun (again).”

“China and India drove global oil demand growth this year, but China opted to draw on domestic crude inventories in August and September after oil prices surged,” wrote the analysts.

Gas prices are seen at a Mobil gas station in Los Angeles on September 28, 2023. California gas prices are nearing USD $7 per gallon in some locations as oil prices surge toward $100 a barrel. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

Consumers may have met their pain threshold for gasoline, a derivative of oil. The price of gasoline hit a 2023 high in September amid a squeeze on oil supply.

There are already signs that consumers have responded by cutting back on fuel consumption,” wrote Kaneva and her team.

While US gasoline demand came in above the analysts’ forecast in the first half of the year, “the spike in gasoline prices in 3Q23 in turn depressed gasoline demand,” added Kaneva.

As for diesel, the note highlights the recent 30% price surge in prices is mostly felt by construction companies, transportation businesses and farmers, increasing the cost of freight and food production.

Jet fuel also rose in the third quarter, prompting warnings from United Airlines (UAL), Delta (DAL), American (AAL) and other airlines impacted by higher costs.

On Sept. 27th West Texas Intermediate (CL=F) surpassed $93 per barrel and Brent International (BZ=F) futures rose above $96 per barrel in new highs for the year.

Prices have pulled back since then. On Wednesday WTI futures fell more than 2.5% to trade above $86 per barrel. Brent also dropped by about the same amount, hovering above $88 per barrel.

Ines Ferre is a senior business reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @ines_ferre.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *