Global oil demand is likely to increase slightly during 2020 as lockdowns are gradually eased around the world, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Better than expected mobility across the countries which form the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has also helped increase demand, it said.

The IEA has now revised upward its global oil demand outlook for 2020.

The organization now expects oil demand to fall by 8.6 million barrels per day in 2020 instead of 9.3 million barrels per day which was the estimate in its previous forecast, published in April.

This is still sharply down on demand from 2019 and marks a record drop in global oil demand.

“The gradual relaxation of restrictions on movement is helping demand. We estimate that from a recent peak of 4 billion, the number of people living under some form of confinement at the end of May will drop to about 2.8 billion worldwide,” the organization said in a report.
“Mobility still remains limited for many citizens, but businesses are starting to reopen gradually and people are returning to work, which will provide a boost to oil demand, albeit a modest one at first.”

The IEA noted that economic activity was beginning a gradual but fragile recovery but warned that major uncertainties remain.

“The biggest is whether governments can ease the lockdown measures without sparking a resurgence of Covid-19 outbreaks,” it said.