After a strong initial rebound from the depths of the pandemic-induced slump, the comeback in demand slowed dramatically, as I’ve written here and here. This is most obvious in those countries that publish detailed data at high frequency, such as the U.S., the U.K. and some other European nations.
That oil demand in India remains muted is particularly bad news for those wishing oil prices higher. Before Covid-19 struck, it had joined China as one of the major centers of growth in liquid fuel consumption. Sales of transport fuels by the country’s three biggest fuel retailers — Indian Oil Corp., Bharat Petroleum Corp. and Hindustan Petroleum Corp. — were still down year-on-year by more than 20% in July and August.
The one potential bright spot is China, which may yet prove a lifeline for the flagging demand. July’s apparent oil use in the world’s biggest importer was up by a