Goldman Sachs expects oil demand to fall by 10.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in March and possibly by as much as 18.7 million bpd in April, the Wall Street bank said in a note dated March 25.
“A demand shock of this magnitude will overwhelm any supply response including any potential core-Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries output freeze or cut,” the investment bank said.
Refiners across the world have been reducing operations as the spread of the coronavirus has led to steep falls in aviation and motor fuel demand.
“The scale of the demand collapse will require a large amount of production to be shut-in, of potential several million barrels per day,” the bank said, adding that such a hit on production would not likely be reversed quickly.
Oil prices fell on Thursday following three days of gains, with coronavirus travel bans and lockdowns offsetting hopes a $2 trillion U.S. stimulus package will shore up economic activity.
“Net, while we expect a further sharp sell-off in oil prices in coming weeks, we increasingly see risks that the rebound in prices will be much sharper than our base-case rally back to $40 per barrel Brent by fourth quarter of 2020,” the bank said.
Traders and analysts are scrambling to cut their forecasts for oil demand.