February 9, 2016 / 11:41 AM / 4 years ago

Vitol sees sharp slowdown in oil demand growth this year

LONDON, Feb 9 (Reuters) - The world’s top oil trader Vitol sees global oil demand growing by up to 1 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2016, sharply decelerating from last year as the effect of low oil prices fades.

Vitol executive member Chris Bake said at an industry conference in London the Swiss-based trader expects global oil demand to grow by 800,000 to 1 million bpd this year due to slowing demand in developing markets such as China and India.

Global demand grew by 1.6 million bpd last year as the sharp drop in oil prices since June 2014 sparked demand all around the world, particularly in the United States and Asia.

“I don’t think we can rely on low prices driving much incremental demand at this point,” Bake said at the IP Week conference.

Vitol’s latest forecast is significantly lower than the 1.35 million bpd made by its chief executive Ian Taylor in October.

It also contrasts with the International Energy Agency’s latest forecast for demand to grow by 1.2 million bpd.

The large oversupply in crude oil that has led prices to drop by around 70 percent to near $30 a barrel has caused a global stock build of 450 million barrels since 2014 which is set to rise by an additional 360 million barrels over the next 6 months, Bake said.

“Primary and secondary storage is now pretty much full,” he said. (Reporting by Karolin Schaps and Ron Bousso; Editing by Mark Potter)

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