The IEA said economic concerns were overshadowing geopolitics, but the oil market continued to watch closely the tensions between the United States and Iran in the Gulf. -China trade war and a looming currency war rattled oil markets in the past week, and prices dropped on Wednesday to their lowest levels since January this year.
Despite the weekly decline, hedge funds boosted their net long U.S. crude futures and options positions in the week to August 6, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday.
The IEA trimmed its estimates for global oil demand growth in 2019 by 100,000 barrels a day to 1.1 million a day, implying a growth rate of about 1.1%.
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"The outlook is fragile with a greater likelihood of a downward revision than an upward one", the report said. For 2020, growth was predicted to be slightly down, by 50,000 barrels per day to 1.3 mbd. Consumption will expand by 1.6 million barrels a day in the second half, nearly three times the rate seen in the first.
However, the IEA was also quick to point out it would be a "temporary phenomenon" because its forecasts show very strong non-OPEC oil production growth next year likely to make the global oil market flooded with crude oil.
OPEC production fell by 0.2 million barrels per day in July and by 0.1 million per day in the ten nations included in the OPEC+ agreement. That's about 940,000 a day less than will be needed in the third quarter, and so should cause world oil stockpiles to contract, it predicted. In view of the sliding oil prices, Saudi Arabia has contacted other oil producers to discuss a potential oil strategy response to the slumping price of oil, a Saudi official told Bloomberg on Thursday.
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The IEA report indicates that next year Riyadh and its allies may indeed need to cut output further to keep supply and demand in balance.
Rystad Energy said the oil market was going "from gloomy to gloomier", calling into question the consultancy's own bullish view for the first part of 2020.
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