- OPEC: Oil Demand Will Increase by 6 Million Barrels Per Day
- U.S. Inflation at its Peak of 2.5 Years
- E.U. Plans for Covid Passport
OPEC: Oil Demand Will Increase by 6 Million Barrels Per Day
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) announced that global oil demand would be 96 million 500 thousand barrels this year, increasing approximately by 6 million barrels daily compared to last year.
According to OPEC’s oil market report for March, the forecast for the increase in demand stems from strong economic recovery expectations.
The economic recovery, which is expected to positively affect oil demand in the second half of the year, is expected to be supported by the spread of vaccination studies for the outbreak and economic support packages, and mitigation of measures for the epidemic.
It is estimated that fuel consumption will be the main factor in the recovery in demand with the start of the summer season, where vehicles’ use is expected to increase.
On the other hand, it is predicted that the risk level will remain high throughout the year in the markets, depending on the developments in the epidemic and the speed of reaching the herd immunity targets.
Factors such as developments in labor markets, the structural impact of the epidemic on demand, new energy policies, and the effectiveness of large-scale monetary and fiscal stimulus measures are expected to further affect oil demand in the short term.
Oil futures rose on Tuesday, with U.S. prices topping $60 a barrel, after an OPEC monthly study predicting an increase in economic activity and oil demand, aided by the United States’ $1.9 trillion Covid aid package and vaccine rollout, helped boost crude market sentiment.
OPEC also raised its forecast for global economic growth to 5.4% from 5.1%.
U.S. Inflation at its Peak of 2.5 Years
The consumer price index for March was announced in the U.S. Consumer prices hit the highest level since August 2018, driven by Joe Biden’s support checks in March. In March, consumer prices in the country increased by 0.6% on a monthly basis.
The expectation of economists who participated in the Bloomberg survey was that consumer prices in the country increased by 0.5% on a monthly basis in March. In February, monthly inflation in the country was recorded as 0.4 %. Almost half of the March inflation was due to the increase in fuel prices.
Annual inflation exceeded the Federal Reserve’s 2% target, reaching 2.6% in March. The expectation for this data was 2.5%. In February, the annual increase in consumer prices in the U.S. was 1.7%.
The Federal Reserve cut its main interest rate near zero a year ago and has indicated that it will not begin raising rates until inflation rises above its 2% goal on a sustained basis. According to current predictions, the Fed’s first-rate hikes are not expected until after 2023.
In March, consumer prices excluding food and energy in the country increased by 0.3 % on a monthly basis. Economists expected this data to be 0.2%.
On an annual basis, consumer prices excluding food and energy increased by 1.6% in March. Economists who participated in the Bloomberg survey expected that the annual core inflation would be 1.5%.
President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion coronavirus support package in March, and the distribution of aid checks to citizens began in the days following the package’s approval. In the USA, the Joe Biden administration announced that more than 150 million aid checks worth $372 billion were distributed as of the first week of April.
To calm financial markets amid concerns about increasing interest rates, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has been warning for weeks that inflation figures will rise this spring but that the increase will only be temporary.
E.U. Plans for Covid Passport
The E.U.’s so-called “Covid passport” – the Digital Green Certificate – to travel freely during the pandemic should be ready for use from the end of June, according to Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders.
European Union (E.U.) Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said in a statement that the E.U. is trying to revive the travel sector, which has been damaged by the pandemic, with the Covid-19 travel document.
Didier Reynders explained to the union’s country representatives that the Covid-19 travel document proposed by the E.U. will contain vaccination and testing information of passengers and will be valid until the end of the epidemic is declared by the World Health Organization (WHO). Reynders stated that they aim to facilitate free movement with this document and provide the necessary confidence to the member states.
Reynders clarified that the Certificate is not a “vaccination passport” as being vaccinated alone does not give people the right to travel freely. Reynders emphasized that the passport application would discriminate against those who cannot obtain the vaccine.
The Certificate would constitute proof that a person has been either vaccinated against Covid-19, received a negative test result, or already recovered from the disease. The document should be free and available in digital or paper format.
Reynders submitted the Commission’s proposal to the European Parliament on Tuesday and announced that a pilot phase to test the Certificate’s use would begin in early June. He also emphasized that the Digital Green Certificate would adhere to privacy regulations, which has been a source of concern among member states.
According to Reynders, the Certificate is based on the concept of “data minimization,” which means it will only collect personal data that is strictly necessary.