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Global Oil Use Heads for Record Annual Drop as Virus Spreads

  • Government action to stop travel and socializing cuts demand
  • Analysts say this year could see bigger drop than in 1980
Oil pumping jacks, also known as "nodding donkeys", stand in an oilfield near Almetyevsk, Tatarstan, Russia.

Oil pumping jacks, also known as "nodding donkeys", stand in an oilfield near Almetyevsk, Tatarstan, Russia.

Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg
Updated on

Global oil consumption is in free-fall, heading for the biggest annual contraction in history, as more countries introduce unprecedented measures to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

Travel bans, work-from-home, canceled vacations and disrupted supply chains all mean reduced demand for fuel. As societies respond to the virus, oil demand -- already hammered by China’s decision to shut down swathes of the economy -- is falling further. Oil traders, executives, hedge fund managers and consultants are revising down their forecasts dramatically.