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What Are the Key Takeaways From IEA's Oil Market Report?

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The International Energy Agency (IEA) has lowered its oil demand growth forecast for 2024 by 140,000 barrels per day (bpd), citing weak consumption in developed economies. This adjustment takes the expected growth down to 1.1 million bpd.

Factors Behind the Revised Projections

The IEA's latest “Oil Market Report” attributes the downward revision to several key factors. Firstly, weak industrial activity in developed countries has led to a reduction in gasoil (a by-product of petroleum used as fuel) consumption. Additionally, a mild winter in Europe further dampened demand. The decline has been compounded by Europe's transition away from diesel vehicles.

Weak diesel deliveries in the United States also contributed to the overall reduction in OECD oil demand in the first quarter. The IEA noted that while demand in developed nations suffered, resilient consumption in non-OECD countries, particularly China, provided some offset.

Comparing IEA and OPEC Forecasts

The IEA's cautious outlook stands in stark contrast to the more optimistic projections from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). While the IEA forecasts modest growth of 1.1 million bpd for 2024, OPEC expects a robust increase of 2.25 million bpd. This 1.15 million bpd discrepancy underscores divergent views on global economic resilience and oil demand dynamics.

OPEC maintains its bullish stance, supported by a strong global economy and the potential easing of monetary policies. OPEC's growth forecast of 1.85 million bpd for 2025 remains equally optimistic compared to the IEA's more conservative estimate of 1.2 million bpd.

Supply Considerations

The IEA also revised its oil supply growth estimates for 2024, reducing it from 770,000 bpd to 580,000 bpd due to significant outages in Brazil and logistical challenges in the U.S. Despite these adjustments, global supply is expected to reach a record high of 102.7 million bpd. This supply-demand balance will be crucial for OPEC+ as it decides on extending voluntary output cuts in its upcoming June meeting.

The Path Forward for Oil Markets

The divergence between the IEA and OPEC projections sends mixed signals about the future of the oil market. The IEA's cautious approach reflects concerns over persistent high borrowing costs and inflation in major Western economies, which could dampen economic growth and oil demand. Conversely, OPEC's optimistic outlook hinges on economic growth and favorable monetary policies.

The IEA expects oil demand to peak by 2030, aligning with global efforts to transition to cleaner energy sources. In contrast, OPEC believes oil demand will continue to rise over the next two decades, not anticipating a peak in the foreseeable future.


The IEA's revised forecast for 2024 highlights the complex interplay of industrial activity, weather patterns, and shifting consumption trends in developed economies. The significant gap between IEA and OPEC projections underscores the uncertainty and divergent perspectives on the future of the oil market. 

All eyes are now on the semi-annual meeting of OPEC+ ministers scheduled for June, where analysts expect discussions on the production policy for the second half of the year.

3 Energy Stocks to Buy

To help out energy investors amid the conflicting viewpoints, we recommend accumulating stocks like SM Energy Company (SM - Free Report) , Marathon Petroleum (MPC - Free Report) and APA Corporation (APA - Free Report) . SM Energy and Marathon Petroleum currently sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) each, while APA carries a  Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). 

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

We believe that oil’s current levels of just under $80 allow long-term-oriented market participants to buy shares in quality companies at attractive prices

SM Energy Company: SM beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in each of the trailing four quarters. SM Energy has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 13.8%, on average.

SM is valued at around $5.6 billion. SM Energy has seen its shares increase 92.9% in a year.

Marathon Petroleum: Over the past 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2024 earnings has moved up 34%. 

Marathon Petroleum is valued at around $62.7 billion. MPC has seen its stock rise 63.5% in a year.

APA Corporation: APA is valued at some $11.2 billion. The 2024 Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company indicates 8.4% year-over-year earnings per share growth.

APA beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in two of the trailing four quarters and missed in the other two, the average being 5.5%. APA shares have lost 4.6% in a year.

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