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Top traders see tepid oil demand recovery, flat prices

LONDON (Reuters) - The heads of the world’s largest trading houses predicted on Tuesday tepid oil demand recovery and flat prices due to the coronavirus pandemic in coming months and possibly even years although said peak demand will not be reached until next decade.

The chief executives of trading houses Vitol, Gunvor and Mercuria also told the annual FT Commodities Global Summit they would invest more in renewables.

Russell Hardy, who runs the world’s biggest trading house Vitol, said he had “modest expectations” for oil prices as he saw consumption staying broadly flat until next summer.

Mercuria’s chief and co-founder, Marco Dunand, was even more pessimistic, saying he didn’t see oil consumption coming back to pre-pandemic levels for a few years.

Dunand said he saw prices staying broadly flat at $45 per barrel for the next six months.

Gunvor co-owner Torbjorn Tornqvist said prices would fluctuate between mid and high $40s until the middle of 2021.

Reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov; editing by Jason Neely

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