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Goldman Sachs sees oil demand returning to pre-coronavirus levels by 2022

FILE PHOTO: The sun is seen behind a crude oil pump jack in the Permian Basin in Loving County, Texas, U.S., November 22, 2019. REUTERS/Angus Mordant

(Reuters) - Goldman Sachs said on Thursday a pick-up in commuting, a shift to private transportation and government efforts to improve economies with higher infrastructure spending should help global oil demand return to pre-coronavirus levels by 2022.

Demand is expected to fall by 8% this year, before rebounding 6% in 2021 and fully recovering to pre-pandemic levels by 2022, the U.S. bank said in a note.

“Oil demand has already started to recover with the initial pace of recovery surprising to the upside in economies like China and India. Demand is still below normalised level with June demand estimated to be 12% below last year levels,” Goldman said.

The bank expects gasoline to stage the fastest demand recovery among oil products, while jet fuel consumption, which has been hit the most by the pandemic, could suffer more as consumer confidence in air travel is likely to stay low in the absence of a vaccine.

While fuel demand is gradually recovering as lockdown measures ease, a second coronavirus wave could quickly undermine the trend, industry data showed last week.

A Reuters poll on Tuesday estimated oil prices will consolidate at around $40 a barrel this year, with a recovery gaining steam in the fourth quarter and into 2021 on OPEC-led production cuts and as economies limp back from coronavirus lockdowns.

Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

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