The supply demand fundamentals are weaker due to sluggish Chinese demand growth and ample sources of additional crude oil supply. These factors would normally weaken crude prices. Yet, we expect some price strength in the next 18 months as the partial loss of Iranian exports shakes the market. Increases in refining capacity and preparations for the IMO change will lift crude demand next year, also providing support to prices.
This month we have begun publishing regional data from our global crude trade flows modeling including history back to January 2016 and forecast through December 2019 (see accompanying excel dataset). In 2019, with shale production decelerating, we expect crude exports to rise to an average of 2.2 million b/d after registering an annual average in 2018 of 1.8 million b/d.