Recent unrest in Iraq has pushed worries about oil prices back onto the front page. Based on demand alone, some countries may feel more financial pain than others.
Data from BP suggest the following:
- Demand from the most developed economies in Europe is well off its historical high dating back to the 1970s. The International Energy Agency believes there are many reasons for this decline, such as energy source switching, efficiency gains or even clean-air regulations.
- The United States, Canada, and Mexico all had demand below peak levels last year. That’s not to say they won’t revisit peak levels in the future, but the numbers suggest the economic recovery has been slower than expected. That said, the peak years were not too long ago and current demand is really not that much lower than the historical high. The good news for North America is that the “Energy Revolution” in the United States will likely provide additional supply to help alleviate supply concerns going forward.
- Looking at countries that had peak demand in 2013, China and India stand out with more than 35% of the world’s population. Also on that list are other emerging markets such as Brazil, Indonesia and South Korea.
If supply suddenly declines thanks to unrest in the Middle East, emerging markets could feel the impact first since demand continues to grow in many of these economies.
But if we see a material decline in supply, all economies will eventually feel the pinch as global energy prices will be destined to climb (assuming no government subsidies are implemented) and global growth will come under pressure.