· Crude oil prices stay low in narrow range as economic outlook concerns continue to outweigh prospect of tightening crude oil supply.
· IEA raises global crude oil demand forecast for 2023 on stronger-than-expected demand in China, with global demand set to exceed supply over coming months.
· Prospect of tightening supply raises expectations of firmer crude oil prices in coming months.
· Global lube demand holds in lower, narrow range through Q4 2022 and early Q1 2023.
· Global lube demand, excluding US and China, likely to ease in Q2-Q3 vs Q1.
· Global supply likely to recover in coming months following completion of maintenance work in Q2 2023, and as firm prices incentivize refiners to boost production.
· Concern about economic/lube demand outlook and expectations of sufficient supply incentivize blenders to maintain lower stocks.
· Strategy of more frequent procurement of smaller base oils volumes would likely reduce size of market price volatility seen in recent years.
· Strategy assumes steady flow of supplies after a year with unusually small number of unexpected disruptions to production.