By Ahmad Ghaddar, Stephanie Kelly and Laura Sanicola
LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Surges in coronavirus infections are slowing a recovery in fuel use from the doldrums of lockdowns in the United States and other countries, raising concern it could be years before consumption rebounds from the impact of the pandemic.
Global fuel demand fell by around a quarter at the peak of the lockdowns, when over 4 billion people worldwide were asked to stay at home. The unprecedented decline in demand forced producers to make record output cuts and pump hundreds of millions of barrels of oil into storage.
Fuel consumption and oil prices had recovered some ground as governments relaxed restrictions on population movements and the output cuts stemmed the glut.
That recovery is stalling, however, as infections swing upward in top fuel consumer the United States, as well as in other major economies such as Brazil and India.