The world’s second-largest oil consumer, China, could accelerate global oil demand in the second half of 2020, industry executives told Reuters, as more countries continue to emerge from COVID-19 lockdowns.

Worldwide efforts to contain the spread of the virus have ravaged oil markets, wiping roughly 70 percent off global prices by mid-April and leading to huge build-ups in oil and fuel inventories.

“The brisk resumption of Chinese oil demand, 90 percent of pre-COVID levels by the end of April and moving higher, is a welcome signpost for the global economy,” said Jim Burkhard, vice president and head of oil markets at IHS Markit.

He added: “When you consider that oil demand in China – the first country impacted by the virus – had fallen by more than 40 percent in February – the degree to which it is snapping back offers reason for some optimism about economic and demand recovery trends in other markets such as Europe and North America.” (RT)