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Jeff Rubin: When will we see demand destruction for oil?

Jeff Rubin: When will we see demand destruction for oil?

How high must oil prices go before they start killing the very demand that feeds them?

Everybody from the International Monetary Fund to the International Energy Agency (IEA) is warning of dire economic consequences if today’s triple digit oil prices persist.

Curiously though, the IEA, which is warning of a potential global recession due to today’s oil prices, is also predicting an almost a one-and-a-half-million-barrel-a-day increase in world demand this year. And judging by their recent track record, this forecast, like the one it made early last year for 2010, will once again be on the light side.

Somber warnings from leading world institutions aside, there is no evidence yet of demand destruction in the places that have been pushing world consumption for over the better part of the past decade. Preliminary data on apparent fuel consumption show Chinese oil demand, already closing in on ten-million barrels a day, continued to grow at a double-digit rate in March for the sixth consecutive month. That doesn’t sound like demand destruction to me.

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