The Joint Technical Committee of OPEC+ is concerned about the growing case numbers in India, Japan, and Brazil, Reuters sources said on Monday.
The Joint Technical Committee, or JTC, is responsible for assessing oil market fundaments. It is also tasked with monitoring which member countries are complying with the production cut quotas and which are not.
The JTC is not changing its oil demand outlook at this time, but the group is keeping an eye on surging coronavirus cases in some substantial oil importers.
India, for one—the world’s third-largest oil importer—has hit another high in the number of its new coronavirus cases. It is the fifth day in a row for such record-setting, and with more than 350,000 new cases reported on Monday, the Asian nation has hit a world record for the greatest number of new cases. For India, this is a health crisis of immense proportions. For the global oil markets, it means a slower recovery. India imports more than 4 million barrels per oil every day.
Japan—the world’s fourth-largest oil importer and fifth-largest oil consumer—is also struggling with an increase in the number of new coronavirus cases, as it has been slow to roll out vaccines. Japan is also one of the world’s largest LNG importers.
The JTC, which is meeting prior to the full ministerial meeting that will take place later in the week on Wednesday, is still weighing the impact of various lockdowns on the oil markets.
Just one month ago, the OPEC+ pane revised downward its oil demand estimates at Saudi Arabia’s prodding, just before the group decided to ease production quotas for its members.
Oil prices were down slightly on Monday afternoon, but pared earlier losses. At 5:00 p.m. ET, Brent crude was trading at $65.70, down $0.41 on the day.