European oil demand remained extremely weak in September, with the latest preliminary JODI data pegging total consumption at 14.046 mb/d, down y/y by 1.08 mb/d (7.2%), the 13th consecutive month of y/y decline, and the steepest fall since January 2010. Diesel was the weakest part of the barrel once again, although the pace of decline eased from August. Final data for August were revised lower too, by 170 thousand b/d, bringing the y/y decline to 6.9%, significantly higher than the year-to-date average of 4.1%. In September, French, Spanish and Italian (down y/y by 11.1%, 14.1% and 12% respectively) were the key sources of weakness. The weakness in French demand is particularly noteworthy. While a strong base, boosted by restocking, distorts the picture somewhat, heavy contractions across the main product categories (gasoline down y/y by 11.9% and diesel down y/y by 7.4%) points to a weak economic backdrop. Gasoline and diesel demand were extremely weak in Spain and Italy (down y/y by 14%-15%) too, with electricity generation falling for the 13th month running. German oil demand, which fell sharply by 12.8% in August, recovered in September, although it remained lower y/y by 2.7%. Turkish oil demand was the only bright spot, increasing y/y by 10.5%, following a 14.7% y/y increase in August, supported by manufacturing activity.
While our outlook on European demand remains weak, we see some supportive figures emerging in Q4, as last year's unusually warm winter creates an easy comparison base. The UK, Spain and France had 3.6%, 3.9% and 8% less heating-degree-days than the 10-year average respectively, and just a normal winter this year would boost heating oil demand.