Goldman Sachs says jet fuel demand will accelerate in 2021, driven by availability of a COVID-19 vaccine by the second-quarter


jet fuel


  • Goldman Sachs expects jet fuel demand to recover in 2021 alongside the potential availability of a COVID-19 vaccine in the second quarter.
  • The bank’s analysts said the number of airline passengers will return to pre-virus levels by 2023.
  • “We do not believe that jet fuel demand has peaked and see jet as an area of long-term demand growth in this decade,” analysts said in a note dated September 25.
  • They suggested remaining selective on equities, and named domestic-exposed airlines including Southwest Airlines, JetBlue Airways, and Alaska Air Group as preferred stocks.
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Goldman Sachs remains upbeat on the outlook for oil demand next year, thanks to an anticipated recovery in jet fuel consumption, particularly if an effective vaccine against Covid-19 materializes in the second quarter and encourages people to travel again.

“Despite near-term challenges for jet, we are constructive on 2021 oil prices as the global economy- and especially jet demand- improve as vaccines become available and crude supply continues to surprise to the downside, particularly in non-OPEC,” analysts at the bank said in a note dated September 25.

The bank predicts that the recovery in jet fuel demand next year will contribute to the oil market’s rebalancing as much as the loss of non-OPEC production due to low prices. 

Analysts reiterated their “constructive” 2021 forecast for Brent crude futures, which they expect to reach $65 per barrel by the third-quarter of 2021. Brent is currently trading at $42.21. 

Goldman Sachs expects the number of airline passengers to return to pre-virus levels by 2023. “We do not believe that jet fuel demand has peaked and see jet as an area of long-term demand growth in this decade,” the note said.

Read More: Europe is heading back into lockdown, but when travel resumes, these are the 3 European airline stocks to own, Morgan Stanley says

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The largest headwinds to any recovery in jet fuel demand would be the absence of a vaccine and related travel restrictions. The bank predicts a vaccine will be available by the second quarter next year, after which global jet demand would increase by 3.9 million barrels per day from current levels by next summer.

However, the fact that video-conferencing has become the norm could lead to a lag in corporate travel, which in turn would drag on jet fuel consumption.

Despite an improved outlook for jet fuel, Catherine O’Brien, a senior equity research analyst, and the bank’s global airline team are selective on equity preferences.

The team outlined a leaning towards domestic-exposed airlines including Southwest Airlines, JetBlue Airways, and Alaska Air Group. They stated that international airlines, or those exposed to long-haul travel, are more at risk, including the bank’s “sell-rated” Hawaiian Holdings and Singapore Airlines. 

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