Hearing overseas oil executives talk, you would think that Chinese drivers and air passengers were coming to the rescue of an oil market looking for direction.

Reports from staff on the ground in China suggest that "demand is looking very good,” Jeremy Weir, CEO of commodity trading company Trafigura, said last month. "Shops are full, restaurants are full, and I think we’re going to see international travel increase a lot.”

Downgrades to the outlook for electric vehicles have been serious enough that oil consumption will not peak until the 2030s, the CEO of energy and commodity trading firm Vitol, Russell Hardy, said.