Oil demand could plunge by 30% over the next 5 years, Cathie Wood predicts. Here’s why.

Crude-oil prices are up thus far in 2023, but fund manager Cathie Wood sees a substantial drop in global oil uptake that could result in a powerful swing lower for the fossil fuel.

“We believe that the demand for oil,” estimated to be at about 100 million barrels a day, “is going to drop over the next five years” by 30%, Wood said on Thursday during a quarterly seminar for clients of ARK Invest’s suite of funds.

That’s “because of not only electric vehicles and the increased in electric-vehicle miles,” but also autonomous taxi services, Wood predicted, referencing her popular holding, Tesla Inc.
TSLA,
-1.25%.

The ARK Invest CEO made the case that crude oil
CL00,
+0.55%
has held its value, on a relative basis, due to a number of factors, including China’s gradual reopening from its zero-COVID policies and a replenishment of the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserves, which were tapped to help mitigate the growing costs of oil last year.

“We could be talking $50 [a barrel],” Wood said.

Wood’s exchange-traded funds were once darlings of the post-COVID-19 speculative boom on Wall Street. The flagship ARK Innovation
ARKK,
-3.23%
fund rose around 150% during 2020 and helped to burnish Wood’s reputation, but a rapid rise in interest rates has helped to capsize her growth-focused investing strategy. ARK Innovation ended 2022 down nearly 67%, after falling 24% in 2021.

The flagship fund is currently enjoying a pop, up over 11% year to date. By comparison, the Dow Jones Industrial Average
DJIA,
-0.76%
is up 0.5%, the S&P 500 index
SPX,
-0.76%
has gained 1.6% and the technology-heavy index Nasdaq Composite Index
COMP,
-0.96%
is up 3.7%.

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