OPEC revises upwards world oil demand forecast

LONDON - OPEC on Thursday raised slightly its forecast for world oil demand growth, although it voiced concern about possible economic weakness that could erode oil demand.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Thu 15 Mar 2007, 6:57 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 10:51 PM

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), source of more than a third of the world’s oil, predicted this year’s world oil demand growth would be 1.3 million barrels per day (bpd), up 0.1 million bpd from its previous estimate.

It also predicted demand for its crude would average 30.4 million bpd this year, up from its previous forecast of 30.25 million bpd.

Oil prices have recovered from a low of $49.90 for U.S. crude CLc1 hit in January this year.

But they have been buffeted by nervous selling that has spilt over from equity markets shaken by concerns about the health of the U.S. economy.

“Central Banks have been quick to respond, reassuring markets that the underlying economic conditions remain sound,” OPEC wrote in its Monthly Oil Market Report. “However, potential downside risks to the world economic outlook are coming to the fore.”

OPEC ministers meeting in Vienna on Thursday have also expressed concern about possible economic weakness.

They were widely expected to leave existing output curbs in place even though inventory levels have declined.

The 10 OPEC members with supply curbs pumped 29.96 million bpd in February, broadly unchanged from the previous month, OPEC said, citing estimates from secondary sources.

In its monthly report on Tuesday, the International Energy Agency said inventories in industrialised nations could be headed for their biggest fall in more than 10 years and said the world would need more OPEC oil in the coming months. [ID:nL13637361]

OPEC said a fall in U.S. stocks of refined products over the past weeks had coincided with refinery outages and that product markets could lose some of their strength once maintenance is completed.

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