Wed, Dec 14, 2011 - Page 11 News List

OPEC lowers demand forecast

AFP, VIENNA

Oil exporting countries lowered their world demand forecast for next year slightly yesterday as ministers gathered in Vienna to discuss output levels amid tensions over Iran and slowing global growth.

OPEC said in its monthly report that world oil demand next year would reach 88.87 million barrels per day (bpd), revising downwards its previous forecast of 89.01 million bpd.

“The adjustment reflects slowing growth in the OECD, which is expected to have spillover effects for China and India, and hence impact oil consumption over the coming year,” the cartel said.

For this year, demand remained virtually unchanged at 87.80 million bpd, compared to 87.81 million bpd in OPEC’s report last month.

The organization thus expected year-on-year demand to grow by 860,000 bpd this year — from 86.93 million bpd last year — and by 1.07 million bpd next year.

OPEC ministers were already gathering in Vienna ahead of a cartel meeting today, where they were due to decide whether to change production quotas in the face of heightened Iran tensions, higher Libyan output and a weak economic output.

While it maintained its global economic growth predictions for this year and next year at 3.6 percent in its report, the cartel noted that this was thanks to developing countries who were “helping to compensate for [the] shortfall” in the OECD group of developed countries.

The debt-hit eurozone “remains the centre of uncertainty,” it said, while Japan and the US had also seen a downward revision of growth for next year.

Looking ahead, OPEC said: “Slowing economic growth and the uncertain outlook for the global economy in the coming year highlight increasing risks facing the oil market in 2012.”

The 12-member oil cartel supplies one-third of the world’s crude.

In Vienna, it was expected to maintain its official output target at 24.84 million bpd, a level it has kept unchanged for three years, although the International Energy Agency estimates actual production at 27.32 million.

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