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OPEC hikes 2012 world oil demand forecast

OPEC hikes 2012 world oil demand forecast
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Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) revised its 2012 world oil demand outlook slightly upwards on Thursday citing a stable US economy and the shutdown of nuclear plants in Japan, which boosted demand.

The OPEC predicted 2012 demand at 88.67 million barrels per day (bpd), up 0.90 million bpd from 2011, in its latest monthly report. This represented a minor hike from its previous estimate in April which stood at 88.64 million bpd.

‘Given the stabilisation of the US economy and the shutdown of Japanese nuclear power plants, world oil demand growth has - at least for the short-term - stopped its declining trend and is showing some growth,’ OPEC said.

Demand outside the OECD developed countries was higher while those such as India and Saudi Arabia were consuming more than expected, it added.

However, Europe’s economic worries continued to hurt demand, OPEC said, warning that high oil prices in the US could also have a dampening effect on the approaching summer driving season.

‘The most important sector (in the US), transportation, continues to consume less oil than it did last year, due mainly to the country’s economic activity and high
retail prices,’ the report said.

With economic developments and fuel prices uncertain, ‘the outlook for US oil consumption for the entire year remains rather pessimistic,’ the OPEC statement released on Thursday added.
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