Vienna: World oil demand will decline slightly in 2009 but start growing again next year, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), an oil producers’ cartel, said on Tuesday in its monthly report, standing by its previous forecast.
“The forecast for world oil demand growth in 2009 remains unchanged, showing a decline of 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd),” or 1.93% to 83.91 million bpd, Opec said. In 2010, the trend was expected to reverse, with demand growing by 0.5 million bpd, or 0.59%, as already predicted in Opec’s July report.
Despite a continuing fall in the US oil consumption, increases in demand elsewhere, especially in China and India, had helped maintain the 2009 forecast, the cartel said.
Next year, increases in demand would be seen especially in China and India again, as well as West Asia and Latin America.
Rising unemployment in the US and European Union, and a stronger US dollar were to blame for the drop in oil prices in early July, but these recovered, as optimism set in that economic recovery was on the way, the cartel said.
“In the absence of any significant change in oil market fundamentals, this volatility indicates the increasing sensitivity of oil prices to conflicting economic signals,” Opec said in its report summary.
The organization warned, however, that it might still be too early to speak of a recovery.
“If market expectations for an economic recovery are not fully realized, current (oil) price levels could face increasing pressure,” it added.
Petrol demand in the US, the world’s biggest oil consumer, “is expected to improve from the sharp decline seen this year, but will remain a wild card in 2010,” Opec noted.