OPEC again lowers oil demand forecast for 2009

November 18th, 2008 - 2:18 am ICT by IANS  

Vienna, Nov 18 (DPA) The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Monday lowered its estimate for global oil demand growth in 2009 for the third straight month, citing the downturn of highly industrialised economies.In its latest monthly oil market report, the Vienna-based organisation forecast 86.68 million barrels per day of crude oil demand for the next year, 530,000 barrels per day less than predicted in October.

The year-on-year growth rate in demand was lowered to 0.57 percent, compared with 0.87 percent stated in the previous report by the cartel, which produces around 40 percent of global oil.

“Oil demand growth will be boosted mainly by non-OECD countries, particularly the Middle East, Asia, and China,” the report said, referring to countries outside the group of industrialised countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

But OPEC also lowered its projections for Chinese demand growth next year to 4.76 percent, from 5 percent in October.

The OECD said last Thursday that it expected economic activity to fall by 0.9 percent in the US in 2009, by 0.5 percent in the euro area and by 0.1 percent in Japan.

Although the oil cartel cut production from the start of November to stem the fall of the crude prices due to decreasing demand, the OPEC basket price continued to slump.

The group’s oil ministers are set to gather for a consultative meeting in Cairo on Nov 29 to discuss lowering production even further, according to an OPEC official.

It is still unclear whether the talks on the sidelines of a meeting of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) will yield an official decision, as it comes mere weeks before the next regular meeting in Oran, Algeria, Dec 17.

The basket price of 13 OPEC crudes stood at $49.09 Monday, down from $57.43 at the end of October.

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