Forecasts for oil demand growth in 2013 showed no change in March compared with February, with average daily demand expected to increase by 795,000 barrels to 90.6 mb/d, practically unchanged from estimates a month ago, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Thursday.
In its latest monthly "Oil Market Report (OMR)", the agency said that oil prices had declined in March "under the weight of renewed pessimism for the global economic outlook." On publication, Brent Blend was trading at USD 106 per barrel and WTI was changing hands at around USD 94 per barrel.
Demand was reported to be weaker, overall, and also refinery maintenance cut back on supply needs during the extensive seasonal repair period, the report said.
The OMR also noted that there is a projected 480,000 b/d contraction in demand in the industrialized OECD area this year, and this contraction will be most felt in economically-troubled Europe, where a fall-off of 340,000 b/d in demand is expected.
This will partially offset growth of over 1.2 mb/d elsewhere in the world.
Separately, the IEA said that global oil supply fell by 120,000 b/d in March due to lower OPEC output, which fell by 140,000 b/d to 30.44 mb/d last month.
Non-OPEC supply is pitched at about 54 mb/d and this should rise to 54.4 mb/d as Sudanese crude comes on line, the OMR remarked. That level, if it is attained, would be up by 1.1 mb/d from 2012 output.
The report said that the oil market seemed to be getting "more comfortable" and easing prices reflected this, but it still warned that experience shows that "bear market" conditions can sometimes be "short-lived." OECD industry stocks declined at end-February by 32.9 million barrels and now stand at 2.664 billion barrels and are still above five-year average levels and have been this way for six months.