The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) on Wednesday lowered its global oil demand forecast by 60,000 barrels per day (bpd) for 2011, citing lower than expected figures during the second and third quarters of the year, sustained pressure of high oil prices and increased evidence of economic slowdown.
"Overall, global oil demand is expected to average 89.5 million bpd in 2011, 1.4 per cent higher year on year," said the IEA in its latest oil market report, an e-mailed copy of which was received by Gulf News.
The IEA advises 28 industrialised nations on energy policy.
"Concerns over debt levels in Europe and the US, and signs of slowing economic growth in China and India have spooked the market and raised fears in some quarters of a double-dip recession. From an oil market standpoint, perceived wisdom is that this must inevitably mean weaker oil demand to come," said the IEA.
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"With extra crude volumes now hitting the market after the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) boosted supply and the IEA released emergency stocks, this has been sufficient to sharply weaken prices," it added.
However, the IEA raised its global oil demand forecast for 2012 by 70,000 bpd per day to 91.1 million bpd.
"A lower GDP (gross domestic product) case would cut 1.3 million bpd from 2012 demand," it added.
Commenting on the IEA forecast, Kate Dourian, Middle East editor for global energy information provider Platts told Gulf News: "The market appears to be well-balanced at the moment. Oil prices haven't fallen below their support levels. Demand from Asia continues to be relatively robust. It doesn't seem like a 2008 situation when the financial system collapsed."
"Marker crude prices have lost $12-$15 (Dh44-Dh55) per barrel since early August amid growing concerns over government debt and the likely impact on the global economy," said the IEA.
World oil supply in July rose by 600,000 bpd from June to 88.7 million bpd, with non-Opec production up by 400,000 bpd, the IEA estimates showed.
Opec crude supply in July averaged 30.05 million bpd, up by 100,000 bpd from June, it added.
"Output has regained levels close to those seen before the Libyan crisis, although Opec's spare capacity now stands at only 3.3 million bpd," the IEA said.