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OPEC Maintains Oil Demand Outlook Amid Resilient Economic Growth

OPEC kept on Wednesday its oil demand growth forecasts for this year and next, citing better-than-expected economic performance so far this year and blaming “exaggerated concerns about oil demand growth” for the recent slump in oil prices.    

In its closely-watched Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR) out on Wednesday, OPEC kept its forecast for world oil demand growth in 2023 unchanged from last month’s assessment at 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd).

In the November report, OPEC had said that oil market fundamentals remained strong with Chinese crude imports set to increase to a new annual record in 2023, despite “overblown negative sentiment in the market regarding China’s oil demand performance, and global oil market in general.”

In the December report, OPEC said today that the oil price plunge in recent weeks “was fuelled by exaggerated concerns about oil demand growth, which negatively impacted market sentiment.”

This year, OPEC continues to expect world oil demand to average 102.1 million bpd, driven by demand from non-OECD countries.

For 2024, OPEC expects world oil demand growth at 2.2 million bpd, for an average of 104.4 million bpd, also unchanged from the November assessment.

“Oil demand is expected to be supported by resilient global GDP growth, amid continued improvements in economic activity in China,” the cartel said.

“Continuous improvements in economic activity, steady manufacturing, and transportation activity mostly in China, Other Asia, and the Middle East, as well as in India and Latin America, are expected to account for the bulk of oil consumption,” according to OPEC.

The organization also noted that the “Economic growth seen in the first three quarters this year in most key economies had been better than expected.”

OPEC sees global economic growth at 2.9% this year and “as this robust economic growth is expected to extend into 2024, the global economic growth is forecasted at 2.6% for the year 2024.”

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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