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IEA revises world oil demand forecast downward

WORLD oil demand is likely to grow by an average of 0.6 percent annually over the 2008-14 period, the International Energy Agency forecast yesterday, revising its mid-term expectations downward amid the global recession.

The Paris-based IEA, which advises oil-consuming countries, said oil demand would reach 89 million barrels a day by 2014 under the International Monetary Fund's current forecast of a return to 5 percent annual economic growth by 2012.

In 2009, however, oil demand is set to drop for a second-straight year, the first time demand has fallen for two consecutive years since 1982-83.

The IEA said the recessionary impact, combined with signs of a structural shift to less intensive long-term oil use, was behind its cut of at least 3 million barrels a day to its forecasts for the coming five years.

Growth in oil demand is expected to come mainly from developing countries in Asia and the Middle East, the IEA said. If the trend continues, demand outside the 30-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development will outstrip that within the OECD by 2014, the IEA said.

The IEA made yesterday's forecast in its medium-term oil market outlook report. It said that under a lower GDP scenario, oil demand would contract by 0.2 percent annually on average to 84.9 million barrels a day. The lower growth forecast "assumes any rebound in the global economy will be slower and attain lower trend growth than the IMF projection," the IEA said. The use of two growth scenarios "acknowledges the widespread uncertainty over the recovery path likely to emerge from the worst global economic recession in half a century."

A year ago, it said the world's estimated daily oil needs would rise to 94.14 million barrels in 2013. That, too, was a downgrade to its previous year's medium-term estimate and was due to skyrocketing oil prices.

Prices later plunged and are today about half what they were a year ago.

Oil prices hovered above US$69 a barrel in Asia yesterday as traders look to macroeconomic indicators this week for signs of improvement in the United States economy.

Benchmark crude for August delivery rose 23 cents to US$69.39 a barrel by midday European time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.


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