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OPEC predicts stable oil demand for 2008

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries on Monday left its prognosis for crude demands largely unchanged, predicting in its monthly report a slight increase by 1.3 million barrels per day (bpd) to 87.1 million bpd for 2008.

Demand forecasts for 2007 remained equally stable, increasing by 1.5% or 1.3 million barrels per day. High petrol prices and bad weather dampened demand in OECD countries in the Q3, OPEC said. The Q3, after the end of the summer driving season, is traditionally a weak season for oil demand in OECD countries. Oil demand rose in September in the Middle East, China and India. OPEC’s Q4 forecasts predict strong demand for the winter season, with an average demand growth of 1.8 million barrels per day to average 87.1 million barrels per day.

OPEC stressed that recent financial turmoil and economic data were having a strong impact on short-term oil prices. Continued high prices could be explained partly by fears damage to oil installations in the Mexican gulf by hurricane activity, refinery outages in the United States and “increasing geopolitical concerns in various regions,” OPEC said. September’s OPEC crude production rose to 30.6 million barrels per day, an increase by 245,300 barrels compared to the same period last year, largely due to a significant increase in production in Iraq. Prices for OPEC crude reached a new record with $77.46 per barrel (159 liters) on Friday, OPEC said. Prices for US light sweet crudes rose to $84.22 on Monday. (m&