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OPEC maintains bullish oil demand forecast next year

VIENNA (BERNAMA) — The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on Wednesday maintained its previous forecast for a healthy global oil demand growth in 2024, blaming speculators for the recent drop in crude prices.

In its monthly oil market report for December, OPEC sees a global demand growth of 2.25 million barrels per day (bpd) for next year, following a demand growth of 2.46 million bpd this year, both unchanged from last month’s predictions, reported Xinhua.

Noting that it remains “cautiously optimistic” about oil market fundamentals in 2024, OPEC said in the report that next year’s oil demand is expected to be supported by “resilient global GDP growth, amid continued improvements in economic activity in China”.

Oil prices have slid since October, with international benchmark Brent Crude dropping to the low USD70 a barrel from this year’s peak of over USD90 a barrel in September. The drop has continued since OPEC and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, on Nov 30 announced a new round of production cuts totaling 2.2 million bpd for the first quarter of 2024.

In Wednesday’s report, OPEC blamed speculators and their heavy selloffs for pushing down oil prices, saying the speculators cut “their bullish positions sharply while increasing short positions”.

“The market dynamic was fuelled by exaggerated concerns about oil demand growth, which negatively impacted market sentiment,” the organisation added.