Opec lowers its oil demand projections for 2008

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VIENNA: The Opec oil cartel on Friday lowered its projections for growth of oil demand this year in response to a slowdown in world economic momentum. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in its February report said demand would likely grow by 1.43 percent this year rather than its previously estimated 1.52 percent. The cartel said average daily demand growth would come to 1.23 million barrels, taking demand to 86.99 million barrels a day. In January, Opec put the overall figure at 87.07 million barrels. Risks to the world economy have increased considerably in January on mounting evidence of a slowdown in the US economy, fuelling fears of an outright recession with uncertain repercussions for the rest of the world, the report said. The increase in oil consumption in 2008 is projected to approach that of 2007, when it came to 1.2 million barrels a day, or a rise of 1.4 percent, according to an earlier OPEC estimate that the cartel it kept unchanged in the February report. -AFP

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