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14 April 2017, 02:47 | Elizabeth Houston
IEA says global oil market now close to balance
The International Energy Agency expects growth in the global demand for crude oil to slow for a second consecutive year in 2017.
In its closely watched monthly oil market report, the IEA reduced its forecast for 2017 demand growth to 1.3 million barrels a day, warning that this outlook could still "prove optimistic".
The IEA projected the oil market would likely tighten throughout the year as non-OPEC oil production, not just in the US, is forecast to increase once again.
The IEA forecast that supplies outside the Opec cartel will grow by 485,000 b/d this year partly as a result of the recovery in prices above $50 a barrel, with U.S. production seen 680,000 b/d higher year-on-year by the end of 2017.
In December 2016, OPEC and non-OPEC producers reached their first deal since 2001 to curtail oil output jointly and ease a global glut after more than two years of low prices.
OPEC meets on May 25 to consider whether to extend the supply cut beyond June.
Prices had been nearly unchanged earlier in the day as concerns over rising USA production offset support from data showing the first weekly drawdown in US oil inventories in a month. "We have an interesting second half to come", the agency added.
Oil inventories fell in March but probably showed a rise in the first quarter of this year overall because oil consumers stockpiled crude before the OPEC-led cuts took effect properly, the IEA said.
OECD stocks "drew moderately" in February and the IEA anticipates they will dip down further in March.
World benchmark North Sea Brent crude futures were up 10 cents at US$55.96 a barrel in afternoon trading Arabian Gulf time. "A outcome of extending their output cuts beyond the six-month mark would be bigger implied stock draws, [but] this would provide further support to prices, which in turn would offer further encouragement to the United States shale oil sector and other producers".
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