World demand for oil will grow this year and next despite signs that the tepid international economic recovery is running out steam, OPEC said Tuesday.
While revising demand growth slightly downward for both years, OPEC's monthly forecast predicted that the world's appetite for crude will show an increase of a daily 1.2 million barrels this year over last year and 1.3 million barrels a day in 2012 compared to this year.
With major consumers like the United States and the European Union facing the prospects of a return to recession, any significant growth in demand will come from other regions, said the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
"Oil demand in the OECD is expected to continue its contraction after a temporary rebound last year," said the report, referring to the group of the world's major industrialized countries.
It said an apparent fall in Chinese oil demand in June _ the first in eight months _ "also confirms a weakening of manufacturing activities worldwide."
Still, said the report, Chinese demand was expected to show 6.5 percent growth rate for 2011 over last year, and "it is forecast that next year's oil demand growth will take place in the non-OECD, mainly China, India, the Middle East and Latin America."
For the U.S., the world's greatest consumer, demand "will remain the wild card for 2012, as it could ... be negatively influenced by the country's economic turbulence, state policies and retail petroleum product prices," said the report.
But overall, world oil demand _ with its forecast daily demand growth of 1.3 million barrels _ is expected to average 89.4 million barrels a day next year, said the report. That is a downward revision of only 19 thousand barrels a day from last month's OPEC forecast.
For this year, the report said that preliminary figures showed global oil supply at 88.33 million barrels a day for last month _ an increase of 800,000 barrels a day over June. OPEC members Saudi Arabia, Angola and Kuwait "experienced a considerable increase," while production fell in Libya,Iran, Nigeria and Iraq.