OPEC Cuts Oil Demand Outlook for 2011 and 2012

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has again trimmed its forecasts for oil demand in 2011 and 2012 and warns that it may again cut its demand outlook should the global economy continue to sputter.

Hot Feature: European Rescue Fund Faces Key Vote

In its monthly report, released today, OPEC reduced its forecast for oil-demand growth in 2011 by 180,000 barrels a day, citing both the poor global economic climate and weakening Chinese and Indian prospects. “Uncertainty in the world economy has dimmed the picture for 2011, particularly in the [Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development] region,” said OPEC. “So far, clear signs of weakening demand have had only a limited impact on overall oil-market fundamentals. However, in the current economic environment, it is necessary to remain alert to the risks of a growing market imbalance.”

Oil demand is still expected to rise by 900,000 barrels a day this year, and OPEC expects global consumption to average 87.8 million barrels a day in 2011. For 2012, OPEC has downwardly revised its daily consumption expectations by 70,000 barrels a day to a daily growth rate of 1.2 million barrels a day.

While OPEC estimated that demand for its own crude will remain unchanged in 2011, compared to its last monthly report, OPEC cut its demand outlook for 2012 by 100,000 barrels a day to an average of 29.9 million barrels a day, the same as forecast for 2011.

OPEC’s report also showed that Libyan oil output rose from just 7,000 barrels a day in August to 96,000 barrels a day in September. OPEC’s August report projected that Libyan oil output would reach one million barrels a day within six months, but today’s report gives no further details on how long the group expects it will take the North African country to return to its pre-war production levels.

Investing Insights: Oil ETFs: The Top 10 Exchange Traded Funds for Your Oil Investing List

OPEC, which in its August report projected that Libyan oil output would reach one million barrels a day within six months, said that the North African country’s output rose to 96,000 barrels a day in September, from only 7,000 barrels a day the previous month. It didn’t give any further details on how long the country could take to return to its pre-war production levels.

More from The Cheat Sheet