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Easy with the taper; we need growth: OPEC

With talk of the Federal Reserve tapering its asset purchases once again the talk of the town, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has emphasized that monetary stimulus has been key to the global recovery and that it must continue.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg via Getty Images

In OPEC's Monthly Oil Market Report released on Thursday, the organization laid out the important role played by monetary stimulus around the world since the onset of the financial crisis, and said it was still vital to aid global growth.

"As long as economic growth remains modest compared to potential and inflation persists at low levels of below two percent," the report noted, "efforts to strengthen growth in the major OECD countries will be on-going, providing an important contribution to the global economic recovery."

(Read more: Fed to taper bond buying by $10 billion a month)

On December 18 last year, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced it would start to taper its aggressive bond-buying program to $75 billion a month beginning in January 2014. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) also said it would lower its monthly long-term Treasury bond purchases to $40 billion and mortgage-backed securities to $35 billion a month, both reductions of $5 billion.

Minutes released last week of the Fed's meeting caused concern that tapering may pick up pace, although a disappointing jobs number last week made many believe that the U.S. economy's improvement was not as stable as previously thought.

OPEC highlighted the importance of stimulus measures around the world, not just in the U.S. While the U.S. saw stimulus help job creation and stabilize the housing market, its beneficia leffect was hampered and uneven in Europe due to the "diverse structure of the economies."

(Read more: OPEC cuts output closer to 2014 demand)

Furthermore, "The recent ambitious monetary stimulus measures taken in Japan have been successful in helping the economy to recover from the lingering impact of the Fukushima triple disaster in 2011," the report continued. Meanwhile "in the emerging markets, the large monetary stimulus in the developed economies has generally helped to support the inflow of foreign investment to these markets, although with different paces."

This is why OPEC has kept its growth forecasts the same this month, whereas in previous months it has had to constantly revise its predictions. World economic growth for 2013 and 2014 remained at 2.9 percent and 3.5 percent, while the OECD economies are expected to grow in 2014 at 1.9 percent, compared to 1.2 percent in 2013. China's growth also remains unchanged at 7.8 percent for both 2013 and 2014.

(Read more: Income disparity, fiscal crises threaten 2014: WEF)

The OPEC Reference Basket - the weighted average of prices for petroleum blends produced by OPEC countries - rebounded by $2.70 in December after two months of losses to settle at $107.67 per barrel, after support from tight Libyan supply and a recovery in the U.S. Gulf Coast market.

OPEC also revised its forecast for world oil demand in 2013 up, averaging 89.86 million barrels per day (mb/d) for the whole year, an increase of 0.94 mb/d over a year earlier. For 2014, growth is expected to increase by around 1.0 mb/d.

On the supply side, OPEC expects non-OPEC oil supply to increase, with growth seen from the U.S., Canada, Brazil and the Sudans, while supply will decline in Norway, U.K. and Mexico.


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