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IEA Raises World Oil Demand Forecast, Cautions OPEC

The International Energy Agency has raised its forecast for 2007 world oil demand growth following revisions to its outlook for China and told OPEC that any further supply cuts could markedly tighten the market.

The agency that advises 26 industrialised nations said on Tuesday oil stocks held by its members fell by 40.2 million barrels in December and the downward trend continued in January as OPEC output cuts already in train began to bite. The IEA raised its global oil demand growth forecast for 2007 to 1.55 million barrels per day, or 1.8%, from 1.39 million bpd, or 1.6%, at the time of its January report.

It said strong demand from China, the world's second biggest fuel burner, had lifted non-OECD oil demand growth to 3.2% in 2007 from 3% in the IEA's previous monthly report.

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