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IEA cuts oil demand forecast as economic uncertainty weighs

The world will consume less oil next year than previously thought as a climate of economic insecurity continues, according to the latest demand forecast by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The influential group estimates that global oil demand growth will slow from 1.4 millions of barrels a day (mb/d) in 2016 to 1.2 mb/d in 2017, 0.1 mb/d below its previous forecasts.

On Wednesday, OPEC, the group of the world's biggest oil producing countries, left its outlook for oil demand growth for 2017 unchanged at 1.15 mb/d, but upgraded its forecast for 2016 oil demand growth, which has dampened hopes for a deal on a production freeze at its meeting next month.

The price of oil, which has averaged $45 a day in August so far, has been on a downwards slope, apart from occasional rallies, since July 2014, when it averaged above $100 a day. At first, this was blamed on a production glut, but as concerns about global economic growth set in, this dampened expectations even further.

"When it comes to the recent price decline, the dynamics of the crude oil market hold the key. Crude oil - still the largest part of the global oil market - has its own fundamentals that are not necessarily in sync with the total liquids market," IEA analysts wrote in their report.

"The massive overhang of stocks is also keeping a lid on prices, with both newly produced and stored crude competing for market share in an increasingly volatile refinery margin environment."