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OPEC hikes its 2017 global demand growth forecast as thirst from Asia rises

OPEC President Qatar's Energy Minister Mohammed bin Saleh al-Sada and OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo address a news conference after a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna, Austria, November 30, 2016.
Heinz-Peter Bader | Reuters
OPEC President Qatar's Energy Minister Mohammed bin Saleh al-Sada and OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo address a news conference after a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna, Austria, November 30, 2016.

OPEC has upgraded its world oil demand forecast to 1.27 million barrels per day, an upwards revision of 10,000 barrels per day.

The forecasts - in OPEC's new monthly oil report on Wednesday - come as OPEC countries cut oil output in March more than anticipated. Compliance in the deal, which was initiated to clear a supply glut and boost prices, averaged 104 percent, according to a Reuters calculation based on production figures published by OPEC.

The cut in production comes amid fluctuating oil prices. The OPEC Reference Basket (OBR) fell 5.7 percent in March to $50.32 per barrel. However, the OBR, which refers to weighted average prices for oil produced by OPEC members, saw a sharp increase in prices for both the quarter and the year, pointing to a victory for the OPEC production limits initiated in 2016.

The forecasts announced Wednesday pointed to an uptick in demand anticipated in 2017. Asia, including India, is expected to lead this, followed by China and the U.S. Asia-Pacific is the only region expected to see a decline 2017. Total oil consumption in 2017 is expected to stand at 96.32 million barrels per day, according to the report.

The revised projections for 2017 reflect improved momentum in global economic growth, OPEC said. It is now anticipating global growth of 3.3 percent in 2017, up slightly from previous estimates of 3.2 percent.

Growth within OECD developed nations is anticipated at 1.9 percent, with the U.S. and the euro zone seeing no revisions on previous predictions. Meanwhile, China's growth forecast was increased from 6.2 percent to 6.3 percent.

Policy issues and monetary policy decisions will be key factors in ensuring this growth, however, as will sustained stability in commodity prices, OPEC stated.