World Oil Demand Returning to Growth: OPEC

Oil demand has been growing in the United States, where consumption in April grew for the first time since March 2011, and Japan, helping to offset weaker demand in crisis-hit Europe, OPEC said on Thursday.


“Given the stabilization of the U.S. economy and the shutdown of Japanese nuclear power plants, world oil demand growth has—at least for the short-term—stopped its declining trend and is showing some growth, OPEC said in its monthly oil market report.

World oil demand will rise by 900,000 barrels per day this year, the organization said, broadly unchanged from last month’s estimate.

“Overall, the global economic outlook remains fragile, with heightened uncertainties in the euro zone and potential spill-over effects in the emerging markets, the report said. “Considering the most recent leading indicators, it is not obvious that the economy will recover in the coming months.”

The first four months of 2012 were generally quite disappointing for U.S. consumption, with contractions in all product categories, especially motor gasoline and residual fuel oil, OPEC said. That was the result of ongoing economic concerns, relatively high fuel pricesand a warmer-than-usual winter.

In April, however, the country’s consumption revealed the first growth since March 2011, pushed up by industrial fuel consumption, OPEC said.

The organization also warned that Japan’s oil usage could slow if the country were to restart its nuclear plants.