OPEC cuts oil demand forecast as global bodies lower predictions
The move by Opec in a monthly report follows a similar downward revision to oil demand growth in 2013 by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Tuesday.
Opec now expects world oil demand will rise by 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) this year, a cut of 40,000 bpd from the previous estimate. It cited weaker-than-expected oil use in developed economies, such as Europe and Japan.
"Monthly data that is starting to emerge for the first quarter of 2013 suggests that Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development demand may be disappointing compared with our previous assessment," said the report by economists at Opec's Vienna headquarters.
Opec, the source of more than a third of the world's oil, has been flagging the prospect that demand may prove weaker than expected due to the euro zone's economic problems and uncertainties about the US economy.
The EIA on Tuesday also cut its 2013 world oil demand growth forecast by 50,000 bpd, although it still sees a stronger rate of growth in oil demand than Opec of 960,000 bpd.
The third closely watched oil forecaster, the International Energy Agency, updates its outlook on Thursday.
In the report, Opec slightly increased the forecast demand for its own crude in 2013 by 40,000 bpd to 29.75 million bpd, due to a lower expectation of supplies from outside the 12-member group.
Opec's production is still running higher than that, although supply has been falling in recent months.