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World oil demand to grow 1.3 mb/d in 2008
Jan '08
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries released monthly Oil Market Reports. In monthly terms, the OPEC Reference Basket averaged $1.80 or 2% lower to stand at $87.19/b in December as weaker economic growth was seen denting demand into the New Year and speculative pressure eased slightly.

Volatility increased in the first half of January, with the Basket surging on the back of the weak US dollar, stock draws in the US, geopolitical developments and higher speculative activities, which sent the Basket to a record-high of $93.78/b.

Nonetheless, the weak economic outlook amid rising fears of a recession in the US balanced ongoing supply concerns, helping the Basket ease to $85.34/b on 21 January.

World economic growth in 2008 is down by 0.1 percentage points to 4.7% following downward revisions in all three OECD regions (2.1% growth compared to 2.7% in 2007). Developing countries' growth was left unchanged at 6.1% as downward revisions in the Asia Pacific region balanced small upward revisions in Latin America.

The Chinese growth forecast of 9.9% remains unchanged from the previous month, as measures to slow down the economy begin to take hold, after the strong 11.5% performance in 2007. Fears of a US recession increased following a spate of negative reports in December showing drop in manufacturing output, rise in unemployment rate and fall in retail sales. Despite rising prices, the Fed is widely expected to cut US interest rates further by as much as 50 basis points at the end-January policy setting meeting if not before.

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