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OPEC lowers oil demand projections for 2019

After demand fell in 2018, OPEC again trimmed its forecast for the call on its own crude oil this year, according to the organization's latest monthly analysis released March 14.

Demand for OPEC crude this year has been revised down by 100,000 barrels per day to 30.5 million bbl/d, which is down 1.1 million bbl/d from 2018.

According to secondary sources used to track member output, third-quarter 2018 OPEC production totaled 31.96 million bbl/d, while its fourth-quarter 2018 output was 32.08 million bbl/d.

The organization also dropped its world oil demand forecast to 99.96 million bbl/d in 2019, from above 100.00 million bbl/d in its prior monthly report.

In early December 2018, OPEC members and other major oil producers including Russia agreed to cut oil production by 1.2 million bbl/d, with members trimming output by 800,000 bbl/d and non-OPEC members reducing production by 400,000 bbl/d. The figure was lower than an OPEC panel's recommendation to decrease output by 1.3 million bbl/d to balance the market and halt a drop in crude oil prices.

The OPEC cut agreement expires in June. On the sidelines of CERAWeek by IHS Markit in Houston this week, OPEC Secretary General H.E. Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo declined to speculate if the organization will decide to extend the current output cut beyond that time. An OPEC/non-OPEC market monitoring committee meeting is scheduled for March 18, and the full coalition is scheduled to meet April 17-18 in Vienna.

While again lowering its demand projection for this year, the organization raised its projection for non-OPEC supply growth, from 62.19 million bbl/d to 64.43 million bbl/d, due to expected output increases in Canada as of April, as well as higher-than-expected growth in the Sudans, OPEC said.