OPEC downgrades 2019 oil demand growth forecast

The OPEC logo is seen at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) building in Vienna on June 20, 2018.Omar Marques | SOPA Images | LightRocket via Getty ImagesOPEC trimmed its forecast for oil demand growth for the third month in a row on Thursday, citing weaker-than-expected data in the Asia Pacific region as well as advanced economies in the Americas.The move is likely to add to growing pressure on the Middle East-dominated group to impose a deeper round of production cuts at its December meeting.In a closely-watched monthly report, OPEC cut its forecast for global oil demand growth for the remainder of this year to 0.98 million barrels per day (b/d). That’s down 40,000 b/d from its September estimate.The group, which consists of some of the world’s most powerful oil-producing nations, kept its forecast for 2020 in line with last month’s projections. It expects world oil demand to grow by 1.08 million b/d next year.The report comes as the U.S.-China trade war continues to cloud prospects for the global economy and fuel demand.High-level negotiators from the world’s two largest economies will resume trade talks on Thursday, seeking to secure a breakthrough to end their long-running dispute.However, China, the world’s largest importer of oil, has tempered expectations for a trade resolution.President Donald Trump has said tariffs on Chinese imports will increase on October 15 if no progress is made in this week’s bilateral trade negotiations.Oil pricesInternational benchmark Brent crude traded at around $58.24 a barrel on Thursday, down around 0.1%, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) stood at $52.56, little changed from the previous session.Over the last 12 months, Brent crude prices have fallen from a peak of around $84 per barrel amid fears of a repeat of rising supply and faltering demand — the same situation that precipitated a dramatic fall in oil prices from mid-2014 to 2016.In an attempt to stabilize oil prices, OPEC and allied producers — including Russia — agreed to reduce output by 1.2 million b/d at the beginning of 2019. That deal replaced a previous round of production cuts that began in January 2017.The group sometimes referred to as OPEC+ reaffirmed their commitment to cutting production in July, extending output cuts to March 2020.OPEC and non-OPEC producers will hold their next meeting in Vienna, Austria in early December.— CNBC’s Holly Ellyatt contributed to this report.

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