Oil has weakened to around $82 a barrel for Brent crude from a 2023 high in September near $98. Concern about economic growth and demand has pressured prices, despite support from supply cuts by OPEC and its allies, and conflict in the Middle East.
But the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in a monthly report said the market was healthy despite “exaggerated negative sentiments”, citing strong Chinese imports, minor downside risks to economic growth and a robust physical oil market.
“Recent data confirms robust major global growth trends and healthy oil market fundamentals,” OPEC said in a feature article at the start of its report.
“Oil prices have trended lower in recent weeks, mainly driven by financial market speculators.”
In the report, OPEC nudged up its forecast for world oil demand growth in 2023 to 2.46 million barrels per day (bpd), up 20,000 bpd from the previous forecast. In 2024, OPEC sees demand rising by 2.25 million bpd, unchanged from last month. A lifting of pandemic lockdowns in China has helped oil demand rise in 2023. OPEC has consistently forecast stronger demand growth for next year than other forecasters such as the International Energy Agency. OPEC and its allies, known as OPEC+, have been cutting production since late 2022 to support the market.
However, the OPEC report also said OPEC oil production rose in October despite the pledged supply cuts, driven by increases in Iran, Angola and Nigeria.