OPEC says worst of crisis is past for oil markets

By AFP

July 15, 2010 Updated Jun 14, 2009 at 9:41 PM CDT

The OPEC oil producers' cartel said the worst of the impact from the economic crisis was past for the oil markets, as it fractionally reduced its demand estimate for 2009 on Friday.

"In light of the considerable challenges the world economy and commodity markets, particularly the oil market, have undergone, the worst appears to be behind us," the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries wrote in its latest monthly report.

"As the world economy stabilises, the world oil demand appears to be settling down," it said.

"Industrial production activities are steadying and in some parts of the world have even improved slightly. This should stop the bleeding in oil demand. There are no significant downward revisions to our previous oil demand forecasts."

OPEC estimated that demand would contract by 1.62 million barrels per day (bpd) or 1.89 percent in 2009 -- only a marginal downward revision in demand from its earlier forecast.

In its previous monthly bulletin released in May, OPEC had been pencilling in a contraction of 1.57 million bpd or 1.83 percent for 2009.

Nevertheless, uncertainties remained, OPEC cautioned.

"US oil demand is the wild card and any further downward adjustment in the country's oil demand would have an impact on total world oil demand," it said.

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