OPEC cut its forecast for global oil demand on Thursday, a move that should help build the case for continuing oil supply curbs from some of the world’s biggest producers in the second half of 2019. Oil consumption will increase by just over 1.14 m barrels a day this year, which is 70,000 b/d less than prior expectations, OPEC’s research arm said in a monthly market report. Escalations in trade disputes between the US and China, poorer economic performance from Brazil, Russia and India and other uncertainties present further risks for oil demand. “Recent escalations in trade disputes are expected to lead to lower economic growth rates,” OPEC said. “Several emerging and developing economies continue to face challenges, including high debt levels. Moreover, Brexit, fiscal issues in some EU Member Countries, Japan’s slowdown, and the fading impact of US fiscal stimulus pose additional risks,” it added. OPEC and its allies outside of the cartel such as Russia pledged in December to cut output by at least 1.2 m barrels a day in 2019. Producers have far exceeded those cuts and countries are set to meet in the coming weeks in Vienna to decide on future oil policy. Financial Times

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