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Opec may raise oil production

LONDON: Opec will need to pump slightly more oil than it thought in 2013 and expects global consumption to be much higher in the rest of the year, signs of a stronger market that argue against any calls for supply restraint when the group meets on May 31.

Opec, in a monthly report yesterday, forecast 2013 demand for its crude will average 29.84 million barrels per day (bpd), up 90,000 bpd from the previous estimate.

Both world oil demand and the demand for Opec oil will increase in coming months.

The average requirement for Opec's crude in the second half will be 30.47m bpd, up from 29.14 m bpd in the current quarter.

Saudi Arabia's oil minister, in a speech in Ankara yesterday, said the outlook was brighter for big economies such as top oil consumer the US, even though Europe was still struggling.

"Europe continues to grapple with austerity and anemic levels of growth. That said, other regions are showing signs of progress," Ali Al Naimi said.

"Major economies are leading the way and the US economy is improving."

Oil has dropped to just above $103 a barrel from almost $120 at the start of February, worrying some in Opec.

But the expectation of stronger demand later in 2013 argues against any suggestion of lowering output, say Opec officials.



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