The International Energy Agency (IEA) has raised its estimates for oil demand next year but says soaring shale production in America should ensure there are no shortages in supply.
Improving economic conditions in China and the US is likely to result in about 865,000 barrels of extra crude demand during 2013, to reach total consumption to 90.5m barrels a day, according to the IEA’s latest oil report.
That figure is more than 110,000 barrels more than estimated just four weeks ago even though the IEA believes demand will remain sluggish in the first half of the year.
The expected increase in overall demand, plus increasing speculation that America is about to unleash a new round of quantitative easing to further boost the domestic economy, helped to raise Brent crude futures to $109 a barrel.
Meanwhile, a meeting of Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) ministers in Vienna agreed to hold its official output at 30m barrels a day. But there is unease inside Opec that relatively low-demand growth, accompanied by major increases in American and Iraqi oil production, could lead to a price collapse next year.