China’s Oil Demand Exploding

China’s demand for oil jumped by an “astonishing” 28% in January compared with the same month a year earlier, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says.

The body added that demand for oil in 2010 would be underpinned by rising demand from emerging markets, with half of all growth coming from Asia.

But the IEA predicted demand in developed countries would fall by 0.3%.

The IEA has increased its global oil demand forecast for 2010 by 1.8% to 86.6 million barrels a day.

Oil prices are currently at their highest point for two months, with US light, sweet crude above $82 a barrel and Brent crude more than $80 a barrel.

The IEA said the high price level was due to “heightening of geopolitical tensions affecting some producing countries”, but that this had been balanced by “ample physical oil supplies”.

Crude oil production by countries in the oil producers’ cartel Opec rose to a 14-month high of 29.2 million barrels a day in February.

During February, Iraq pumped an extra 115,000 barrels a day.

Opec is due to meet on 17 March and the IEA expects it will maintain its current production targets.

Courtesy of the BBC News Service.

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