The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said oil demand growth was "yet to show any signs of accelerating," in a report on Monday. However, it still hiked its demand forecast for 2015, predicting that low prices would help to boost demand later in the year.
In its monthly report, the cartel forecast that demand for its crude oil would rise to average around 29.21 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2015, up by around 430,000 on its previous estimate.
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"Crude oil prices started 2015 at a near six-year low, amid plentiful global oil supplies that have pushed oil prices down by almost 60 percent since June 2014, with oil demand growth yet to show signs of accelerating," OPEC said.
"This time the sharp fall in prices has been mainly driven by excess supply. As a result, lower prices are likely to help to accelerate the pace of oil demand growth this time," the group added.
Crude oil prices continued their downward trajectory throughout January, with "overflowing oil supplies and sluggish demand," weighing on prices, OPEC said. Both Brent and U.S. crude ended below $50 per barrel for the first time in over five-and-a-half years.
Meanwhile, OPEC slashed its forecast for non-OPEC oil supply on Monday to average 850,000 bpd in 2015. This was down 420,000 bpd on last month's forecast, with OPEC attributing the cut largely to the slowdown in the U.S. shale boom.