(EnergyAsia, February 23 2012, Thursday) — The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) expects world oil demand to rise by 940,000 b/d or 1.07% in 2012, revised down from its previous forecast for growth of 1.06 million b/d or 1.21%.

The cartel lowered its outlook for world oil demand to 88.9 million b/d in line with its expectations for the world economy to grow by 3.4% in 2012 compared with 3.6% for 2011.

“Worries about the US economy along with EU debt concerns are adding to the uncertainties impacting world oil consumption this year. High retail petroleum prices have led to a further reduction in transport fuel usage,” OPEC said in its latest monthly report.

“Non-OECD regions, especially China, India, the Middle East and Latin America, are expected to contribute most of the forecast oil demand growth this year. Waning OECD economies are negatively affecting the oil market and imposing a considerable range of uncertainty over the short term.”

While forecasting the US economy to recover and grow by 2.2% in 2012, OPEC downgraded Japan’s expected growth to 1.8% from 1.9%, and the Euro-zone’s from 0.2% to minus 0.2%. 

Japan is still struggling to overcome the after-effects of last year’s earthquake-tsunami tragedy while the Euro-zone could yet collapse under the combined debts of several member countries.

OPEC noted that the emerging economies are also slowing down as it reduced its forecasts for China’s 2012 growth from 8.5% to 8.2% and India’s from 7.4% to 7.2%.

OPEC said high fuel prices are adding to worries about the OECD economies to slow down growth in world oil consumption this year.