(EnergyAsia, February 28 2013, Thursday) — Bowing to further evidence of a near-term global economic recovery, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) raised its forecast for 2013 world oil demand growth to 840,000 b/d after holding it unchanged at under 800,000 b/d the three previous months.

In its February report, OPEC said it expects world demand to reach 89.68 million b/d, revised sharply higher from its January forecast of 88.55 million b/d.

Led by China, the developing economies will add around 700,000 b/d of new consumption to account for the bulk of the world’s oil demand growth, said OPEC. In contrast, the developed economies will experience a 300,000 b/d contraction in oil demand to add to last year’s estimated 400,000 b/d decline.

After growing by 330,000 b/d last year, the cartel expects China’s oil demand to rise by 370,000 b/d to over 10.07 million b/d in 2013.

“Apparent Chinese oil demand in December 2012 grew strongly by almost 6% year-on-year, the largest monthly growth during 2012, to stand at 10.5 million b/d. Part of this increase was due to the stronger economic growth of 7.8% in the fourth quarter,” said OPEC.

“This has boosted demand of raw materials as well as consumption of fuel oil. At the same time, higher refinery throughput, which rose by 8.4% in December, also contributed to increasing apparent demand in China.”

The cartel expects the world economy to grow by 3.2% this year, up from with 3% in 2012, with China and India charging ahead to offset slower growth in the US and Japan. China’s economy is seen growing by 8.1% in 2013, compared with 7.8% last year, while India’s will expand by 6.1% versus 5.5% previously. US economic growth will slow to 1.8% from 2.2% while Japan’s is forecast at 0.7% compared with 2% in 2012. OPEC expects the Euro-zone economy to grow by 0.1% to reverse a 0.4% decline last year.