Oil prices little-changed as IEA sees slower demand growth

[NEW YORK] Oil prices were barely changed on Friday as the International Energy Agency forecast that global demand will grow more slowly next year.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in August edged down four cents to US$52.74 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent North Sea crude for August, the international benchmark, rose to US$58.73 a barrel in London, a gain of 12 cents from Thursday's close.

The International Energy Agency, in its first estimates for 2016, forecast that global oil demand would grow by 1.2 million barrels per day next year, compared with 1.4 million barrels a day this year.

Meanwhile it said global oil output grew by 550,000 barrels a day in June alone, to 96.6 million barrels a day, up on average by 3.1 million barrels from a year ago.

Underpinning that supply-demand mismatch, the agency said, is the increase in oil production by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in June to a three-year high of 31.7 million barrels.

"Global supply and demand balances suggest that the rate of global stock increases quickened rapidly to an astonishing 3.3 million barrels a day during the second quarter," the IEA said.

In the United States, the weekly report by oilfield services company Baker Hughes showed the US oil rig count rose for a second straight week, by five, after increasing by 12 the prior week.

The report suggested the recent steep decline in US drilling was ending, heightening oversupply worries.

"The slide in the rig count has clearly bottomed as producers have reduced production costs," said Andy Lipow of Lipow Oil Associates.


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