OPEC+ panel keeps oil demand forecast, but worried by coronavirus surge

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The OPEC+ joint technical committee (JTC) has kept its forecast for growth in global oil demand this year, but is concerned about surging COVID-19 cases in India and elsewhere, three sources from the producer group told Reuters.

In its most recent monthly oil market report, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) raised its forecast for global oil demand growth by 70,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 5.95 million bpd.

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“Demand growth is still at 6 million bpd for 2021,” one of the sources said.

The JTC meeting also expressed concern about rising COVID-19 cases in India, Japan and Brazil, the sources added.

Oil prices fell on Monday on fears that rising COVID-19 infections in India will dent fuel demand in the world's third-biggest oil importer.

India, which has set a world record in daily COVID-19 cases, ordered its armed forces on Monday to help tackle surging new infections that are overwhelming hospitals.

The JTC usually reviews market fundamentals and monitors compliance with the group’s oil production cuts.

Compliance levels for March were calculated at 113 percent, unchanged from levels in February, OPEC+ sources told Reuters last week.

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