OPEC sees 2013 demand downside risk

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OPEC said on Tuesday its production declined in November closer to its oil output target, led by a cut in Saudi Arabian output, and warned world oil demand growth could underperform in the first half of 2013 due to economic weakness.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, in a monthly report, said its production in November fell 210,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 30.78 million bpd, according to secondary sources. Top exporter Saudi Arabia told OPEC it cut output by 230,000 bpd to 9.49 million bpd.

OPEC's report comes a day before the group meets in Vienna and contained no major adjustments in the outlook. The group is widely expected to retain its output target of 30 million bpd when it meets on Wednesday.

The report left its forecast for growth in world demand in 2013 unchanged at 770,000 bpd and forecast demand for OPEC crude next year would average 29.7 million bpd - unchanged from last month and down 400,000 bpd from 2012.

However, OPEC expects the first half of 2013 to see softer demand for its crude, an average of 29.25 million bpd, implying inventories could build up by about 1.5 million bpd should OPEC maintain November's output rate.

"Weakness in the global economy is causing a great deal of uncertainty for the forecast for world oil demand, which has a downward risk, especially in the first half of the year," said the report.

OPEC, source of more than a third of the world's oil, added that a pick-up in world economic growth to 3.2 percent from 3.0 percent in 2012 would prop up the market overall.

"Despite the considerable uncertainties affecting supply and demand in the market, and without underestimating the potential impact of non-fundamental factors, the improving economic outlook for the coming year should help support oil market stability," the report said.

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