LONDON - Oil demand will grow steadily in 2019 thanks to a solid global economy and stable prices, although trade tensions remain the largest risk, the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday.
The IEA said it expects global oil demand to grow by 1.4 million barrels per day next year, to top 100 million bpd by the second quarter of the year. The agency expects demand to grow at the same rate this year, unchanged from its last report in May.
"A solid economic background and an assumption of more stable prices are key factors. Risks include possibly higher prices and trade disruptions. Some governments are considering measures to ease price pressures on consumers," the Paris-based agency said in its monthly report.
"There is the possibility of a downward revision to our economic assumptions in the next few months. The world economy is feeling some pain from higher oil prices."
The oil price has risen by a third to around $77 a barrel, close to its highest since late 2014, since OPEC and other producers including Russia began cutting production in January 2017 by 1.8 million bpd.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meets later this month to discuss its supply policy, particularly in light of protracted declines in Venezuela and the prospect of new U.S. sanctions on Iran later this year.
The group, together with its partners, may consider raising output to compensate for any supply shortfalls.
"If the other 12 OPEC members were to continue pumping at the same rate as May, a potential supply gap could emerge and lead to a draw on stocks of more than 1.6 million bpd in the fourth quarter of 2019," the report said.
Supply from outside OPEC is expected to grow by 2 million bpd this year, led predominantly by the United States, before easing to around 1.7 million bpd next year, the IEA said.
(Reporting by Amanda Cooper; Editing by Dale Hudson) ((email@example.com; +442075423424; Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: https://twitter.com/a_coops1))