NEW DELHI, April 17 The fall in oil prices from
this year's high since mid-February shows that the market is
sufficiently supplied, said Maria van der Hoeven, executive
director of the International Energy Agency, adding that the
slide may help the global economy.
Brent crude sank below $100 a barrel on Tuesday for the
first time in nine months after data from China and the United
States weakened the outlook for demand. The benchmark has mostly
held above $100 a barrel since 2011 on supply worries that
started with the civil unrest in Libya and then were boosted by
escalating tensions over Iran's nuclear programme.
Policymakers worldwide have worried that high energy costs
threaten to derail the nascent recovery in the global economy
from the financial crisis. Brent crude is now down about 16
percent from the year's high at $119.17, hit on Feb. 8.
"I really do hope that this will help ... because as we all
know high oil prices have an impact on economic recovery," Van
der Hoeven told Reuters. "I think it also shows what we said
more than once that there is no supply problem."
The International Energy Agency trimmed its estimate for
global growth in oil demand in 2013, the third of the world's
top oil forecasters last week to predict weaker consumption.
The Paris-based IEA, which advises 28 industrialised
countries on energy policy, expects world oil use to rise by
795,000 barrels per day (bpd) this year, or 25,000 bpd less than
it previously thought.
Disappointing economic growth in the United States and
several developing economies as well as deep recession in parts
of Europe have eroded demand for fuel at a time when oil output
has been increasing quickly, particularly in North America.
The U.S. government's Energy Information Administration and
the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries last week
also lowered their forecasts for 2013 oil demand growth.
"Energy prices in particular, when they are too high, they
have an impact on economic growth and the economic recovery,"
van der Hoeven said.
Data from China, the world's second-largest oil consumer,
showed economic growth had unexpectedly slowed in the first
three months of 2013.
(Reporting by Nidhi Verma and Jo Winterbottom; Writing by
Manash Goswami; Editing by Ed Davies and Tom Hogue)