OPEC sticks to 2013 oil demand projection

OPEC said on Friday that it still expects global oil demand to inch higher in 2013 despite a weaker-than-expected first quarter and concerns about growth in China and the eurozone.

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which accounts for around 35 percent of global crude output, forecast total average oil demand of 89.7 million barrels per day, up 0.8 mbpd from 2012, unchanged from its pervious projection.

"A fragile recovery in the global economy has been visible since the beginning of the year, but momentum has started slowing again and growth risks are skewed to the downside," the cartel said.

It said that for China, the main source of growth, recent data indicated that oil demand dropped significantly between January and March, with March showing the most sluggish rate in seven months.

This likely reflected "some weakness" in Chinese economic activity, with data for first-quarter economic growth coming in below consensus at 7.7 percent, OPEC noted.