Hot Japanese demand oil

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The Independent Online
UNSEASONABLY warm weather in Japan is contributing to an increase in the worldwide demand for oil, according to the International Energy Agency.

Oil consumption by developed nations in the second quarter of 1994 was 38.5 million barrels a day, slightly higher than forecast, the IEA reported yesterday.

The Japanese season of heavy rain, the tsuyu, has not occurred and the country is enduring hot, dry conditions. The abnormal climate has prompted greater use of air-conditioning equipment, which has generated increased demand for oil.

Longer term, the Paris-based IEA is forecasting growing demand for oil in Europe in the first three months of next year as the Continent emerges from recession.

With continuing growth of consumption in Asia, the IEA expects global demand to be 70.2 million barrels a day in the first three months of 1995, 1.3 per cent higher than in the first quarter of this year.

Increasing demand means the recent upward trend in oil prices may continue. The price of a barrel of Brent crude for delivery one month forward has risen by about 35 per cent since the start of the year. The price for delivery in September see-sawed yesterday before closing 2 cents down at dollars 18.42.

If prices continues to rise Opec, the oil-producing cartel of mainly Arab countries, may decide to increase production.

The IEA, an offshoot of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, played down the potential effect of the strikes in the Nigerian oilfields.