LONDON (Reuters) – OPEC maintained its forecast on Tuesday for robust growth in global oil demand in 2023 and 2024, relying on the fact that the largest economies are doing better than expected despite the rates high interest rates and significant inflation.

Global oil demand will increase by 2.25 million barrels per day in 2024, compared to growth of 2.44 million in 2023, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said in its monthly report. These forecasts are unchanged from last month.

The lifting of pandemic restrictions in China has contributed to the increase in oil demand in 2023.

“Ongoing global economic growth is expected to boost oil demand, notably due to the recovery of tourism, air travel and the continued mobility of motorists,” OPEC said in its report, forecasting that global demand will exceed the levels of 2019, before the pandemic, from this year.

OPEC and its allies, united under the name OPEC+, began limiting supply in 2022 to support the market. Last week, the barrel of Brent, the world benchmark, exceeded $90 for the first time this year, after Saudi Arabia and Russia extended their voluntary production cuts.

The price of Brent reached a peak on Tuesday at $92.32 per barrel after the publication of the OPEC report, the highest since November 2022.

OPEC also maintained its forecast of global economic growth of 2.7% this year and 2.6% in 2024.

The report also showed that OPEC production increased by 113,000 barrels per day in August to 27.45 million. A Reuters investigation found that production rose last month largely because of Iran.

Iran is exempt from OPEC and OPEC+ production cuts due to international sanctions against it.

(Reporting by Alex Lawler; Victor Goury-Laffont, editing by Blandine Hénault)

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