LONDON, Dec 11 (Reuters) – Surging oil demand and faltering supplies mean oil prices face upside risks over the next few months, the West's energy watchdog said on Wednesday.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its monthly report that after eight consecutive quarters of contraction, oil demand in the world's heavily industrialised countries returned to growth in the second quarter of this year.
Since then, demand for fuel had accelerated, particularly in the United States, the world's biggest oil consumer.
Last month, U.S. oil demand jumped above 20 million barrels per day (bpd) for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis, IEA data showed, although it was not clear whether part of this demand reflected higher exports from U.S. refiners.
"The trend shows a bounce in oil demand, not just in the United States but in Europe as well," Antoine Halff, head of the IEA's oil industry and markets division, told Reuters.
"The big contraction in demand that we have seen for the last few years seems to have flattened out and reversed for now," he added.
The IEA, which advises large oil-importing nations on energy policy, said this could help strengthen the oil market.
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