Oil demand set to increase in 2012, IEA says

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Global oil demand will increase further next year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has predicted.

The IEA, which represents the main oil consuming nations, said the increase in crude usage would continue to be driven by emerging economies.

It estimates that demand will grow by an average of 1.47 million barrels a day in 2012, up from the current 2011 average daily growth of 1.2 million.

Last month, IEA members released oil stocks to try to reduce prices.

The move came after oil producers' cartel Opec voted against increasing supplies, although the world's largest producer, Saudi Arabia, did unilaterally raise its export levels.

US light crude oil was down 14 cents at $97.29 a barrel in Wednesday trading, while Brent was eight cents lower at $117.67.

Oil prices have fallen over the past week as concerns have risen that the debt crisis in the eurozone may spread to Italy and Spain, thereby reducing crude consumption in Europe.

However, crude prices have risen over the past year, led by strong demand from China and other fast-developing economies.

US light crude hit a record high of $147 a barrel in July 2008 before the global financial crisis hit global growth.

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