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Opec is taking a rosy view of global oil demand in 2022 despite concerns in other quarters that the Delta variant of Covid-19 could dampen economic activity and travel next year. In the group's latest Monthly Oil Market Report, Opec's number crunchers have raised their forecast of demand growth in 2022 by some 900,000 b/d to 4.2 million b/d. The new forecast pegs annual demand in 2022 at 100.83 million b/d, surpassing the pre-pandemic annual record of 100.03 million b/d in 2019. Demand in the third and fourth quarters of next year is projected to exceed 102 million b/d. The upward revision was expected, having been discussed at the most recent Opec-plus ministerial meeting. The International Energy Agency sees demand growing by 3.2 million b/d next year, while Energy Intelligence projects an increase of just 2.9 million b/d. Even if the new Opec estimate is close to the mark, the future trajectory of demand suggests that the broader Opec-plus alliance may need to pause its planned monthly production increases of 400,000 b/d by the end of this year.

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