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The previous week began with decline in oil prices due to concerns about the slowdown in global economic growth caused by the aggravation of the trade conflict between the US and China.

Forecasts on world economic growth rates have become more pessimistic. Futures on the international benchmark Brent fell 18 cents or 0.3% to $ 58.35 per barrel. Futures for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) fell 21 cents, or 0.4%, to $ 54.29 per barrel. Alfonso Esparza, senior analyst at OANDA, said: “Oil prices are falling, primarily due to weakening forecasts for rising demand in the oil markets. In addition, the aggravation of the trade conflict between the US and China does not inspire optimism. ”

Meanwhile, refining volumes in China increased by 4% compared to the previous year and approached record levels, due to an increase in the refining margin, as well as the launch of work at new plants. In the previous month, a total of 52.6 million tons of oil was refined at the refinery. This is about 12.39 million barrels per day, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. At the same time, oil production in China in July exceeded 2.5% the previous year to about 3.84 million barrels per day.

In the second half of the week, Iranian authorities announced that work on the oil pipeline from the north-west of the country to the southern terminal east of the Strait of Hormuz would be completed by March 2021. The pipeline, worth two billion US dollars, will have a length of 1,100 kilometers and will be able to transport one million barrels of oil per day from the oil terminal in Gurekha in the northwest to the Yask region in the Oman Sea. Thus, the Strait of Hormuz will no longer be needed by the country. In the Persian Gulf, only two oil producers - Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) - currently have some (limited) options for bypassing the Strait of Hormuz. The daily transit in the strait in 2018 was 21 million barrels of oil per day. Iran’s main competitor, Saudi Arabia, plans to increase the capacity of its East-West pipeline, stretching from oil fields in the east (and in the Persian Gulf) to the Yanbu port on the Red Sea.

At the end of the week, OPEC lowered its forecast for world oil demand growth in 2019 by 40 thousand barrels per day to 1.1 million barrels per day, while maintaining its forecast for 2020 at 1.14 million barrels per day. "In 2019, oil demand is expected to grow by 1.1 million barrels per day (in annual terms), a downward revision of about 0.04 million barrels per day compared with the forecast for the previous month," said August organization report. The worsening forecast is mainly due to weaker than expected demand for oil in several countries of America, Asia and the Middle East in the first half of the year. Thus, the world oil demand in 2019, as expected by OPEC, will reach 99.92 million barrels per day.

In 2020, according to OPEC estimates, demand will average 101.05 million barrels per day. The forecast for demand growth has been preserved, but there are risks of its decline due to uncertainty in the global economy, the organization warns. Demand from OECD countries will show positive dynamics, mainly due to growth in America. In Europe and the Asia-Pacific, demand will continue to decline, OPEC expects.

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