Crude oil futures rose moderately Monday as traders worried that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) would not be able to provide enough oil during the winter months this year.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil futures for June delivery rose 1.07 dollars to end at 52.03 dollars per barrel. Meanwhile, on London's International Petroleum Exchange the June Brent crude-oil futures contract climbed 52 cents to settle at 51. 29 dollars.
While US crude inventories might continue to grow last week, traders feared that OPEC might not have sufficient stockpiles to meet demand late this year when global consumption peaked. OPEC was producing almost as much as it could, causing a surplus of about 1.2 million barrels a day, according to a senior OPEC official. However, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported earlier that global demand would rise to 86.1 million barrels a day in the fourth quarter, about 3.4 million higher than in the current quarter.
"The key this week will be the IEA's monthly report early Wednesday," said an analyst with Citigroup Inc. in Houston. "An increase of their demand forecast, which I think is likely, will have a significant effect on the market."
OPEC would meet on June 15 to consider boosting output targets. The oil cartel already raised its production targets by 500,000 barrels to 27.5 million a day at its March 16 meeting. Members promised to added another 500,000 barrels if prices rose sharply.
Meanwhile, many economists worried that higher energy prices would cause the slowdown in US economic growth to linger into the second quarter as businesses and consumers curbed spending. US economy was growing at a 3.1 percent annual rate in the first three months of 2005, lower than the 3.5 percent increase many economists had expected earlier.