Oil cools as Chinese exports fall

Less than expected rise in oil demand in China, Europe and the US next year, as economic growth falters, would push up stockpiles of fuel, offering some relief to consumers facing high prices.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Friday that it had revised its estimates of oil use worldwide for several years, cutting its 2013 demand forecast by 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) as a "worrying slowdown" continued in global economic activity.

The decline could mostly be attributed to a slowing in economic growth in China, which would consume much less oil this year and next, the IEA said in its monthly oil market report.

"Lower economic growth is feeding through to slower oil demand all round," said David Fyfe, head of the IEA's markets division. "Global inventories have risen, and the oil market looks comfortably supplied."

The IEA report conformed to the downbeat forecasts this week by the US government and the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

According to the three top energy market forecasters, output of crude oil had exceeded demand by a wide margin in the first half of this year, which filled up oil stocks and lending a significant cushion to cope with any unexpected shock to supplies.