OPEC cuts exports amid fall in winter demand

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will cut crude shipments through early February as easing growth in Asia adds to a seasonal slowdown in demand, according to Oil Movements.

OPEC, supplier of about 40% of the world’s oil, will reduce sailings by 210,000 barrels a day, or 0.9%, to 23.66 million barrels in the four weeks to Feb. 8, the researcher said today in a report. That compares with 23.87 million in the period to Jan. 11. The figures exclude two of OPEC’s 12 members, Angola and Ecuador.

“Sailings are low and have fallen in the last month,” Oil Movements founder Roy Mason said by phone from Halifax, England. “Looking forward, there is going to be a move up.”

Oil demand, which typically ebbs towards the end of the first quarter, has weakened more than normal this year because of lower consumption in Asia, according to Oil Movements. China’s manufacturing may contract in January for the first time in six months, a gauge released by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics indicated today. Brent futures traded near $108 a barrel in London today after falling about 4.6% in the past year.

Middle Eastern exports will decline by 1.9% to 17.17 million barrels a day in the month to Feb. 8, compared with 17.51 million in the previous period, according to Oil Movements. The figures include non-OPEC nations Oman and Yemen.

Crude on board tankers will drop 2.9% to 474.38 million barrels through Feb. 8 from 488.59 million in the previous period, data from Oil Movements show. The researcher calculates volumes by tallying tanker bookings and excludes crude held on vessels for storage.

OPEC’s members are Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. The group will next meet on June 11 at its headquarters in Vienna.

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