The international oil cartel Opec has increased its forecast for global gross domestic product growth in 2010 but has cut its crude oil demand projection following continued uncertainty over US demand levels.

World GDP will grow by 3.4 per cent in 2010, Opec predicted in a report on 10 February. This forecast is up from the 3.1 per cent growth figure that the cartel forecast in January. The increase comes after renewed optimism over growth in India and China.

However, oil demand is only projected to grow by 810,000 barrels a day (b/d) in 2010, according to the Opec report. This is down from the cartel’s January forecast of 820,000 b/d.

Demand had been expected to grow faster in the US than it has to date, and Opec analysts remain concerned that growth seen in countries which are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development has been skewed by the recent cold weather in Europe.

The cartel’s output hit 29.19 million b/d in January, said the cartel, citing secondary sources. This is up 63,000 b/d from February and reflects a trend which has resulted in Opec production rising steadily since mid-2009 as demand and oil prices improved.

The average price for crude oil produced by the cartel’s 12 members was $69.76 on 9 February, up from the $41.41 average in February 2010.