The upward revision marks a change of tone from previous months, in which OPEC has lowered demand forecasts because of continued lockdowns. A further recovery could bolster the case for OPEC and its allies, known as OPEC , to unwind more of last year’s record oil output cuts. Oil gained further towards $64 a barrel after the report was released on Tuesday. Prices have risen to pre-pandemic highs above $70 this year, boosted by anticipation of economic recovery and OPEC supply restraint.
OPEC agreed on April 1 to ease oil output cuts gradually from May, after the new U.S. administration called on Saudi Arabia to keep energy affordable for consumers. The report also showed higher OPEC oil output already as Iran, exempt from making voluntary cuts because of U.S. sanctions, pumped more in March, driving a 200,000 bpd rise in the group’s output to 25.04 million bpd. OPEC cut supply by a record 9.7 million bpd last year to support the market as demand collapsed. Most of those curbs remain in place even after the April 1 decision. OPEC holds its next policy meeting on April 28.