Firming growth in leading economies pushed OPEC to raise slightly its estimate for global demand for oil this year.

OPEC, which produces about 35% of the world's oil, said today it now expected demand to total 90.98 million barrels per day. That is an increase of 80,000 barrels per day from the last estimate last month.

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries also revised slightly upwards its estimate for how much oil was consumed last year to 89.89 mbd.

"The United States recovery continues with a better than expected dynamic," OPEC said in its monthly review of the oil market. 

"The euro zone continues its recovery from a very low level and a mixed growth pattern, as has been observed in the past months," it added.

OPEC raised its estimate of demand this year from the 34 advanced democracies in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

It now estimated that this consumption would shrink by 130,000 barrels per day from the level last year compared with the estimate last month that demand would fall by 190,000 barrels per day.

The overall growth of global demand between last year and this year is being driven again by emerging economies, OPEC said.

Demand from China was expected to increase by 340,000 bd to 10.40 mbd. That would be in line with the increase of 330,000 bd expected for 2013 from the 2012 level.

In North America, demand remained on a strong trend in the fourth quarter, OPEC said. Initial data for December and January indicated that this trend would continue in the next few months.

In Europe, demand in the four main economies in Germany, Britain, France and Italy firmed slightly in December.