Global oil demand is expected to increase by around 6% to an average of 96.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2021, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said in its Monthly Oil Market Report on Thursday, keeping its previous projection unchanged, according to Anadolu Agency.

Lower-than-expected data from OECD Americas and Europe in the first quarter of 2021 put downward pressure on annual demand projections, however, positive mobility developments on the back of easing restriction measures and border openings across the region encouraged an upward revision to the second-quarter data, the report said.

Pointing to unforeseen developments from COVID-19 due to the emergence of new variants, the report did not rule out a possible negative outlook for the rest of the year.

However, the report said investor optimism, bolstered by accelerating COVID-19 vaccination in western countries along with easing mobility restrictions, overshadowed the deteriorating COVID-19 situation in several Asian countries in May, specifically India, and to a lesser extent in Japan.

The report further stressed a tightening of oil markets although investors remain optimistic about a further oil demand recovery during the summer holiday season.

It also underscored the decision of OPEC and non-OPEC producers to uphold market confidence by gradually adjusting production levels from May to July.

Demand for OPEC crude in 2021 is forecast to stand at 27.7 million bpd, which is 5 million bpd higher than in 2020.