Increases in oil supplies are urgently needed to prevent further price increases from crimping the worldwide economic recovery, the International Energy Agency said Thursday.
Despite the major selloff in energy commodities, oil prices remain elevated as a result of geopolitical uncertainty, fundamentals and future expectations, the agency that represents major energy-consuming countries said.
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"As global demand for oil increases seasonally from May to August, there is a clear, urgent need for additional supplies," the IEA said. "Oil importing developing countries are most likely to be seriously affected by high oil prices, undermining their economic and social well-being."
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries -- which represents many of the world's largest oil producers -- contends, however, that there are no supply issues.
"There is no shortage of oil anywhere in the world," said OPEC secretary general Abdalla S. El-Badri, in a speech last month, adding the cartel has 4.5 million barrels a day in spare capacity.
El-Badri blamed a combination of speculation in the futures market and high taxes on energy products in many countries for the sudden rise, advising countries to cut taxes to relieve pressure caused by high prices.