OPEC has raised its 2023 forecast for global oil demand growth in its first upward revision for months, citing China's relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions and slightly stronger prospects for the world economy.

Global oil demand will rise this year by 2.32 MMbbl/d, or 2.3%, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said on Feb. 14 in a monthly report. The projection was 100,000 bbl/d higher than last month's forecast.

"Key to oil demand growth in 2023 will be the return of China from its mandated mobility restrictions and the effect this will have on the country, the region and the world," OPEC said in the report.

"Concern hovers around the depth and pace of the country's economic recovery and the consequent impact on oil demand."

OPEC was upbeat on prospects for the global economy, nudging up its forecast for 2023 growth. But it also said that a relative slowdown remained evident, citing high inflation and expectations of further increases to interest rates.

The report also showed that OPEC's crude oil production fell in January after the wider OPEC+ alliance pledged output cuts to support the market. Output declined in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran, offsetting increases elsewhere.

OPEC said its crude oil output in January fell by 49,000 bbl/d to 28.88 MMbbl/d.