World Bank sees oil at $63 a barrel in 2010

ISTANBUL: Oil prices are expected to average 63 dollars in 2010, after 55.5 dollars in 2009, the World Bank said in a report on the Middle East and North Africa released in Istanbul on Saturday.

Those prices are "sufficient to avoid a major crisis in oil-producing countries, but much lower than the boom of 2008," said the "Economic Development and Prospects" report.

The World Bank said that oil prices in 2009 were unlikely to be significantly affected by the factors that had contributed to high prices before mid-2008.

"Global demand is likely to remain low," said the report, released in the run-up to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund annual meetings in the Turkish financial capital.

The IMF did not provide oil price projections for 2010 in its semi-annual World Economic Outlook report, published Thursday.

According to its WEO report, global oil demand is expected to rise to 85.7 million barrels per day in 2010 from 84.4 mbpd in 2009, but still be below the 2008 level of 86.3 mbpd.

Oil prices dropped below 70 dollars a barrel Friday after the US government reported worse than expected unemployment data that hammered economic recovery hopes for the world's largest energy-consuming nation.