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Japan's oil market stable, minister says

Feb. 11, 2013 at 8:32 AM

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Meetings with Saudi officials in Riyadh weren't aimed at acquiring additional oil supplies for the Japanese market, Tokyo's trade minister said.

Japanese Trade Minister Toshimitsu Motegi brushed off reports from Nikkei news service that stated he met with Saudi Deputy Oil Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman to secure more oil for his economy.

"At the moment there is no concern whatsoever that Japan is undersupplied in terms of oil," he was quoted by Bloomberg News as saying from Abu Dhabi.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, in its January report, said it expected the Japanese economy to grow modestly because of fiscal and monetary stimulus efforts.

Oil consumption, however, is expected to remain steady for 2013 after the country took on more crude oil last year to offset nuclear shortfalls following the Fukushima disaster in 2011.

Riyadh last year said there enough crude oil available for Tokyo to ensure adequate supplies.

Both ministers said they viewed the oil market as stable and well-supplied. Japan's economy for 2013 is expected to grow 0.7 percent after experiencing a 2 percent growth rate last year.

OPEC's next monthly report is due Tuesday.

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