SEOUL, Oct 8 (Reuters) – Oil demand is being hit by the global credit squeeze triggered by the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis, the head of the International Energy Agency told Reuters on Monday.

“Our position is yes. The downside risk increased,” said Nobuo Tanaka, IEA executive director, when asked if the U.S. subprime woes were having an impact on oil demand.

“The OECD and the IMF are currently making assessment of that market (subprime). And we will see,” he added.

Tanaka was in Seoul to meet finance and energy ministry officials for a routine visit after he succeeded Claude Mandil as IEA executive director at the start of September.

Analysts have said the U.S. housing slump and credit woes, along with a rash of weak economic data have spurred concerns of a recession that would adversely impact oil demand growth.

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