Oil rallies to three-month high; analysts warn of glut

Baku, March 7, AZERTAC

Brent crude hit a three-month high on Monday, extending gains that have lifted crude benchmarks by more than a third from this year's lows on an improving global outlook and stronger sentiment for a market recovery, according to Reuters.

Front-month Brent crude futures LCOc1 traded as high as $39.50, the highest since early December, and were trading at $39.30 a barrel at 1230 GMT, up 58 cents from their last settlement. In January, prices fell to levels not seen since 2003.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures fetched $36.53 a barrel, up 61 cents from the last close. The day's high of $36.72 was more than 40 percent above February lows.

The May WTI contract settled on Friday at $35.92 a barrel, up 3.91 percent.

The gains were driven partly by a rally that took Asian equities to two-month highs. U.S. energy firms also cut oil rigs for an 11th week in a row to the lowest since December 2009, as producers slashed costs.

Bets on rising Brent crude prices hit a fresh record high in the week to March 1, according to data from the InterContinental Exchange, and major OPEC producers are privately starting to talk about a new oil price equilibrium of $50 a barrel, according to New York-based consultancy PIRA.

But analysts warned the glut of physical oil could again weigh on prices.

"The past days' oil price rally was from our perspective less related to a shift in fundamentals but a recovery of sentiment," said Norbert Ruecker, head of commodities research with Julius Baer, adding the bounce did not yet herald a long-term recovery.

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