West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery rose as much as 86 cents to $52.93 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, and was at $52.57 as of 12:28 p.m. London time.
In response to the drop in price in the second half of last year, OPEC and non-members plan to cut production by a joint 1.2 million bpd this year.
Last week, the US Energy Department forecast a slow recovery for Brent prices during 2019 - averaging US$61 a barrel for the year and nearing US$63 by the fourth quarter. "By the middle of the year, U.S. crude output will probably be more than the capacity of either Saudi Arabia or Russian Federation".
Just after the OPEC+ meeting in Vienna early last month, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said that the Kingdom would cut production to around 10.2 million bpd in January, and that Saudi crude oil exports would be cut to below 8 million bpd in December from some 8.3 million bpd in November.
Global oil supply fell by 950 thousand barrels per day (kb/d) in December, led by lower OPEC output with 100.6 million barrels per day (mb/d) ahead of new supply cuts, according to data of the International Energy Agency (IEA) on Friday. March Brent was recently trading at US$62.58.
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The supply reduction in December means that if OPEC fully implements the new January 1 cut, it will avoid a surplus that could weaken prices.
"By the middle of the year, USA crude output will probably be more than the capacity of either Saudi Arabia or Russian Federation", said the IEA.
Iran registered the third-largest decline in output, also involuntary, as USA sanctions that started in November discouraged companies from buying its oil.
"US exports of petroleum products have continued to increase, and in 2017, the United States was a net exporter of several petroleum products such as motor gasoline, distillate, hydrocarbon gas liquids, and jet fuel", according to the EIA. "Confidence is weakening in several major economies", said the report.
He pointed out that the USA sanctions already led to a strong fall in Iranian oil production and exports in 2018.
The shift in sentiment culminated with the global benchmark closing at its highest in eight weeks on Friday after China was said to propose a ramp-up in imports from the U.S.to end a trade war between the world's two largest economies. "Trade tensions have a direct negative impact on world economic growth and an indirect negative impact on world oil demand". China saw its exports fall unexpectedly in December by 4.4 percent, the most in two years, with imports also falling 7.6 percent in their biggest decline since July 2016.