Oil Prices Rise on Improving Market Outlook

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By Brendel Balaga

Oil prices edged higher on Friday after encouraging economic indicators from the United States and Germany, which could translate to increased demand for fuel, boosted investor confidence.

Market players were feeling bullish early on Friday after the U.S. Federal Reserve said that the world’s biggest economy was on course for more economic growth​.

Meanwhile, ratings agency Moody’s said that Germany, which is Europe’s biggest economy, is projected to see some acceleration in growth of up to 1.8 percent this year.

Declines in U.S. shale oil output and the prospect of a freeze in oil production also helped boost prices.

U.S. crude futures tacked on $1.41 to trade at $38.67 per barrel as of 11:09 AM GMT, while International benchmark Brent futures gained $1.39 to trade at $40.82 a barrel.​

Analysts, however, cautioned that oil prices could drop again as the global market remain oversupplied. They are also skeptical about the much-touted output freeze deal.

Representatives from 15 oil-producing countries, including Russia and Saudi Arabia, are scheduled to meet in Doha on April 17 to discuss details of the oil output freeze.

Top exporters Russia and Saudi Arabia brokered an agreement with Qatar and Venezuela in February to freeze oil output at their January levels, but the deal has yet to materialize.

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