Upbeat Investor Sentiment Push Oil Prices Higher

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By Brendel Balaga

Oil prices pushed higher on Friday hovering near $45 a barrel, for a third consecutive week of gains as investor sentiment turned more upbeat despite the failure of the Doha producers meeting last weekend.

Traders were feeling a bit more confident amid the oil glut, as investors continued to pour in cash, lifting prices.

International benchmark Brent crude futures went up 7 cents, or 0.1 percent to trade higher at $44.60 per barrel by 0912 GMT.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was also trading higher at $43.32 a barrel, up 14 cents, or 0.3 percent.

So far this week, Brent has gained roughly 3.4 percent and WTI 7.2 percent as both benchmarks rallied for a third straight week of gains.

Declining output levels, particularly in the United States, where many producers are shutting down, is also helping fuel the rally.

U.S. oil production is projected to fall by at least 500,000 to 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) this year, compared to last year, and by another 500,000 bpd next year.

Despite the recent rally, supply continues to outstrip demand by as much as 2 million barrels per day leaving storage facilities around the world filled with unwanted oil.

Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency said this week that non-OPEC oil output will drop significantly this year.

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