Oil prices continued their upward trend on Monday with a boost in investor market sentiment from a rebound in global demand.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $78.14 per barrel at 0728 GMT for a 1.17% rise after closing Friday at $77.23 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $74.83 per barrel at the same time for a 1.14% increase after it ended the previous session at $73.98 a barrel.
Oil prices have been on the rise for the fifth consecutive week with Brent hitting the highest level since October 2018 at $78.64 a barrel early Monday.
A tightening market is mostly driving the price increases, as US inventories are now close to three-year lows, while the easing of pandemic restrictions is improving the oil demand outlook. Rising natural gas prices are also contributing to the uptick in oil demand, with oil now cheaper than gas.
The US oil rig count, an indicator of short-term production in the country, rose last week, according to the latest data released by oilfield services company Baker Hughes on Friday.
The number of oil rigs increased by 10 to 421 for the week ending Sept. 24 from 411 the previous week. On an annual basis, the oil rig count rose by 238 this year.
By Sibel Morrow