Kuwait hails faster than expected oil price rally

Kuwaiti Oil Minister, Ali al-Omair, speaks during a forum in Kuwait City, on January 21, 2015 (AFP Photo/Yasser Al-Zayyat)

Kuwait City (AFP) - Kuwaiti Oil Minister Ali al-Omair said on Monday that world crude prices have recovered "faster" than expected and that recent gains will likely hold.

"Oil prices have improved faster than expected," Omair told reporters.

"I think it will last... It started holding gains now and hopefully, in the second part of 2015, we will see better prices," the minister said.

Crude has been on a rollercoaster for the past two weeks after prices fell by around 60 percent between June and January.

After plumbing lows of close to $40 a barrel, international benchmark Brent North Sea crude for April delivery rallied to $61.19 last week.

Market sentiment has been bolstered by cuts in output by North American shale producers that have raised expectations of a reduction in the current supply glut.

Omair said that reports from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries suggested that excess supply was being reduced more quickly than expected.

Surplus production "is definitely lower," than the 1.8 million barrels per day that OPEC and other agencies had estimated during the past few months, he said.