a worker filling containers with crude oil at an informal oil field in Minhla township, central Myanmar
This photo taken on March 10, 2019 shows a worker filling containers with crude oil at an informal oil field in Minhla township, central Myanmar. - The fields near Minhla are Myanmar's equivalent of the old American Wild West, where informal oil entrepreneurs scramble from site to site in the hope of drilling deep and striking lucky.YE AUNG THU/AFP/Getty Images [Representational Image]

Oil prices rose on Friday, pushed up by ongoing supply cuts led by producer club OPEC and US sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, which have given crude markets the biggest first quarter price push since 2009.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were at $59.54 per barrel at 0100 GMT, up 24 cents, or 0.4 per cent, from their last settlement.

Brent crude oil futures had yet to trade.

Oil prices have been supported for much of 2019 by efforts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-affiliated allies like Russia, known as OPEC+, who have pledged to withhold around 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) of supply this year to prop up markets.

"Production cuts from the OPEC+ group of producers have been the main reason for the dramatic recovery since the 38 per cent price slump seen during the final quarter of last year," said Ole Hansen, head of the commodity strategy at Saxo Bank.

"In fact, the recovery has been so strong and swift that WTI is currently heading towards its biggest quarterly gain – currently 32 per cent – since Q2 2009, when the recovery from the global financial crisis saw it jump by more than 40 per cent," he added.

The price surge triggered a call by US President Donald Trump on Thursday for OPEC to boost production to lower prices.

"Very important that OPEC increases the flow of Oil. World Markets are fragile, the price of Oil getting too high. Thank you!" Trump wrote in a post on Twitter.

However, the OPEC+ cuts are not the only reason for rising oil prices this year, with analysts also pointing to US sanctions on oil exporters and OPEC members Iran and Venezuela as reasons for the surge.

Saxo Bank's Hansen said, "the biggest short-term risk to the oil market is likely to be driven by renewed stock market weakness."

Stock markets have been volatile this year amid signs of a sharp global economic slowdown.

"Business confidence has weakened in recent months ... (and) global manufacturing PMI is about to move into contraction," Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a note, although it added that "the services sector ... continues to expand unabated."

Given the OPEC+ cuts, however, Bank of America said it expected oil prices to rise in the short-term, with Brent prices forecast to average $74 per barrel in the second quarter.

Heading towards 2020, however, the bank warned of a recession.

"We are growing more concerned about the outlook for 2020. Manufacturing tends to lead to consumer confidence ... A deeper dive into protectionism could eventually kill burgeoning global consumer sentiment and trigger a global recession," it said.