Benchmark oil contract Brent North Sea crude climbed back to $60 per barrel today, with OPEC cutting output and on easing concerns over weak demand growth. 

Brent crude for delivery in March hit $60 for the first time in three and a half weeks this morning.

It was up 20% compared with two weeks ago, prior to an oil production cut by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-cartel producers from January 1. 

After reaching $60.05, Brent cooled slightly to $59.79, up $1.07 from yesterday's close. 

Brent and the world's other key contract, WTI, slumped late last year, hitting 18-month low points at $49.93 and $42.36 per barrel respectively. 

WTI for February delivery was up $1.23 today to $51.01 per barrel. 

OPEC - a cartel of producer countries that has long manipulated output of the commodity, to influence global prices in members' favour - and non-OPEC members, notably Russia, in December agreed to trim production by 1.2 million barrels a day from the start of this year to shore up sagging prices. 

OPEC and its partners, which together account for around half of global output, have presided over a glut in the market which had led to oil prices tumbling by more than 30% between October and December.