The United States Brent Oil Fund (BNO) gained 38% in that same period, while the Energy Select SPDR (XLE | A-92) rallied more than 20%.
An increasing number of analysts are now suggesting that the bottom is in for the beaten-down commodity, with even higher prices ahead. Is that truly the case?
US Output Moves Lower
One thing that's clear is that nothing much has changed fundamentally since the Jan. 20 lows in oil. The market remains oversupplied to the tune of 2 million barrels per day this quarter, according to the International Energy Agency.
However, at a certain point, prices reflect all the bad news and more. Potentially, oil reached that point when it hit $27 for Brent and $26 for West Texas Intermediate.
Since then, there's been evidence of U.S. production edging slightly lower and OPEC production flattening out. According to the latest data from the Energy Information Administration, U.S. output touched 9.08 million barrels per day in the week ending Feb. 26―the lowest level since November 2014.
U.S. Crude Oil Production
With the U.S. oil rig count moving below 400 for the first time since 2009 last week, some analysts see the trend of lower U.S. output continuing.
OPEC + Russia Production Freeze
Meanwhile, OPEC production averaged 33.1 million barrels per day in February, according to Bloomberg―close to where it was in December and January.
Last month, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Qatar and Venezuela agreed to freeze their output at January levels, a move designed to at least stop adding to the global oversupply.
If the countries hold true to their promise, the freeze would ultimately tighten the market by reducing future supply. Some argue that OPEC and Russia could take it a step further in the coming months by actually cutting production, which would be unequivocally bullish.
Head Winds Remain
With sentiment so bearish and prices so cheap, it didn't take much to move oil prices sharply higher.
And though the market remains oversupplied right now, the ingredients certainly seem to be in place for a turn in the fundamentals down the line. That's likely what traders were thinking as they bid prices up by nearly half in the past several weeks.