The Iraqi Oil Minister, Jabar El Luaibi, expressed confidence that oil markets will tighten next year, Reuters reports.

“I am optimistic, and during the first quarter of next year there will be more balance between supply and demand, which will reflect positively on improving global oil prices,” the minister said.

According to the minister, oil inventories have fallen and the market is signaling that prices could improve next year—though US production could have some impact, the news agency reports.

Oil prices recently hit levels unseen since mid-2015, Reuters reported. Prices have since slipped somewhat.

Brent crude prices have climbed 17% this year, according to Business Insider.