Crude oil futures edged lower to Rs 3,863 per barrel on January 28 as participants increased their short position as seen by the open interest. The crude oil prices declined on worries of fuel demand amid restriction imposed by nations to contain COVID-19 outbreak offsetting the huge drawdown in US crude inventories.
The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that US crude inventories fell by 9.91 million barrels for the week ended January 22 as against market expectation of a rise of 0.4 million barrels.
However, supporting the prices was the US Federal Reserve's decision to stick to dovish tone and leave its key overnight interest rate near zero to maintain monetary support until there is a stronger rebound from the pandemic-triggered recession.
“NYMEX crude trades lower near $52.5/bbl pressurized by gains in the US dollar post-Fed decision, the Fed’s downbeat growth outlook, mixed economic data and rising coronavirus cases. However, supporting price is the EIA weekly inventory report which noted a sharp 9.91 million barrels decline in US crude oil stocks. Crude is also supported by reports of some US states easing restrictions. Crude has weakened along with other commodities on the back of the US dollar, but prices may remain supported by a sharp decline in US crude stocks,” said Ravindra Rao, VP- Head, Commodity Research at Kotak Securities.
Sunand Subramaniam, Senior Research Associate, Choice Broking said: “For the week ahead, we are expecting Global and MCX Crude prices to witness uptrend with fall in US crude inventories along with American stockpiles. Moreover, global oil demand is expected to rise by 7 percent this year, boosted by quicker vaccine distribution and a better economic outlook, as mentioned by the consultancy Wood Mackenzie, which is expected to support global crude prices in the longer duration.”
However, global oil prices could find capping on the higher side from extreme bullishness amid rising US Dollar Index and COVID-19 cases in western countries, Subramaniam noted.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was slightly down 0.11 percent quoting at $52.79 per barrel, while Brent crude, the London-based international benchmark, was down 0.09 percent to $55.48 per barrel.
MCX iCOMDEX Crude Oil Index inched lower 31.82 points, or 0.72 percent, at 4,391.87 at 16:07.
In the futures market, crude oil for February delivery touched an intraday high of Rs 3,860 and an intraday low of Rs 3,828 per barrel on the MCX. So far in the current series, black gold has touched a low of Rs 3,486 and a high of Rs 3,958.
Crude oil delivery for February slipped Rs 30, or 0.77 percent, to Rs 3,863 per barrel at 16:08 hours IST with a business turnover of 3,771 lots.
Crude oil delivery for March eased by Rs 15, or 0.39 percent, to Rs 3,878 per barrel with a business volume of 15 lots.
The value of February and March’s contracts traded so far is Rs 840.33 crore and Rs 0.03 crore, respectively.
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