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Brent crude oil up marginally as US inventories decline


Brent crude oil futures traded marginally higher on Thursday morning following a decline in inventories in the US. However, the economic slowdown in China and prospects of further rate hikes in the US, limited further gains in the price of the commodity.

At 9.53 am on Thursday, October Brent oil futures were at $83.48, up by 0.04 per cent, and September crude oil futures on WTI (West Texas Intermediate) were at $79.35, down by 0.04 per cent.

August crude oil futures were trading at ₹6,593 on the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) during initial trading against the previous close of ₹6,646, down by 0.80 per cent, and September futures were trading at ₹6,577 against the previous close of ₹6,624, down by 0.71 per cent.

Below 5-year average

A petroleum status report by the US EIA (Energy Information Administration) for the week ending August 11 showed a decline of 6 million barrels of commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the strategic petroleum reserve) in the US. At 439.7 million barrels, US crude oil inventories were about 1 per cent below the five-year average for this time of year.

The products supplied over the last four-week period averaged 20.9 million barrels a day, up by 3.8 per cent from the same period last year.

US crude oil imports averaged 7.2 million barrels a day last week, an increase of 4,76,000 barrels a day from the previous week. Over the past four weeks, crude oil imports averaged about 6.7 million barrels a day, 4.1 per cent more than the same four-week period last year.

However, recent economic indicators from China have failed to enthuse the market. Though China’s central bank cut key rates earlier this week, it did not have much impact on market sentiments.

Being one of the major consumers of crude oil in the world market, the economic slowdown in that country has been causing concern over demand prospects for the commodity.

Meanwhile, the minutes of the July meeting of the US Federal Reserve on Wednesday showed that the rate-setting committee had supported higher interest rates to control inflation in that country. This strengthened the dollar further, putting pressure on the price of commodities such as crude oil that is traded in dollars.

Jeera turns hot, turmeric loses shine

August zinc futures were trading at ₹208.50 on the MCX, against the previous close of ₹210.10, down by 0.76 per cent.

On the NCDEX, dhaniya (coriander) October futures gained ₹18 at ₹7,420 a quintal, while guar gum September contracts were up ₹6 at ₹12,690 a quintal. Jeera September futures surged ₹500 to ₹59,090 a quintal, and turmeric October contracts declined by ₹154 to ₹15,850 a quintal.

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