Crude oil inched higher towards the $45 per barrel mark on Monday, a day after Hurricane Marco and Tropical Storm Laura tore through the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, forcing energy companies to pull workers from offshore platforms and shut down oil output. Global benchmark Brent futures rose by 34 cents – or 0.77 per cent – to $44.69 per barrel at the strongest level recorded during the session, having begun the day mildly higher $44.50 compared to Friday’s close of $44.35 per barrel. US benchmark WTI crude oil futures edged higher to $42.70 compared to their previous close of $42.34 per barrel on Friday.
At 1:38 pm, Brent traded 0.70 per cent higher at $44.66 per barrel while WTI quoted at $42.63 per barrel, up 0.68 per cent.
Crude oil prices have registered three weekly gains in a row, amid efforts by top producers to cut production amid prevalent concerns about recovery from the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the resultant lockdowns.
The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE)’s Brent futures are considered a benchmark for global oil markets, besides the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex)’s WTI crude futures.
Analysts expect oil prices to move sideways for the time being amid increasing COVID-19 cases around the globe.
“NYMEX crude trades moderately higher near $42.4/oz as support from storm concerns in Gulf of Mexico and upbeat US economic data is countered by rise in US crude oil rig count and some stability in US dollar index,” said Ravindra Rao, VP-head commodity research at Kotak Securities.
“Crude may remain rangebound unless there are fresh triggers however storm concerns and optimism about US economy may lend some support,” he said.
Meanwhile, domestic petrol prices were raised for the fifth consecutive day in the metros on Monday, whereas diesel rates were left unchanged.Currently, fuel prices vary in different parts of the country due to factors such as price of crude oil, foreign exchange rate and local taxes.
State-run oil marketing companies such as Indian Oil Corporation review the rates on a daily basis, and implemented any changes with effect from 6 am.
India is the world’s third largest importer and consumer of crude oil. (Also Read: India’s Crude Oil Imports Hit Over 5-Year Low In June)