Crude oil futures traded marginally higher early Thursday following the recent signs of improvement in China’s economy. China is one of the major consumers of crude oil globally.

At 9.56 am, May Brent oil futures were at $84.38, up by 0.08 per cent; and April crude oil futures on WTI were at $77.72, up by 0.04 per cent.

March crude oil futures were trading at ₹6,429 on Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) in initial trade against the previous close of ₹6,359, up by 1.10 per cent; and April futures were trading at ₹6,465 against the previous close of ₹6,397, up by 1.06 per cent.

China’s economy was affected for a long time due to the strict Covid control measures followed in that country. This, in fact, had affected the demand for crude oil in the world market. However, China started showing the signs of economic improvement by recording a PMI (Purchasing Managers’ Index) of 56.4 in February against 52.9 in January.

However, the increase in crude oil inventories in the US limited further gains in crude oil futures.

Official data from the US EIA (Energy Information Administration) on the petroleum status in the US for the week ending February 24, released on March 1, showed that the US commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the strategic petroleum reserve) saw an increase of 1.2 million barrels from the previous week.

At 480.2 million barrels, the US crude oil inventories were about 9 per cent above the five-year average for this time of year.

Total products supplied in the US over the last four-week period averaged 20.1 million barrels a day, down by 7.4 per cent from the same period last year. The US crude oil imports averaged 6.2 million barrels a day last week, a decline of 118,000 barrels a day from the previous week.

MCX Natural gas

March natural gas futures were trading at ₹231.20 on MCX in the initial trades against the previous close of ₹227.60, up by 1.58 per cent.

Guargum and Jeera

On the National Commodities and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX), the March guargum contracts were trading at ₹11,945 in the early trade against the previous close of ₹12052, down by 0.89 per cent.

March jeera futures were trading at ₹30,925 on NCDEX in the initial trading hours of Thursday against the previous close of ₹31,375, down by 1.43 per cent.