Crude oil traded higher on Wednesday morning as a warning by the Saudi Energy Minister led to speculation of further production cuts by OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) in the coming days.

At 9.52 am on Wednesday, July Brent oil futures were at $77.61, up by 1 per cent, and July crude oil futures on WTI were at $73.76, up by 1.17 per cent.

June crude oil futures were at ₹6,121 on the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) during initial trading, against the previous close of ₹6,092, up by 0.48 per cent, and July futures were trading at ₹6,139, against the previous close of ₹6,113, up by 0.43 per cent.

The April surprise

Speaking at the Qatar Economic Forum in Doha on Tuesday, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Energy Minister of Saudi Arabia, said: “Speculators, like in any market, they are here to stay. I keep advising them that they will be ouching, they did ouch in April, I don’t have to show my cards, I’m not a poker player... but I would just tell them watch out.”

A surprise production cut in April by Saudi Arabia and other OPEC producers amid a decline in prices, had helped lift prices then.

Taking a hint from the Saudi minister’s statement on Tuesday, some market reports said OPEC and its allies, known as OPEC+, may resort to further production cuts at its meeting on June 4. Further production cuts may lead to tight supply in global markets, leading to an increase in the price of the commodity.

Meanwhile, data from the American Petroleum Institute (API) showed a decline in crude oil inventories in the US. According to API data, crude oil inventories declined by 6.79 million barrels for the week ending May 19. However, the market was expecting an increase in crude oil inventories during the period. The market is now awaiting official data from the US EIA (Energy Information Administration), which is expected later on Wednesday. A decline in inventories levels indicates demand for the commodity in the US market, one of the major crude oil consumers.

Turmeric tops ₹8,000

May zinc futures were trading at ₹210.95 on MCX, against the previous close of ₹214.75, down by 1.77 per cent.

On the National Commodities and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX), June turmeric (farmer polished) contracts were trading at ₹8,000 a quintal, against the previous close of ₹7,846, up by 1.96 per cent.

June steel long futures were trading at ₹45,670 on NCDEX, against the previous close of ₹45,790, down by 0.26 per cent.