Crude oil futures traded lower on Friday morning following the statement of the US Energy Secretary, Jennifer Granholm, that refilling of strategic petroleum reserves (SPRs) in the US may take several years.

At 9.51 am on Friday, May Brent oil futures were at $75.72, down by 0.25 per cent; and May crude oil futures on WTI were at $69.78, down by 0.26 per cent.

April crude oil futures were trading at ₹5,764 on Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) in initial trade against the previous close of ₹5,790, down by 0.45 per cent; and May futures were trading at ₹5,815 as against the previous close of ₹5,835, down by 0.34 per cent.

Granholm’s statement

On Thursday, Granholm informed US representatives in a congressional hearing that it would be difficult for the US to take advantage of the low price this year. “But we will continue to look for that low price into the future because we intend to be able to save the taxpayer dollars,” Granholm said.

The inventories in the US SPRs fell to the lowest level last year since 1983 following the decision of the US government to sell crude oil from reserves. In October, the US government stated the it would crude oil for SPR when the prices were at or below $67-$72 a barrel.

Granholm’s statement did not enthuse the market, as any decision to buy crude oil when the prices are low would have helped replenish the SPRs in the US, and it would have helped increase demand for the commodity. The statement also led to speculations in the market that the US government wants to buy crude at even lower prices to replenish its SPRs.

Turmeric up, cottonseed oilcake down

March zinc futures were trading at ₹256.70 on MCX in the initial trading hour of Friday morning against the previous close of ₹255.90, up by 0.31 per cent.

On the National Commodities and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX), April turmeric (farmer polished) contracts were trading at ₹7,086 in early trade against the previous close of ₹7,002, up by 1.20 per cent.

April cottonseed oilcake futures were trading at ₹2,723 on NCDEX against the previous close of ₹2754, down by 1.09 per cent.