Crude oil futures edged up near three month high despite weak equities. Media reports stated last week that Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said that OPEC members will need to continue coordinating with Russia and other non-OPEC oil-producing countries on supply curbs in 2019 to reduce global oil inventories.
Strong gains emerged in WTI Crude oil futures last week as a break above $ 60 per barrel extended. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported a decline in crude oil inventories of 2.6 million barrels for the week to March 16. Traders also eyed rising Middle Eastern tensions and an improvement in US economy. The US Federal Reserve announced its first interest rate increase of 2018 on strong labor market and strength in the broader economy.
The Fed raised its benchmark interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point, to a range of 1.5% to 1.75%. Fed raised their forecast for 2018 GDP growth from 2.5% in December to 2.7%, and increased the 2019 expectation from 2.1% to 2.4%. Crude closed just under $ 66 per barrel mark on Friday, adding more than 2%. MCX Crude oil futures spurt 1.55% to close at Rs 4266 per barrel.
On the economic front on Friday, the new orders for US manufactured durable goods surged up by much more than anticipated in the month of February, according to a report released by the Commerce Department. The report said durable goods orders jumped by 3.1% in February after slumping by 3.5% in January.