Crude oil futures rose to Rs 3,173 per barrel on July 23 as participants increased their long positions on firmness in equity markets, hopes of further stimulus and weakness in the dollar.

The US Energy Information Agency reported that US crude inventories rose 4.9 million barrels for the week-ended July 17.

Tapan Patel- Senior Analyst (Commodities), HDFC Securities, said crude oil prices traded higher despite a bearish weekly inventory data. “Stimulus hopes and weaker dollar index supported crude oil prices. The rising death toll in the US and the heightened US-China tensions may limit the upside at $43.”

“Crude may witnesses some more gains, but on the higher side concerns about demand recovery amid economic recovery worries may trigger profit booking,” said Ravindra Rao, VP- Head Commodity Research at Kotak Securities.

In the futures market, crude oil for August delivery touched an intraday high of Rs 3,175 and an intraday low of Rs 3,133 per barrel on the Multi-Commodity Exchange (MCX). So far in the current series, black gold has touched a low of Rs 2,520 and a high of Rs 3,182.

Crude oil futures for August delivery gained Rs 35, or 1.12 percent, to Rs 3,170 per barrel at 15:15 hours IST on a business turnover of 4,174 lots. The same for September delivery edged higher by Rs 36, or 1.14 percent, to Rs 3,186 per barrel on a business volume of 48 lots.

The value of August and September’s contracts traded so far is Rs 767.95 crore and Rs 1.29 crore, respectively.

Patel expects oil prices to trade up for the day with support at $40 and resistance at $43. “MCX August Crude Oil futures has support at Rs 3,080 and resistance at Rs 3,210.”

West Texas Intermediate crude gained 0.95 percent at $42.30 per barrel, while Brent crude, the London-based international benchmark, was up 0.93 percent to $44.70 per barrel.