Crude oil futures traded steady at Rs 2,955 per barrel on September 24 as participants increased their long positions. Prices pared morning session losses and traded in the green in the afternoon session.

The commodity has been stuck in the $38-41 per barrel range for the last few sessions and unless it breaks out either side, it may continue to trade directionless, commodity traders told Moneycontrol.

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that US crude inventories fell by 1.6 million barrels for the week-ended September 18.

Tapan Patel, Senior Analyst (Commodities), HDFC Securities, said, “Crude oil prices traded under pressure on demand growth concerns despite strong compliance on output cut from OPEC+ nations. Demand is expected to remain weak over rising virus cases.”

“Crude may continue to trade within the $38-41/bbl range due to mixed factors. But decline in US crude stocks and OPEC’s willingness to do more may continue to support prices,” said Ravindra Rao, VP-Head Commodity Research, Kotak Securities.

In the futures market, crude oil for October delivery touched an intraday high of Rs 2,953 and a low of Rs 2,905 per barrel on the Multi-Commodity Exchange (MCX). So far in the current series, black gold has touched a low of Rs 2,718 and a high of Rs 3,320.

Crude oil futures for October delivery gained Rs 8, or 0.27 percent, to Rs 2,955 per barrel at 15:39 hours IST on a business turnover of 3,299 lots. The same for November delivery slipped Rs 23, or 0.77 percent, to Rs 2,979 per barrel on a business volume of 39 lots.

The value of October and November contracts traded so far is Rs 732.55 crore and Rs 77.21 crore, respectively.

Patel expects crude oil prices to trade sideways to down with support at $38 and resistance at $41. “MCX October Crude oil futures has support at Rs 2,850 and resistance at Rs 2,990 per barrel.”

West Texas Intermediate crude slipped marginally 0.05 percent at $39.91 per barrel, while Brent crude, the London-based international benchmark, eased 0.05 percent to $41.79 per barrel.