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OIL FUTURES RETREAT FROM 17-MONTH HIGH

Oil futures fell from the highest close in 17 months on Wednesday as an industry report was said to show US crude stockpiles climbed last week.

Futures retreated 45 cents from the close after the American Petroleum Institute said late Tuesday that nationwide crude inventories rose 4.2 million barrels last week. West Texas Intermediate oil settled higher for an eighth straight session, capping the longest stretch of gains in seven years as optimism mounts that major producers will make good on output-cut pledges in January.

GOLD RATES RISE BY MOST IN A MONTH

Gold prices rose to their highest in two weeks on Thursday, as the US dollar fell, but gains were limited on expectations of more rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve next year.

Spot gold was up 0.5 percent at $1,147.56 an ounce by 0631 GMT (Asian trade), after reaching its highest since Dec. 14. at $1,149.84 earlier in the session.

The metal was also on track for its biggest one-day rise since Nov. 28. US gold futures were up 0.7 percent at $1,148.50 per ounce. The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, eased about 0.4 percent at 102.910. The dollar sagged against the yen on Thursday, weighed down by US yields slipping to two-week lows and an ebb in risk appetite that favored the safe-haven Japanese currency.

URANIUM PRICES AT ALL-TIME LOW

Uranium prices are at an all-time low. In the last 12 months, spot (i.e. one-off) prices for the heavy metal, which is used to power nuclear reactors, have fallen from US$35 to around $18 per pound (December 2016).

It’s all a far cry from the bubble of 2007 when prices reached a historic high of $137. Inevitably, as uranium prices have fallen, many companies have curtailed operations or pulled out of the market altogether, unable to make a profit. At the same time, demand for uranium remains in the doldrums following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan, which understandably knocked confidence.

EDIBLE OIL PRODUCTION SET TO RISE IN PAKISTAN

Even as the sowing of Kharif oilseeds has increased over last year, the trade is expecting higher oilseed availability, resulting in a rise in domestic edible oil production, but with no impact on imports.

India’s overall Kharif oilseeds production is projected at 178.25 lakh tonnes for 2016-17 against 126 lakh tonnes last year. Edible oil production is estimated at 7.28 million tonnes for the oil year 2016-17 (November-October) against 5.80 million tonnes last year. The increase in oilseeds output is attributed to the higher yield of 936 kg per hectare as against 680 kg/ha. Acreage has increased from 185.19 lakh hectares to 190.31 lakh hectares.

 

TOKYO RUBBER FUTURES RISE

Benchmark TOCOM rubber futures was risen almost 2 percent on Thursday, recouping last session’s losses as investors covered short positions and as a weaker dollar buoyed the market.

The Tokyo Commodity Exchange rubber contract for June delivery closed 1.8 percent higher at 261 yen per kg. It finished down 0.3 percent in the previous session. The most-active rubber contract on the Shanghai futures exchange for May delivery gained 1.9 percent at 18,315 yuan per tone. US dollar is weak against the yen. Rubber is taking direction from the dollar and there is some short-covering as well.

PAKISTAN GOVT ALLOWS SUGAR EXPORT

The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has approved the allocation of an additional 50 MMCFD gas to Thermal Power Station Guddu (TPSG/GENCO-II) and allowed the export of 225,000 metric tons of sugar till March 31, 2017.

The meeting chaired by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar considered a proposal of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources regarding allocation of around 50 MMCFD additional available gas from Habib Rahi Limestone (HRL) reservoir to Thermal Power Station Guddu (TPSG/GENCO-II) subject to installation of compression plant by TPSG/GENCO-II and allocation of an additional up to 26 MMCFD available gas from HRL reservoir to an old plant of Engro Fertilizer Ltd for continuation of the plant.

SHANGHAI COPPER STAGES LATE REVERSAL TO TRADE UP

Shanghai copper futures followed the London contract higher on Thursday, reversing earlier losses as speculators built up positions ahead of the end of the year.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 0.27 percent to $5,560 a tone by 0700 GMT, following modest gains in the previous session. The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange settled 0.61 percent higher at 45,810 yuan ($6,587) a tonne. Copper, found in everything from toilet taps to microchips, is up around 20 percent this year and on track for its largest annual rise since 2010.

DARJEELING TEA PRODUCTION LIKELY TO BE LESS

Darjeeling tea production is likely to be less by 6.25 percent this year to 8 million kg in comparison to 8.5 million kg.

A drought like situation in the beginning of the season followed by heavy rains has affected the production of Darjeeling tea this year. S.S. Bagaria, past chairman of Darjeeling Tea Association (DTA) quoted as saying that production is marginally down due to erratic weather condition during the early months of production.

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