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GOLD CLOSES UP AFTER CHOPPY TRADING SESSION

Gold prices ended a choppy, two-sided trading session on the upside Wednesday. The yellow metal scored a two-week low earlier in the day after weaker US dollar index trumped some upbeat US economic data that increased the odds of a US interest rate hike coming soon.

April Comex gold was last up $7.10 an ounce at $1,232.70. March Comex silver was last up $0.076 at $17.965 an ounce. It is said that US retail sales for January come in at a better-than-expected up 0.4 percent.

The consensus was for a rise of 0.1 percent. Meantime, the US consumer price index came in at a hotter-than-expected up 0.6 percent in January, versus expectations for a rise of 0.3 percent.

US SHALE PRODUCERS EXPORT RECORD 1M BARRELS OF OIL

US oil producers sent a record 7 million barrels of crude out into the world market last week, at a time when OPEC members have cut back on their own output by nearly the same amount.

The timing could be a coincidence, but it could also be a glimpse into the future where the US and its shale production becomes a more significant player in the world export market. The 1 million barrels a day is nearly double the week-earlier level.

SRI LANKA REDUCES LEVY ON COCONUT OIL

Sri Lanka’s Cabinet has approved to amend the special commodity levy on coconut oil and related products to allow importation of 40,000 metric tones edible oil required for 04 months.

It has forecasted that the coconut harvest may decrease from 13.9 percent in January-August 2017 compared to 2016 and it could cause an increase in coconut price. Therefore short term strategies should be implemented to maintain the coconut price in a certain level.

PALM OIL IMPORTS FALL 11PC LAST MONTH

Palm oil imports fell for the third consecutive month by 11.56 per cent to 608,762 tones in January, on account of good domestic oilseeds production and better availability of edible oils.

India, the world’s leading vegetable oil buyer, had imported 688,393 tones palm oil in January 2015. The country’s total vegetable oil imports fell by 19 percent to 1.24 mt in January this year from 1.26 mt in the year-ago period.

Import has reduced due to good Kharif oilseeds crop and better domestic availability of edible oils and utilization of stock. Currency crunch due to demonetisation has slowed down the purchases by end consumers also affected the demand and import to some extent. The share of palm oils is 64 percent of the country’s total vegetable oil imports. There was increased purchase of RBD Palmolein as well as sunflower oils during the period because of the price advantage.

 

INDIA’S IRON ORE OUTPUT LIKELY AT 185MT IN 2021

India’s iron ore output is projected to grow 185 mt in the next four years. It is predicted that India’s iron ore output to grow from 136 mt in 2017 to 185 mt in 2021.

Bullish on India, it said the trend represents an average annual growth of 6.9 percent during 2017-2021.

This is higher than the average contraction of 9.4 percent y-o-y over 2012-2016 following mining bans in the three largest iron-ore producing states Goa, Odisha and Karnataka, which have since been lifted.

It said the output growth will be supported by the removal of export taxes in the Union Budget for low-grade ores and the country’s Mines & Minerals (Development & Regulation) (MMDR) Act, which will streamline licensing and reopen closed mines.

KAZAKHSTAN OUTPUT CUT BOOST URANIUM MARKET

A resurgence in interest for nuclear energy and a sharp reduction in supply is putting a glow on the uranium market, with prices surging 30 percent this-year-to-date.

Benchmark uranium futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange are trading around $27 per pound, with prices getting a boost after top supplier Khazakhstan shocked the market on Jan. 10 when state-owned Kazatomprom announced a 10 percent production cut.

All of Kazakhstan’s uranium output is produced by the company. Kazakhstan supplies 40 percent of the world’s uranium supply, so any output cuts will have an outsized impact on the market. Almost all of the world’s mined uranium is used for nuclear power generation.

FONTERRA SEES SMALLER FALL IN MILK PRODUCTION

Fonterra, world largest exporter of dairy products, sees a smaller decline in local milk production after better-than-expected collections followed unfavorable weather during peak milking months.

New Zealand collections fell 1.4 percent to 172.5 million kilograms of milk solids in January from the same month a year earlier, taking the season-to-date total to 1.05 billion kgMS, down 5 percent from the 2016 season.

North Island collections were down 6.8 percent in the eight months to Jan. 31, and South Island collections were 1.6 percent lower.

Fonterra had been picking the 2017 season collection to fall 7 percent after a very wet spring hurt North Island milking operations, but is now forecasting now forecasting a 5 percent decline as “collections have shown signs of improvement” since then.

The world’s biggest dairy exporter has sold 357,704 tons of product through the GlobalDairyTrade auctions in the year to date, 11 percent lower than a year earlier. However, the weighted average product price of US$3,180 per ton is 34 percent higher than the 2016 year.

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