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OIL PRICES EDGE UP FROM 2017 LOWS

Oil prices edged up from 2017 lows on Friday but remained on track for a fourth consecutive week of losses because of excess supplies despite OPEC-led production cuts.

Brent crude futures were up 43 cents at $47.35 per barrel by 1026 GMT. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $44.70 per barrel, up 24 cents.

“The market took a breather yesterday and is trying to recover somewhat this morning. It is by no means bullish,” said Tamas Varga, analyst at brokerage PVM Oil Associates quoted as saying.

Oil prices are roughly 13 percent below where they were in late May, when producers led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) extended for nine months a pledge to cut output by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd). The cuts had been due to end this month and will now run till March.

Rising US oil output has undermined the impact of OPEC-led cuts. Data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) this week showing growing gasoline stocks and shaky demand, despite the peak summer driving season, sent prices tumbling.

Recovering production from Libya and Nigeria, both of which were exempt from OPEC cuts, and high exports and production from Russia were also contributing to the ongoing glut.

Top producer Russia, not an OPEC member but which signed up to the deal to cuts, is expected to export 61.2 million tonnes of oil via pipelines in the third quarter, equivalent to about 5 million bpd, against 60.5 million tonnes in the second quarter.

US SPRING WHEAT ON THE RISE

US spring wheat futures rose 2.2 percent on Wednesday, with the market poised for its biggest two-day rally in as many years on concerns over dry weather hitting yields in the United States and Canada. Spring wheat traded on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange has risen almost 7 percent since Tuesday, the biggest two-day rise since June 2015. Gains in high-protein spring wheat pushed Chicago wheat, corn and soybeans higher.

GOLD, SILVER DOWN AFTER FED RATES

Gold and silver were trading over 0.50 percent down in early trade on Thursday after the Federal Reserve increased interest rates but was less dovish than expected following a two-day meeting. MCX Gold was down 0.57 percent, or Rs 165, at Rs 28865 per 10 gram around 10.30 am (IST), while MCX silver was also trading down by 0.84 percent, or Rs 330, at Rs 39,088 per 1 kg.

INDIA TO BECOME ASIA’S NATURAL GAS TRADING HUB

India is working on an ambitious plan to build a natural gas trading hub that could aid better price discovery for domestic as well as imported gas, with the ultimate objective of becoming Asia’s pricing hub that could compete with Singapore, Shanghai or Tokyo.

India can be a huge gas consumer. But for the local gas market to mature, we must have market-driven pricing.

 

REFINED EDIBLE OIL IMPORT SURGES LAST MONTH

Monthly import of refined edible oil surged last month, to 2,94,409 tonnes, about 22 percent of the overall import of 1.03 million tonnes. After a high of 245,554 tonnes in December 2016, refined oil import fell to 196,623 tonnes in January, 20-21 percent of the entire import of edible oil. Refined edible oil (refined, bleached and diodised or RBD) import into India started increasing thereafter, following export duty levy by the governments of Indonesia and Malaysia, which made import of crude palm oil (CPO) costlier than refined oil.

MALAYSIAN PALM OIL PRICES KEEP RISING

Malaysian palm oil futures on Thursday were poised for a second consecutive session of gains, on the back of output growth concerns although experts said the market was showing mixed signals on a stronger ringgit and weaker exports.

A stronger ringgit, palm’s currency of trade, typically weakens the market as it makes palm oil more expensive for holders of foreign currencies. Earlier in the session, the currency rose 0.1 percent to 4.2530 against the dollar, its highest in over seven months. The benchmark palm oil contract for August delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange was slightly up 0.1 percent at 2,458 ringgit ($577.94) a tone at the midday break.

INDIAN SUGAR PRICES DECLINING

Sugar prices are declining in global and local markets, and that appears to be putting pressure on shares of sugar mills. Since early May, the Balrampur Chini Mills Ltd stock has fallen by 9 percent while Bajaj Hindusthan Sugars Ltd has declined by 4 percent. In this period, domestic wholesale sugar prices are down by 4 percent, although still 4 percent higher from a year ago. In the international market, prices of raw sugar and white sugar have both declined. White sugar on the Intercontinental Exchange is down by 6.8 percent, while raw sugar futures are down by 10.7 percent.

SPOT URANIUM RATES STAY PUT

TradeTech’s spot uranium prices hovered below $20 per lb again last week, with buyers interested in purchases until sellers tried to push for higher prices. TradeTech noted that last week spot market saw robust volume, but as soon as sellers pushed their offers to $20 per lb or above buying interest evaporated. Interest returned again after sellers lowered their price. This was the second-straight week that asks of $20 per lb were met with resistance.

ANGOLA MILK PRODUCTION TO INCREASE

Milk production at the Aldeia Nova Project in Angola will increase from 86.000 liters per a day to 120.000 liters per day in June, as a result of the delivery of 200 oxen to 40 families of beneficiary farmers. The project’s director, Paulo Feio, added that the company will increase daily production in more 34.000 liters per day, in order to facilitate the production of milk by-products, such as yogurt, cheese and butter.

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