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OIL PRICES DECLINE AFTER SURPRISE FALL IN US INVENTORIES

Oil prices fell on Thursday, with US crude giving up some of the previous session’s gains that were driven by a surprise fall in inventories, while Brent moved further away from recent 26-month highs. US West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) dipped 7 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $52.06 a barrel after rising 26 cents in the previous session to just below 5-month highs. Brent was down 11 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $57.79 a barrel, slipping further away from Tuesday’s more than two-year high of $59.49 following a near 1 percent fall in the previous session.

US crude inventories fell 1.8 million barrels last week, the US Energy Department said on Wednesday, versus forecasts for a 3.4 million-barrel build. The crude draw provided some support to oil prices as refiners came back online following Hurricane Harvey last month, but gasoline stocks surprisingly rose and stocks of distillates were down by less than anticipated.

GOLD HITS MONTH LOW OVER FED RATE HIKE EXPECTATION

Rising expectations that the US Federal Reserve will raise interest rates again this year drove gold to a month low on Wednesday, after its biggest one day loss in almost two years during the previous session.

Spot gold sank 0.7 percent to $1,284.37 per ounce by 1354 GMT after tumbling 1.3 percent in the previous session. Earlier it hit its lowest since Aug. 25 at $1,282.23.

Platinum meanwhile hit parity with palladium for the first time since 2001 on diverging demand expectations. Platinum is used more heavily in the diesel engines that have fallen out of favor since 2015’s Volkswagen emissions-rigging scandal.

PALM OIL DECLINES NEARLY 2PC

Malaysian palm oil futures fell sharply in early trade on Thursday, tracking weakness in rival edible oilseeds and set for a second straight day of losses. The benchmark palm oil contract for December delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange fell 1.8 percent to 2,698 ringgit ($637.83) a tone at the midday break, its sharpest decline since Sept. 18.

Traded volumes stood at 26,797 lots of 25 tons each at noon. The heavy drop in China palm olein and weakness in rival oilseed soy dampened market sentiment. China soybean oil futures fell over 2 percent on Thursday, reaching their lowest level in three months, following a drop in global prices and amid ongoing pressure from large stocks. The December soybean oil contract on the Chicago Board of Trade was down 0.4 percent, while the January soybean oil contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange fell 1.5 percent.

WHEAT, SOY AND CORN DOWN

Chicago wheat futures edged lower on Thursday as the market took a breather after climbing to its highest in more than seven weeks in the previous session on short-covering and expectations of lower US production. Corn and soybeans eased in Asian trading, giving up gains in positioning ahead of a US crop report due on Friday.

The Chicago Board of Trade most-active wheat contract was down 0.2 percent at $4.60-3/4 a bushel by 0230 GMT, having closed up 1.7 percent on Wednesday when prices hit a high of $4.62-3/4 a bushel – the highest since Aug. 8.

Soybeans were down 0.5 percent at $9.61 a bushel, having firmed 0.2 percent on Wednesday, and corn gave up 0.3 percent to $3.53 a bushel, having closed up 0.5 percent in the previous session.

WHITE SUGAR FUTURES OFF 2-YEAR LOWS

White sugar futures on ICE edged higher on Wednesday, climbing off 2-year lows touched a day earlier as producers and funds took a breather from a selling spree. December white sugar was up $2.70, or 0.8 percent, at $358.30 a ton by 1140 GMT, after hitting a session high of $361.40. Prices plunged to their lowest since September 2015 in the previous session on a wave of selling.

The market is primarily being beaten up by the amount of hedging that’s going into it. European producers have got sugar they don’t need. And the funds have also been selling it.

Lack of follow-through selling and light short-covering on Wednesday helped prices firm, although volumes were thin and appetite remained subdued. Brazilian mills which can produce both refined and raw sugar have also recently switched more production to the latter due to the depressed white sugar premium.

March raw sugar was up 0.05 cents, or 0.4 percent, at 13.96 cents per lb.

COPPER SPRINGS BACK AFTER 5-DAY OF LOSSES

Copper closed higher on Wednesday, clawing back some lost ground after five straight days of decline as expectations that buoyant demand would outstrip supply in the longer term tempted some buyers back to the market.

Prices were also supported by appetite for cyclical assets in the wider markets, with world stocks rising as Republicans rolled out their US tax reform plan. A stronger dollar capped gains, however. Copper prices lost (ground) at the start of the week significantly.

NDP AIMS TO INCREASE MILK PRODUCTION

Indian National Dairy Project (NDP) aims to increase the productivity of milch animals, which will lead to increase in milk production for meeting growing demand for milk, said Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Radha Mohan Singh.

NDP initiatives are helping farmers to increase production by lowering dietary (ration) costs, he noted. Since more than two-thirds of our nation’s citizens live in rural areas, therefore, there is a need to make the farmers more prosperous, for which dairy sector is important.

India is at number one in milk production and contributes 19 percent of the world’s total milk production. Dairy farmers’ income has increased by 13.79 percent in the year 2014-17 compared to the year-ago period. Milk production, which was 155.49 million tons during 2015-16, is planned to increase it to 200 million tons in 2019-20.

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