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Crude futures take first weekly fall in 3 weeks

Oil prices rose on Friday as Wall Street stocks bounced off session lows, but benchmark crude futures posted their first weekly decline in three weeks on fears US plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum could squeeze economic growth and jitters about rising US crude production.

On Thursday, oil followed the stock market lower after President Donald Trump said he would impose hefty tariffs to protect US producers. Investors feared the move would spark a trade war. The US oil and gas industry slammed the tariff plan, saying it would kill energy jobs by raising costs for big infrastructure projects.

Brent futures LCOc1 rose 54 cents, or 0.9 percent, to settle at $64.37 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 gained 26 cents, or 0.4 percent, to settle at $61.25. For the week, Brent was down about 4 percent and WTI down more than 3 percent. The premium of the Brent front-month contract over WTI WTCLc1-LCOc1 briefly fell to its lowest since August before edging up by the market close.

On Wednesday, the government reported that US crude stocks rose faster than expected while gasoline inventories posted a surprisingly large increase. US crude output slipped in the last month of 2017, but in November hit an all-time high of 10.057 million barrels per day. Weekly data showed another record and further gains are expected.

Asia coffee-markets tepid amid weak London prices

Asian coffee markets were tepid as weak London prices discouraged Vietnamese farmers from offloading stocks, while Indonesian traders waited for a mini-harvest to gather pace, traders said on Thursday.

Farmers in Daklak, Vietnam’s main coffee-growing province, quoted beans at 36,500 dong-37,000 dong ($1.60-$1.63) per kg, compared with 37,000 dong-37,600 dong a week earlier, in line with a fall in London prices. The ICE May futures contract fell to as low as $1,742 a tonne on Wednesday, its lowest in a month. Vietnamese traders quoted the 5 percent black and broken grade 2 robusta at a discount of $70-$100 per tonne to the ICE May futures contract, tightening slightly from a $50-$100 discount a week earlier.

Copper slips after China data disappoints and dollar gains

Copper prices sank to their lowest in over two weeks on Wednesday as the dollar advanced on prospects of higher interest rates and growth in China’s manufacturing sector slowed in February.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange fell 1.3 percent to $6,932 per ton, its lowest since Feb. 13. But analysts said the dip in copper, used in power and construction, was most likely short-lived. Copper is in an uptrend and the moves lower have been choppy affairs, making it seem likely that these are corrective drops, nothing more. The dollar rose to a five-week high against a basket of currencies on Wednesday after Fed Chairman Powell’s upbeat views on the US economy bolstered bets on further interest rate hikes this year. A stronger dollar makes metals more expensive for holders of other currencies, weighing on prices.

NY coffee May rise into $1.2295-$1.2355 range

New York May coffee may rise into a range of $1.2295-$1.2355 per lb, as suggested by its wave pattern and a projection analysis. The range is formed by the 61.8 percent and the 76.4 percent projection levels of an upward wave c from $1.2030.

This wave is capable of travelling into the range of $1.2295-$1.2455. A falling trendline suggests a target around $1.2355. A break above $1.2355 could lead to a gain to $1.2455, while a break below $1.2130 could signal a completion of the bounce from the Feb. 22 low of $1.1855. No information in this analysis should be considered as being business, financial or legal advice.

CBOT wheat notches fifth straight day of gains

Chicago Board of Trade soft red winter wheat futures jumped 3.3 percent on Wednesday to their highest level in more than seven months, breaking through key technical barriers on support from concerns about crop development in the US Plains, traders said.

The gains in the wheat market spilled over into corn, which rose to its highest level since Aug. 10, but settled well below its session peak. Soybean futures also rose, underpinned by worries about drought in Argentina limiting the size of the crop that will be harvested in that key export supplier. The benchmark CBOT soft red winter wheat contract has risen for five days in a row, gaining 10.1 percent during the rally. CBOT May soft red winter wheat futures ended up 18 cents at $4.95 a bushel. Prices peaked at $4.99-1/2 a bushel, the highest for the most-active wheat contract since July 21.

China’s coal consumption grows slightly

China’s coal consumption rose 0.4 percent year-on-year in 2017, ending a three-year period of decline but the uptick was still well below the 2013 peak in coal consumption, according to an annual report released last week by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Overall, the small uptick in coal consumption is an aberration that will not derail China’s path towards a low-carbon economy, experts told. The weight of coal in the country’s energy mix has fallen to 60.4 percent from 62 percent in 2016, despite a 2.9 percent rise in total energy consumption. It is also revealed that the share of clean energy (as defined by the NBS) in China’s energy mix, which includes sources such as wind, solar, and also natural gas, expanded from 19.7 percent to 20.4 percent.

This was driven by increases of 21.4 percent and 38 percent in wind and solar energy output, respectively, as well as a 14.8 percent rise in natural gas consumption, the result of a massive campaign to switch heating systems from coal to natural gas.

More diamond deposits found in Zimbabwe

A Zimbabwean official has said rich diamond deposits have been discovered in southern Zimbabwe and will boost the fortunes of the country.

Minister of State for Provincial Affairs for Masvingo province, Josaya Hungwe, told that the discovery of the diamonds was made in Chivi District, to the west of the province. It is also reported that Hungwe said he had been briefed about the discovery of kimberlite pipes rich in diamonds. Chivi is a semi-arid area which is predominantly occupied by subsistence farmers.

According to empowerment laws seeking to uplift the lives of indigenous Zimbabweans, 51 percent of shareholding in diamond investment is reserved for locals. Zimbabwe’s diamond production has been declining over the years from about 12 million carats in 2012 with miners citing dwindling alluvial diamond deposits.

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