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Wheat, soy futures tick lower ahead of USDA report

Chicago wheat, corn and soybean futures were lower on Wednesday as investors squared up their positions ahead of a monthly US Department of Agriculture report due on Thursday, traders said.

Prices for each crop have cooled from last week’s multimonth highs amid dry growing conditions for US wheat and Argentine corn and soybeans. The USDA in its supply and demand report was expected to forecast larger US wheat ending stocks, due in part to weak export demand, and slightly smaller domestic stockpiles of corn, according to Reuters analyst polls.

Chicago Board of Trade May wheat finished 9-3/4 cents lower at $4.97-1/4 per bushel, a decline of 1.9 percent. The contract was well below its nearly eight-month high of $5.18-1/2 from Friday. CBOT May soybeans were down 9-1/2 cents at $10.65-1/4 per bushel. Some deferred soybean contracts, including November soy futures, earlier climbed to life-of-contract highs before turning lower. CBOT May corn settled 1 cent lower at $3.87-1/4 per bushel after reaching $3.89, the highest since Aug. 15.

Aluminium at lowest since Dec on rising expectations of US import tax

Aluminium prices slid on Wednesday to near three-month lows as the prospect of US tariffs were bolstered by the resignation of a key advocate for free trade, while base metals generally came under pressure from worries about a trade war.

Benchmark aluminium prices on the London Metal Exchange ended down 2.3 percent at $2,098 a tonne from an earlier $2,097, the lowest since Dec. 20. Last week U.S. President Donald Trump announced plans to impose a 10 percent duty on aluminium imports. Europe has drawn up a list of U.S. products from bourbon to Harley Davidson motorbikes on which to apply tariffs if Trump follows through with his plans, EU sources said. Canada will also retaliate against any U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminium products, its officials said.

Mali aims for 8pc increase in rice output

Mali aims to produce 3.14 million tons of rice in the 2018/19 season, the Ministry of Rural Development said on Wednesday. Target amounts to a near 8 percent rise over the previous season’s 2.92 million tons. Mali aims to increase yields in existing areas with better fertilizers and seeds rather than using more land.

The rice season runs from April to March and has two phases: production from May/June to September/October and marketing from October/November through late March.

Copper rebounds

Copper prices rose by the most in almost a month on Tuesday, helped by a weaker dollar and expectations of strong demand in China, while zinc touched its lowest since December after an increase in stocks calmed fears about availability.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange closed 1.4 percent higher at $7,004 a ton, up from a three-week low on Monday and on track for the biggest gain since Feb. 14.

Spot gold may retest support at $1,316

Spot gold may retest a support at $1,316 per ounce, as it may have completed a bounce from the March 1 low of $1,302.61. The bounce is classified as a pullback towards a rising trendline. It may have ended around a resistance at $1,325, the 61.8 percent projection level of a downward wave c from $1,361.76.

A double-top forming around $1,362 suggests the low at $1,302.61 may be revisited. On the daily chart, a retracement analysis reveals that the current bounce was triggered by the support at $1,309. This bounce may have ended around $1,330. Support is at $1,316 (first chart), a break below which could cause a loss to $1,311. No information in this analysis should be considered as being business, financial or legal advice. Each reader should consult his or her own professional or other advisers for business, financial or legal advice regarding the products mentioned in the analyses.

Palm oil recovers in cautious trade

Malaysian palm oil futures rose on Tuesday, recovering some of the ground lost in the previous three sessions, on the back of a government production forecast that came within expectations. However, market sentiment was cautious ahead of price forecasts at an industry conference in Kuala Lumpur. Leading industry analyst Dorab Mistry is due to speak at the conference this afternoon.

The benchmark palm oil contract for May delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange was up 0.65 percent at 2,479 ringgit ($635.64) a ton at the midday break. It hit its lowest since Feb. 5 on Monday after top edible oils importer India said last week that it would raise import taxes on the vegetable oil to the highest level in more than a decade, and as the ringgit strengthened, making the tropical oil more expensive for foreign buyers. Trading volumes stood at 13,884 lots of 25 tons each at the midday break on Tuesday.

India’s Jan tea output drops

India’s tea production in January fell 10.5 percent from a year earlier to 17.15 million kg as plucking fell in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, the state-run Tea Board said in a statement on Tuesday. Tamil Nadu’s production in the month dropped 12.3 percent to 8.09 million kg, the board said. India, the world’s second-biggest tea producer, exports CTC (crush-tear-curl) grade mainly to Egypt, Pakistan and the UK, and the orthodox variety to Iraq, Iran and Russia.

Shanghai zinc has worst day since Dec after lme stocks surge

Shanghai zinc futures fell more than 2 percent on Tuesday, their steepest drop in three months, tracking a decline in prices on the London Metal Exchange after LME warehouse inventories climbed.

The metal, used to galvanise steel, is also coming under pressure after President Donald Trump said the United States would impose a tariff of 25 percent on steel imports. A number of countries, including China and Canada, have criticised the move, sparking talk of a trade war. Trump also vowed to impose a 10 percent duty on aluminium imports.

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