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Trump rails against high oil prices, OPEC pushes back

US President Donald Trump accused OPEC on Friday of “artificially” boosting oil prices, drawing rebukes from some of the world’s top energy exporters. “Looks like OPEC is at it again. With record amounts of Oil all over the place, including the fully loaded ships at sea. Oil prices are artificially Very High! No good and will not be accepted!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

It was unclear what triggered the tweet, Trump’s first mention of OPEC on social media during his term.

US oil prices are near a three-year high, at close to $70 a barrel, and have been rising since OPEC and non-OPEC producers including Russia cut supply in January 2017 to end a global oil glut and price collapse.

Trump’s tweet came shortly after officials from top oil exporter Saudi Arabia said they would like to see prices climb even higher and that they were still far from their goal of ending the supply glut.

The cartel is expected to restrain supply through the end of this year, and possibly into 2019.

Three Saudi officials told Reuters this week they would be happy to see oil hit $80 or $100 a barrel. Higher prices drive up gasoline prices for motorists worldwide and rising energy costs feed inflation. But higher oil prices have also benefited the U.S. energy industry, feeding rapid growth in output from shale fields. US oil output is at record levels.

Despite Trump’s comments, oil benchmarks ended the day modestly higher, rebounding from early losses.

OPEC’s output fell in March to an 11-month low, according to a Reuters survey. The cartel has targeted the five-year average of inventories in 35 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries as a barometer for the deal’s success.

As of mid-April, those inventories were 2.85 billion barrels, or 43 million more than the five-year average; a year ago, it was 268 million barrels above that benchmark.

This week, crude futures benchmarks Brent LCOc1 and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) CLc1 hit their highest since November 2014, with Brent touching $74.75 and U.S. crude $69.56 per barrel.

Nickel soars to 3-year top on Russia sanctions fears

Nickel soared to a three-year peak on Wednesday as what analysts said were misplaced concerns that the metal would become ensnared in U.S. sanctions on Russian companies caused it to break through key technical levels. Three-month nickel on the London Metal Exchange soared 12 percent at one point to a more than three-year high of $15,875 a ton, before closing up 7.5 percent at $15,275, its largest daily gain in 6-1/2 years. Russia’s Nornickel is the world’s second largest producer of the metal. The LME said last October that on April 18, 2018, it would delist two brands from Nornickel for delivery against its futures contracts.

US wheat futures rise

US wheat futures rose on Wednesday, with the benchmark Chicago Board of Trade soft red winter wheat contract hitting a one-week high on concerns that rains forecast for the U.S. Plains will not meet earlier expectations. Corn futures also firmed, following the rally in wheat, but gains were capped by outlooks for warmer weather that will allow farmers to make quick progress in planting in the coming weeks. At 9:50 a.m. CDT (1450 GMT), CBOT May soft red winter wheat futures were up 5-3/4 cents at $4.72 a bushel. K.C. hard red winter wheat futures were 6-1/2 cents higher at $4.87 a bushel. CBOT wheat fell 2.2 percent on Monday, capping a four session losing streak that saw prices fall nearly 30 cents.

Sri Lanka imposes 15pc tax on gold imports

Sri Lanka imposed a 15 percent tax on imported gold with effect from Wednesday to prevent illegal smuggling of the metal from the island nation, a finance ministry official said. However, industry officials said the move will deter the export of the country’s popular and rare gems, diamonds and jewellery, which accounted for $257.2 million in 2017. The move comes a week after the Sri Lanka’s Customs confiscated 24.2 kg of gold that was attempted to be smuggled from the northern province in fishing boats. Customs data showed 289 million rupees ($1.85 million) worth gold was smuggled out through the main airport in 65 detected cases in 2017.

 

Raw sugar falls to 2-1/2 year low

Raw sugar futures fell to a 2-1/2 year low on Tuesday as the market extended its prolonged slide driven by oversupply, while arabica coffee dipped to the lowest in more than nine months. May raw sugar was down 0.17 cent, or 1.4 percent, to 11.81 cents per lb at 1356 GMT, after slumping to a 2-1/2 year low of 11.77 cents. Dealers said the market continued to be driven down by excess supplies, although there has been some buying by end-users. The potential for lower sugar output in Centre-South Brazil, where the new cane processing season is now underway, may provide support, although the scope for any significant rebound remains capped by strong production in India and Thailand. August white sugar fell $2.20, or 0.65 percent, to $338.40 per tonne, after dipping to a low of $336.00 – the weakest for the front month since September 2015.

Chinese iron ore, steel retreat

China’s iron ore futures extended losses and hit a 10-month low on Tuesday on worries of a supply glut as the average daily steel output in March climbed to the highest level since September. The world’s biggest steel maker last month churned out a total of 73.98 million tons of steel, up 4.5 percent from a year earlier, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Tuesday. Average daily steel output in March reached 2.39 million tons, the highest level since September and up 2.8 percent from combined January-February level and also year-on-year, according to sources. The most-traded iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange closed 1.6 percent lower at 439 yuan ($69.93) a ton on Tuesday, having dipped to their weakest level since June 27 at 434 yuan a ton earlier in the day. Construction steel rebar contracts for October delivery on the Shanghai Futures Exchange also settled down 0.6 percent at 3,384 yuan.

NY coffee may fall to $1.1240

New York May coffee may break a support at $1.1405 per lb and fall to the next support at $1.1240, as suggested by its wave pattern and a Fibonacci projection analysis. The sharp drop on Monday confirmed an extension of a downward wave C. In most cases, a wave C could travel to its 138.2 percent projection level or to the 161.8 percent level. Coffee may maintain its current bearish momentum to fall more to $1.1240. Resistance is at $1.1510, a break above which may lead to a gain to $1.1675. 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.

China sells 11,500 tons of cotton

China sells 11,500 tons of cotton at auction of state reserves at average price of 14,254 yuan ($2,267.11) per ton, according to industry website cncotton.com The sale volume represents 38.40 percent of the cotton available at the auction.

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