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World oil prices steady

Oil prices were steady on Friday, with US crude slipping on weak global equity markets while Brent inched up on geopolitical factors, including violent protests in Iraq.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 settled down 2 cents at $67.75 per barrel. Brent crude futures LCOc1 settled up 33 cents at $76.83 a barrel. For the week, US crude lost almost 3 percent, while Brent was down 0.8 percent.

Geopolitical developments lent Brent some support, as protests in the southern Iraqi city of Basra heated up and the civil war in Syria threatened to escalate, analysts said.

In post-settlement trading, Brent prices drifted higher after Iraqi protesters entered a 400,000 barrel per day oilfield facility operated by Lukoil and held two staff members hostage.

US oil prices had gotten a boost early in the week as the approach of Tropical Storm Gordon forced the closure of Gulf of Mexico oil platforms and threatened Gulf Coast refineries.

Speculators in the week to Sept. 4 raised their bullish bets on U.S. crude to the highest in a month, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission said on Friday.

Gold climbs higher as US Dollar eases

Gold has fallen 1.5 percent from an Aug. 28 high as currency weakness in emerging markets and concerns over global trade disputes strengthened the dollar, making bullion more expensive for buyers with other currencies.

The greenback slipped on Wednesday after a report that Germany would be ready to accept a less detailed agreement on the UK’s future economic and trade ties with the EU in a bid to get a Brexit deal done. That boosted the pound and the euro. With gold still close to a 1-1/2 year low of $1,159.96 an ounce touched last month, there is little room for prices to fall, Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke said.

Spot gold gained 0.5 percent to $1,196.40 per ounce by 1:39 p.m. EDT (1739 GMT), after falling on Tuesday to $1,189.20, the lowest since Aug. 24. US gold futures for December delivery settled up $2.20, or 0.2 percent, at $1,201.30 per ounce, with the dollar down against a basket of major currencies.

India’s July tea output drops 6.7pc

India’s tea production fell 6.7 percent in July from a year ago to 151.38 million kgs as plucking fell in the top two producing states due to lower rainfall, the state-run Tea Board said on Tuesday.

The country’s tea output in the first seven months of 2018 fell 5 percent from a year ago to 583.84 million kg, it said. Assam, the country’s top tea producing state, and second biggest producer West Bengal have received about 20 percent lower-than-normal rainfall in the current monsoon season that started on June 1, data compiled by India Meteorological Department showed.

Arabica coffee slumps to 12-year low

Arabica coffee futures on ICE dropped to the lowest in more than 12 years on Tuesday, pressured by fund selling and the weak currency in top grower Brazil, while robusta fell to its lowest in 2-1/2 years on spillover weakness.

December arabica coffee settled down 0.35 cent, or 0.3 percent, at $1.0145 per lb, after dipping to 98.65 cents, the lowest for the second-position contract since July 2006. Selling by funds, which already hold large net short positions in both arabica and robusta coffee futures, pressured prices, dealers said. Arabica futures pared losses in tandem with the Brazilian real against the US dollar, they said. November robusta coffee settled down $14, or 0.9 percent, at $1,475 per tonne, after dipping to $1,465, the weakest for the second month since March 2016.

Copper snaps 5-day losing streak

Copper steadied on Wednesday after five straight days of losses as a dollar rally paused, but gains were firmly capped by persistent fears over escalating trade tensions between the United States and top metals consumer China.

A public comment period on the possibility of fresh US tariffs on another $200 billion of Chinese goods ends on Thursday, with expectations that the additional levies will be imposed by US President Donald Trump. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was last bid up 0.9 percent at $5,865 a tonne in official midday rings, having lost 2.5 percent in the previous session.

Philippines to buy extra 250,000 t of rice to quell price gains

The Philippines will import an additional 250,000 tonnes of rice via an open tender, the state grains procurement agency said on Wednesday, as the government rushes to boost domestic supply and curb rising retail prices of the staple grain.

The decision comes as the country’s annual inflation shot up to a faster-than-expected 6.4 percent in August, the highest in nearly a decade, due in part to price increases of key food items including rice. The Philippines’ additional purchases, which should arrive in November, are on top of the 133,500 tonnes to be delivered between Sept. 15 and Nov. 30 to beef up thin supply in the southern provinces, the National Food Authority (NFA) said.

Separately, the National Economic and Development Authority said in a statement that 5 million sacks of imported rice would arrive over the next 1-1/2 months and another 5 million sacks would be imported early next year.

CBOT soybeans fall

Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures closed the day down less than 1 percent on Wednesday, pressured by weakness in wheat futures and expectations that US-China trade tensions will continue to escalate this week, traders said.

CBOT November soybeans settled down 6-1/4 cents at $8.38 per bushel on Wednesday. CBOT December soymeal futures closed down $1.50 at $309.70 per short ton while December soyoil fell 0.22 cent at 28.56 cents per pound. US stocks also were trading lower on fears Trump would soon ramp up the trade war with China, and the dollar fell against a basket of currencies.

European vegetable oil market eases

Palm oil on the European vegetable oils market mostly eased on Wednesday, pressured by a softer ringgit and expectations of growing Malaysian palm oil stocks in August, plus lower energy markets. Weaker energy markets could reduce demand for vegetable oils by biodiesel producers.

Asking prices for palm oil were mostly between unchanged and $10 a tonne lower after Malaysian palm oil futures closed down between three and 10 euros per tonne as the outlook for increased palm oil stocks weighed. The weak ringgit, which could boost export demand as it makes palm oil cheaper for overseas buyers, limited losses. At 1630 GMT, CBOT soyoil futures were between 0.16 and 0.21 cents per lb lower, pressured by Chicago soybeans, weakening as US farmers prepare for harvest. Lauric oils were mostly offered between $5 and $10 a tonne down from Tuesday, tracking easier palm oil and pressured by slow demand.

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