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Brent crude hits 4-year high

Oil prices rose more than 1 percent on Friday, with Brent climbing to a four-year high, as US sanctions on Tehran squeezed Iranian crude exports, tightening supply even as other key exporters increased production.

Brent crude LCOc1 futures rose $1 to settle at $82.72 a barrel. The session high of $82.87 was the contract’s highest since Nov. 10, 2014. In the third quarter, Brent has gained about 4 percent.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 futures rose $1.13 to settle at $73.25 a barrel. The session high of $73.73 was the highest since July 11. The contract is up about 5 percent this month but down around 1 percent for the quarter.

A new round of US sanctions on Iran, the No. 3 producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), kicks in on Nov. 4.

Amid concerns about supply shortages, hedge funds raised their combined futures and options position in New York and London by 3,728 contracts to 346,566 in the week to Sept. 25, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission said.

Washington is demanding that buyers of Iranian oil cut imports to zero to force Tehran to negotiate a new nuclear agreement and to curb its influence in the Middle East.

China’s Sinopec Corp is halving loadings of crude oil from Iran this month, as the state refiner comes under intense pressure from Washington, said people with knowledge of the matter.

However, India, another top buyer, is committed to buying oil from Tehran, the Iranian foreign minister said.

Other OPEC countries have been boosting production, but global inventories have still been falling, analysts said. Saudi Arabia is expected to add oil to the market to offset the drop in Iranian production. Two sources familiar with OPEC policy told Reuters Saudi Arabia and other OPEC and non-OPEC producers had discussed a possible production increase of about 500,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Gold on path for longest monthly losing streak

Gold inched higher but was on track for its longest monthly losing streak since January 1997 as the U.S. dollar firmed against the euro after Italy’s budget jitters threatened the European currency.

Bullion is down more than 0.5 percent in September, its sixth straight monthly loss.

Spot gold increased 0.9 percent to $1,193.32 per ounce in the New York trade on Friday but touched its lowest since Aug. 17 at $1,180.34 earlier in the session. December US gold futures settled up $8.80, or 0.7 percent, at $1,196.20 per ounce.

Traders said weaker-than-expected U.S. core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) data, a measure of inflation, sparked bargain hunting in gold.

Among other precious metals, palladium declined 0.3 percent at $1,078.40 after touching a fresh eight-month high at $1,094.60 an ounce. It was closing the month up more than 9 percent. Silver rose 3.4 percent at $14.68 per ounce and headed for its first monthly rise in four. Platinum increased 1.1 percent at $817.80 per ounce and headed for its first monthly rise in eight.

South India tea production likely to fall this year

Torrential rain in Kerala in July-August may pull down the total tea production in South India by 25 million kg during the year, which is expected to reflect on the overall tea production in the country.

Two major tea producers Harrisons Malayalam Ltd. (HML) and Kanan Devan Hill Plantations Company (KDHP) with estates in Idukki and Wayanad districts in Kerala have reported massive losses from the incessant rains.

Iraq buys 100,000 tons of wheat, 90,000 tons of rice in direct deals

Iraq’s trade ministry said on Wednesday it bought 100,000 tons of wheat and 90,000 tons of rice in direct deals, outside of the international tendering process. Of the total, Iraq bought 50,000 tons of US wheat and 50,000 tons of Australian wheat, Mohamed Hanoun, spokesman for the ministry told.

The rice that Iraq purchased was from Vietnam, he said. The ministry did not give a price for the purchases but said strategic stocks of both grains would last up to February or March 2019 as a result of the deals. Traders had earlier reported the rice purchase at $577 a ton, cost and freight (C&F).


Copper slips for third day

Copper fell for a third straight session on Wednesday as the dollar firmed ahead of clues on the direction of US interest rates later in the day following an expected hike.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange eased 0.26 percent to $6,307 per ton by 1050 GMT. With the Federal Reserve widely expected to raise interest rates on Wednesday, financial markets are focused on whether signs of acceleration in US economic growth will prompt the central bank to ramp up the pace of monetary policy tightening. A stronger greenback makes dollar-denominated commodities more expensive for non-US firms, a relationship used by funds to generate buy and sell signals.

Palm oil gains for a third day, stockpile concern looms

Malaysian palm oil futures rose for a third consecutive session on Wednesday, but the rally may lose steam due to concerns about rising stockpiles, traders said.

The benchmark palm oil contract for December delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange rose 0.37 percent to 2,189 ringgit ($528.87) per ton for the day. Palm oil extended its gain from a combined 1.8 percent gain in the previous two sessions, after hitting a three-year low last week. Trading volumes stood at 28,386 lots of 25 tons each on Wednesday. The benchmark rose as much as 0.83 percent during the day to 2,199 ringgit per ton, its highest since Sept 18, before giving up some of its gain.

Senegalese milk production trying to find its way

In Western Africa, the campaign “Mon lait est local” (‘My milk is local’) seeks to promote the domestic consumption of milk in producer countries, such as Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Chad. This is a challenge in Senegal, where – despite the fact that there are 200,000 farmers and increasing milk consumption – the majority of the milk consumed is imported from Europe, albeit in powdered form.

This milk powder is sold 30 percent cheaper than locally produced milk. The situation is partly due to a customs policy which is particularly advantageous for imported milk. European milk is taxed at 5 percent, in accordance with the common external tariff imposed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Some 25,000 tons of milk are thus imported every year, representing 90 percent of the national consumption.

Ukraine keeps wheat export memorandum unchanged

Ukraine will not review a recently signed memorandum with traders on the volume of wheat available for export in the 2018/19 season, the Agriculture Ministry said on Wednesday. The memorandum allows the export of 8 million tons of milling wheat and 8 million tons of feed wheat.

China sells 13,200 tons of cotton at auction

China sells 13,200 tons of cotton at auction of state reserves at an average price of 14,624 yuan ($2,127.72) per ton. Sale represents 40 percent of total cotton available for the auction.

Indonesia increases 2018 coal output target

Indonesia has increased its 2018 coal production target to around 507 million tons from a previous target of 485 million tons, the Energy Ministry said on Wednesday, a move that may add to downward pressure on prices for the fuel.

Indonesia is the world’s top exporter of thermal coal, and it had earlier proposed additional output of up to 100 million tons to help the rupiah, whose value has fallen nearly 10 percent against the US dollar this year.

LME aluminium stocks fall below 1mn mark

Aluminium inventories in warehouses approved by the London Metal Exchange fell below 1 million tons for the first time since March 2008, LME data showed on Wednesday.

Aluminium stocks dropped 6,850 tons to 999,925 tons, according to the data, which tracks warehouse movements with a one-day lag. Healthy demand has sent LME aluminium stocks sliding in recent years after touching a record peak of 5,492,000 tons on Feb. 15, 2014.

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