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World oil prices move higher

Oil prices rallied about 3 percent on Friday, boosted after OPEC detailed specifics on its production-cut activity to reduce world supply, and on signals of progress in resolving the U.S.-China trade war.

Futures were on track for a third straight week of gains, with Brent crude up $1.64 to $62.82 a barrel, or 2.7 percent, at 11:06 a.m. EST (1606) GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up $1.70 to $53.77 a barrel, or 3.3 percent.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on Friday issued a list of oil production cuts by its members and other major producers for six months starting on Jan. 1 to boost confidence in its oil supply reduction pact.

US crude gains to challenge market in 2019

US oil production growth combined with a slowing global economy will put oil prices under downward pressure in 2019, challenging OPEC’s resolve to support the market with output cuts, the International Energy Agency said on Friday.

The IEA, which coordinates the energy policies of industrial nations, said it was keeping its estimate of oil demand growth for this year unchanged at 1.4 million barrels per day, close to 2018 levels.

“The impact of higher oil prices in 2018 is fading, which will help offset lower economic growth,” the Paris-based IEA said in its monthly report.

Gold tumbles, heading for weekly decline

Gold slipped on Friday to its lowest in more than a week and headed for its first weekly decline in five, as equities and the US dollar got a lift from investors taking on more risk due to growing hopes for a resolution in the China-US trade war.

Spot gold was down 0.6 percent to $1,283.19 per ounce at 1:42 p.m. ET (1842 GMT) having hit its lowest since Jan. 9 at $1,280.85. U.S. gold futures settled down 0.8 percent at $1,282.60.

Elsewhere, autocatalyst metal palladium slipped 1.5 percent to $1,375 per ounce after hitting an all-time high of $1,434.50 on Thursday. The metal remained on track for its fourth straight weekly gain. In other metals, platinum fell 1.1 percent to $796.50 per ounce, while silver fell almost 1 percent to $15.37, having earlier slipped to its lowest since Jan. 2.

EU reinstates duties on Cambodia, Myanmar rice

The European Commission will reinstate duties on rice from Cambodia and Myanmar after a surge in cheap imports that hurt European producers, the EU’s executive arm said Wednesday.

Starting Friday, it will apply a duty of 175 euros per tonne of Indica rice in the first year, reducing it to 150 euros per tonne in the second year and 125 euros per tonne in the third year. The European Commission has therefore decided to re-introduce import duties that will be steadily reduced over a period of three years,” it said in a statement. In a probe launched last March, the Commission found that Indica rice imports from Cambodia and Myanmar have increased by 89 percent in the last five seasons. The Commission said it also found that “the prices were substantially lower than those on the EU market” and dropped over the same period. It said the surge in cheaper imports had caused European producers to see their market share in the European Union plummet from 61 percent to 29 percent.

Nickel hits 10-week high

Nickel touched a 10-week high on Wednesday as falling stockpiles and a sharp tightening of time spreads suggested an undersupplied market. Benchmark nickel on the London Metal Exchange (LME) did not trade in official rings but was bid down 0.4 percent at $11,625 a tonne after reaching $11,770, its highest level since Nov. 8. The stainless steel ingredient is up around 10 percent from a 15-month low on Jan. 2. It has been caught up in a broader slide in industrial metals because of fears that China’s economic growth is slowing.

Stockpiles in exchange warehouses are near multi-year lows and the price of cash nickel has surged compared with contracts for later delivery, suggesting a shortage of nearby material. But Citibank analyst Oliver Nugent said tight spreads were likely due to temporary factors related to the expiry of an LME monthly nickel futures contract on Wednesday.


London copper rises on weaker dollar, China stimulus hopes

London copper prices advanced for a second straight session on Wednesday, as a weaker dollar made the base metal cheaper for holders of other currencies, and indications of more stimulus from top consumer China buoyed investor sentiment.

In a sign of improving liquidity, Chinese banks extended far more new loans in December than expected, bringing last year’s tally to a record $2.4 trillion. Visible copper stocks around the world are “relatively low” and could support prices, brokerage GF Futures said in a note, but warned that Chinese copper demand could still take a turn for the worse. China copper import premiums have risen to $73 a tonne from an 18-month low of $62.50 in early December, indicating greater near-term demand for the physical metal.

Vietnam’s coffee prices down

Vietnam’s coffee prices fell on Thursday ahead of a week-long Lunar New Year holiday early next month, while Indonesian premium widened on empty stock. Traders forecast Vietnam’s January coffee exports will fall to 150,000 tonnes from 153,906 tonnes in December. Markets, businesses and government offices in Vietnam, the world’s largest robusta producer, will close during the first week of February for the holiday, locally called Tet. Farmers in the Central Highlands, the country’s key coffee growing area, sold coffee at 32,900-33,600 dong ($1.42-$1.45) per kg on Thursday, down from 3,500-34,000 dong a week earlier.

China’s rebar futures gain, but trade volume hits 2-week trough

Chinese steel futures edged up in light trade on Thursday ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays, while iron ore barely moved after a three-day advance spurred by a disruption in supply from Rio Tinto’s export facility in Australia. The most actively traded May rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was up 0.7 percent at 3,551 yuan ($524.90) a tonne after some losses in the two previous sessions. Trading volume, however, is the smallest in two weeks at 2.26 million tonnes. Hot rolled coil was at 3,458 yuan, up 1 percent.

Raw sugar touches two-month high

Raw sugar futures rose to a two-month high on Wednesday, boosted by fund short covering, while cocoa regained much of the prior session’s losses. March raw sugar settled up 0.01 cent, or 0.1 percent, at 13.17 cents per lb after touching 13.27 cents, the highest since Nov. 5. The recent run-up in prices has been driven by fund short covering against the backdrop of higher oil prices and a strengthening Brazilian real, dealers said.

Total open interest has fallen for the past five sessions, dropping to a nearly two-week low of 890,199 on Tuesday, ICE data show. The extent to which a large net short position has now been covered remains unclear, however, with the continued US government shutdown meaning there have been no weekly Commitment of Traders reports.

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