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World oil futures move higher

Oil futures edged higher on Friday but ended the week with a loss on renewed concerns about slowing global demand and after the dollar posted its best week in six months.

The market was relatively quiet on Friday, with volume of 575,000 contracts, short of the 200-day average of 597,000 daily contracts traded.

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures strengthened 8 cents to settle at $52.72 a barrel but recorded a weekly slump of more than 4 percent, their steepest this year.

Brent crude futures gained 39 cents to settle at $62.02. On the week, Brent dipped more than 1 percent. The dollar gained 1.1 percent against a basket of currencies, its best performance since August, hurting oil, which is priced in dollars and becomes more expensive for non-US buyers when the dollar’s value rises.

The market was supported modestly on Friday by news that the United States and China may still be able to meet a March 1 deadline to resolve specific issues in their trade dispute.

Gold prices up on gloomy economic outlook

Gold rose on Friday as a gloomy global economic outlook dented risk appetite, but a firm dollar stemmed bullion’s advance and kept the metal on track for its first weekly decline in three.

Spot gold was up 0.3 percent at $1,313.95 per ounce at 1:54 pm EST (1854 GMT), having recovered from an over one-week low of $1,302.11 touched on Thursday. US gold futures settled up 0.3 percent at $1,318.50.

However, while bullion has risen about 13 percent from 1-1/2-year lows touched in August, mostly because of volatile stock markets and a dovish US Federal Reserve, a strong dollar has driven gold down about 0.3 percent so far this week. Holdings in the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, the SPDR Gold Trust, have fallen more than 1 percent for the week.

Meanwhile, palladium rose 0.8 percent to $1,396 an ounce. Spot silver gained 0.5 percent to $15.79, while platinum was up 0.1 percent at $796.50.

Colombia coffee output up 14.6pc

Colombia produced 1.3 million 60-kg bags of washed arabica coffee in January, the coffee federation said on Tuesday, up 14.6 percent from the same month a year earlier. The increase was due to favorable weather conditions, the federation said. Exports last month were up 14.3 percent from the same month in 2018, to 1.2 million bags. Colombia produced 13.6 million 60-kg bags of washed arabica coffee in 2018, down 4.5 percent from 2017, production.

Congo 2018 copper output up 12.9pc

Copper production in Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa’s top producer, rose 12.9 percent in 2018 to 1.2 million tonnes, the Chamber of Commerce said in a presentation on Wednesday. Output of cobalt, a key component of electric car batteries, rose 43.8 percent to 106,439 tonnes, while gold production increased by 22.6 percent to 28,539 kg.

Ukraine grain sales seen at 28.6m tonnes

The volume of Ukrainian grain already exported and prepared for export has reached 28.6 million tonnes so far in the 2018/19 season, against 25 million by the same point a season ago, Ukraine’s state service for food safety said on Wednesday.

Ukraine has said it harvested a record 70 million tonnes of grain in 2018, versus 61.3 million in 2017, while the agriculture ministry said exports could rise to 47.2 million tonnes in the July 2018-June 2019, season from 39.4 million the season before. It said the volume included 11.5 million tonnes of wheat, including 7.1 million tonnes of milling wheat, compared with 12.3 million in the same period last season, while corn shipments rose to 13.3 million tonnes from around 8.2 million. Grains, vegetable oils and oilseeds dominate Ukrainian agricultural exports.


Indonesia’s 2018 total palm oils exports rise 8pc

Indonesia’s 2018 exports of palm oils, including oleochemical and biodiesel shipments, rose 8 percent from a year earlier to 34.6 million tonnes, the Indonesian Palm Oil Association (GAPKI) said on Wednesday.

Crude palm oil output last year rose 12.5 percent to 43 million tonnes, GAPKI chairman Joko Supriyono told. Meanwhile, domestic use of palm oil “jumped significantly” to 13.4 million tonnes, Supriyono added, due to implementation of a wider biodiesel mandate, as well as for food demand.

Nickel falls, concerns over vale supply linger

Nickel prices fell on Tuesday as traders took profits after betting the metal up to four-month highs in the previous session on concerns that Brazilian miner Vale could be forced to curtail supply. Nickel surged 5 percent on Monday after a Brazilian state court ordered Vale to stop using eight tailings dams following a disaster last month that probably killed more than 300 people.

The order will hit nine percent of Vale’s iron ore production, but analysts say the company’s nickel output should emerge unscathed. Benchmark London Metal Exchange (LME) nickel closed down 1.7 percent in official midday rings at $13,040 a tonne, having hit $13,265, not far off Monday’s four-month peak at $13,275.

Natural gas price plunge isn’t over yet

Natural gas prices started the winter season with a bang, but could end it with a whimper. Henry Hub natural gas prices spiked last November to multi-year highs, nearing $5/MMBtu. The extraordinary drawdown in inventories left the US with the smallest cushion of gas supplies in over 15 years.

A cold snap threatened to push gas supplies to dangerously low levels, and eyeing that thin margin, prices jumped and volatility spiked. The surge in prices was brief, however. Winter got off to a mild start, and demand was relatively muted as well.

Milk production crashes in northern Victoria

Dairy Australia figures released last month reveal November production had reduced by a fifth from the same time the previous year, with current production levels 13 per cent of 2017-18 levels. The report continues a trend of shrinking production in the region, which has seen a reduction of more than 113million litres. Dairy Australia analyst John Droppert said the results would not have been surprising to anyone working in the industry. Although he said the figures had been slightly inflated due to the strong year experienced last year, he ultimately expected the trend to continue.

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