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World oil prices rise to this year highs

Oil prices rose more than 2 percent to their highest this year on Friday after an outage at Saudi Arabia’s offshore oilfield boosted expectations for tightening supply, while progressing US-Sino trade talks strengthened demand sentiment.

The international Brent crude benchmark rose $1.68, or 2.6 percent, to settle at $66.25 a barrel, its highest since November.

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures settled up $1.18, or 2.2 percent, at $55.59 a barrel, and hit their highest this year in post-settlement trade at $55.80.

For the week, Brent ended more than 6 percent higher and WTI gained more than 5 percent, partly on tightening supplies since the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies led by Russia started voluntary production cuts last month.

The partial closure of Saudi Arabia’s Safaniya, the world’s largest offshore oilfield, occurred about two weeks ago, a source said on Friday. Safaniya has production capacity of more than 1 million barrels per day. It was not immediately clear when the field would return to full capacity.

Leading OPEC producer Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday it would cut an additional half a million bpd in March more than it previously pledged.

Supply has also been curbed by US sanctions on Venezuelan and Iranian crude and reduced Libyan output because of civil unrest. Security threats could threaten Nigerian production after general elections this weekend.

Spot gold to fall into $1,296-$1,301 range

Spot gold is expected to fall into a range of $1,296-$1,301 per ounce, as suggested by its wave pattern and a retracement analysis.

The correction from the Jan. 31 high of $1,326.30 has not completed. It is driven by wave (4), the forth wave of a five-wave cycle from $1,195.90. It may extend into the range of a previous wave 4, which is roughly from $1,279 to $1,296.

Three smaller waves make up the wave (4). The third wave labeled c is unfolding towards the target zone, which is formed by the 61.8 percent and the 50 percent retracements of the rally from $1,276.59 to $1,326.30. The zone is pointed by a rising trendline as well.

On the daily chart, gold is falling towards $1,287, the 61.8 percent retracement of the uptrend from $1,159.96 to $1,365.23. Resistance is at $1,317, a break above which could lead to a gain to $1,337.

China iron ore imports rise on pre-holiday restocking

China’s iron ore imports climbed 5.3 percent in January from December, customs data showed, supported by strong restocking demand at steel mills ahead of the week-long Lunar New Year holiday this month.

Shipments of the steelmaking raw material last month were 91.26 million tonnes, up from 86.65 million tonnes in December, but were still shy of 100.3 million tonnes in January last year, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Thursday.


China aluminium exports hit record high

China’s aluminium exports surged to a record high in January, according to customs data released on Thursday, as weak domestic demand led to another bumper month of shipments overseas.

Exports of unwrought aluminium and aluminium products from China, the world’s top producer of the metal, rose to 552,000 tonnes last month, the General Administration of Customs said.

That was up 6.2 percent from a revised figure of 520,000 tonnes for December 2018 and up 25.5 percent from a year earlier, beating the previous record high of 542,700 tonnes set in December 2014.

Palm oil rises after 4 days of losse

Malaysian palm oil futures edged higher at the midday break on Thursday, in line to chart a first day of gains in five, on expectations of slowing February output in line with seasonal trend.

The benchmark palm oil contract for April delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange rose 0.3 percent to 2,257 ringgit ($555.50) a tonne at the midday break. Trading volumes stood at 11,727 lots of 25 tonnes each at noon.

Output of palm oil, the world’s most widely used edible oil, typically declines during the first quarter of the year in line with seasonal trend. The trader added that production would also decline as February has fewer working days due to national holidays for the Lunar New Year in Malaysia.

Malaysian palm oil output in January had declined 3.9 percent to 1.74 million tonnes from the previous month, according to data from the Malaysian Palm Oil Board.

Copper prices extend gains on strong China data

London copper prices moved higher for a second session on Thursday after better-than-expected trade data from top copper consumer China, while investors awaited the outcome of high-level Sino-US trade talks in Beijing. Unwrought copper imports into China, the world’s top copper consumer, rose 12 percent from December to 479,000 tonnes in January, according to customs data, their highest level since September.

Imports of copper concentrate also rose to 1.895 million tonnes, the second-highest monthly total on record. China’s overall dollar-denominated exports climbed 9.1 percent from a year earlier, while imports dropped 1.5 percent, both beating analysts’ expectations.

EU wheat pauses after slide as export demand weighed

Euronext wheat futures hovered above a near three-month low on Wednesday, trapped between improving export prospects and a favourable outlook for this year’s European harvest. May milling wheat, the most active contract on Paris-based Euronext, settled 0.25 euro, or 0.1 percent, higher at 202.75 euros ($228.66), just above Tuesday’s 201.50 euro low.

Front-month March ended down 0.25 euro at 201.25 euros, with old-crop contracts underpinned by chart support at 200 euros. A tender purchase of 100,000 tonnes of soft milling wheat by Tunisia on Wednesday could bring sales for competitively priced French wheat, traders said, before a tender on Thursday. However, export sentiment continued to be tempered by concern that demand is building too late to make up for a slow start to the season, particularly as Europe is on course for a large harvest this summer.

China approves new coal mine project in inner Mongolia region

China’s state planner said on Wednesday it had approved a new coal mine project in Inner Mongolia region with total investment at 3.37 billion yuan ($499.19 million) The coal mine project will have an annual capacity of 8 million tonne.

Mexican sugar output at 6.2m tonnes

Domestic sugar firm Sucroliq said on Wednesday it expected Mexican sugar production for the 2019, season to be at 6.2 million tonnes, with a surplus of 2.1 million tonnes. Sucroliq President Enrique Bojorquez also said Mexico was expected to export more to the global market than to the United States in the 2018/2019 season, in remarks made at the Dubai Sugar Conference.

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