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World oil prices move up

Oil futures edged up on Thursday as a drop in crude exports from OPEC’s de facto leader, Saudi Arabia, and a draw in U.S. drilling rigs and oil inventories supported prices.

Brent crude futures settled at $71.97 a barrel, up 35 cents from their last close and near Wednesday’s five-month high of $72.27. Brent saw a weekly gain of 0.6 percent, marking the fourth consecutive weekly rise for the international benchmark.

In post-settlement trade, the contract added 4 cents to $72.01 a barrel. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures settled at $64.00 a barrel, up 24.00 cents. US futures gained just under 0.2 percent for the week, their seventh weekly gain in a row.

Many financial markets will be closed on Friday for public holidays.

Saudi Arabia’s crude oil exports fell by 277,000 barrels to just under 7 million bpd in February from the month before, according to data from the Joint Organizations Data Initiative (JODI).

US crude, gasoline and distillate inventories dropped this week, with crude posting an unexpected drawdown, the first in four weeks, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) data showed on Wednesday.

Gold steadies near 4-month low

Gold held steady near a four-month low on Thursday as gains in dollar driven by data showing robust US retail sales offset support for the metal from weak manufacturing data out of Europe, which kindled some concerns over global growth.

Spot gold was mostly unchanged at $1,274.16 per ounce as of 2:02 p.m. EDT (1802 GMT), having fallen to its lowest since Dec. 27 at $1,270.63 earlier in the session. The metal has so far lost more than 1 percent in the holiday-shortened week and was on track for a fourth straight weekly decline.

US gold futures settled down 0.1 percent to $1,276.

Most markets are closed for Good Friday on April 19.

A stronger dollar makes gold costlier for investors holding other currencies. Investors are also keeping an eye on talks between the United States and China to resolve a trade dispute. The two countries are aiming to conclude negotiations by early June, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

Silver fell 0.1 percent to $14.99 per ounce. Platinum hits its highest level in about a week at $899.89. Palladium gained 1 percent at $1,415.51, having earlier climbed to its highest in two weeks at $1,421.01, putting the autocatalyst metal on track for its best week in seven.

Kazakhstan’s q1 copper output up

Kazakhstan’s refined copper output rose 10.1 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2019, while refined zinc production fell 2.9 percent and crude steel output was down 2.7 percent, Statistics Committee data showed on Wednesday. London-listed copper miner KAZ Minerals and Glencore’s Kazzinc account for a large part of Kazakhstan’s metals production.

US wheat hopes to grab 80pc of Brazil tariff-free import quota

US Wheat Associates, the group representing the United States wheat industry, is eying an 80percent chunk of Brazil’s 750,000-tonne tariff-free wheat import quota, Vince Peterson, the group’s president, told on Wednesday.

Peterson is leading a delegation of US wheat producers and merchants visiting Brazilian wheat mills and food processors this week to gauge sales potential for coming months once a tariff-free quota is implemented. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced the tariff-free quota during his visit to Washington last month. It will also apply to other suppliers such as Russia.

Currently, US supplies around 300,000-400,000 tonnes in a normal year. That can rise a lot if the Brazilian or the Argentine crops have problems.


Cotton futures inch higher on firm technical outlook

ICE cotton futures edged higher on Wednesday as the technical picture for prices improved, supported by optimism from progressing US-China trade talks.

The most-active cotton contract on ICE Futures US, July, settled up 0.4 cent, or 0.51 percent, at 78.96 cents per lb. Cotton prices traded within a range of 78.1 to 79.25 cents a lb during the session.

Prices were trading above key technical levels including the 100-day moving average. Speculators who trade on technical signals regard a break above the 100-day moving average as a bullish sign. When prices break above 80 cents, it will pull prices higher like a magnet on speculative buying, boosted by US-China trade talks and export numbers on Thursday, if good, Nunn said.

The USDA will release its weekly export sales report on Thursday.

ICE Canola down for 3rd straight day

ICE Canada nearby canola futures fell on Wednesday for a third straight session, following declines in allied U.S. soybean markets, traders said.

Spreading was a feature as commodity funds continued to roll positions in the May futures contract into forward months. Additional pressure stemmed from sluggish export demand and ideas that Canadian canola seedings for 2019 might not fall much below year-ago levels. Statistics Canada is due to report April 24 on principal field crops area.

May canola ended down $3.30 at $451.20 per tonne. July canola settled down $3.50 at $458.70 per tonne and November ended down $3.50 at $470.40 per tonne. The May-July spread traded 11,527 times between $6.90 and $7.90, premium July.

Malaysian palm oil climbs again

Malaysian palm oil futures rose for a second straight session, and marked their strongest daily gain in two weeks, on Wednesday on the back of a weaker ringgit.

The benchmark palm oil contract for July delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange closed 1.5 percent higher at 2,205 ringgit a tonne. It had reached a one-week high of 2,219 ringgit earlier in the day.

A weaker ringgit would make palm oil cheaper for foreign buyers. Malaysia’s currency depreciated against the dollar and weakened as much as 0.3 percent on Wednesday before paring some losses. It was last down 0.1 percent at 4.1330 in the evening.

Another trader said slower-than-expected output growth added more support to palm prices later in the day.

In related oils, the Chicago May soybean oil contract gained 0.5 percent, and the May soyoil contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange was up 0.3 percent.

Indonesia 2019-20 sugar output to slip

Indonesia’s sugar sector remains highly regulated, with the government controlling imports and domestic market prices and supply chains. While sugar production is expected to increase slightly in 2018/19, output is forecast to fall in 2019/20 due to dwindling land availability. Meanwhile, population growth and the food and beverage sector’s robust expansion continues to fuel demand.

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