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World oil climbs on Us-Iran tensions

Oil prices rose about 1 percent on Friday after steep losses a day earlier, supported by rising tensions between the United States and Iran, even as concerns that slowing economic growth could dent global oil demand cast a cloud.

For the week, benchmark crude prices declined, having fallen sharply earlier in the week on demand worries.

Brent crude LCOc1 futures settled 54 cents higher at $62.47 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 futures rose 33 cents to end the session at $55.63 a barrel. Still, WTI dropped 7% for the week and Brent lost about 5.5% for the week, the steepest losses for both benchmarks since late May.

Prices gained late in the session after Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said they had captured a British-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf after Britain seized an Iranian vessel earlier this month, further raising tensions along a vital international oil shipping route.

Prices were also buoyed Friday by indications the US Federal Reserve will interest cut rates aggressively to support the economy. Meanwhile, US energy firms this week reduced the number of oil rigs operating for a third week in a row as drillers follow through on plans to cut spending.

Gold prices down, still up for the week

Gold fell over 1% on Friday as the dollar firmed and investors took profits after prices briefly surpassed $1,450 to hit a six-year peak on dovish signals from the US Federal Reserve and is still on course for a second week of gains.

Spot gold was down 1.5% at $1,424.13 per ounce at 1:52 p.m. EDT (1752 GMT), having touched its highest since early May 2013 at $1,452.60. US gold futures settled down 0.1% at $1,426.70 per ounce.

Elsewhere, silver slipped 1.2% to $16.14 per ounce, after surging to its highest level in more than a year, but was on track for its best week since July 2016, having gained about 6%. Platinum dipped 0.2% to $846.98 per ounce, after hitting a two-month high, while palladium fell 0.8% to $1,513.11 per ounce.

China copper smelters slash charges

China’s top copper smelters on Thursday lowered their floor treatment and refining charges (TC/RCs) for the third quarter by 24.7 percent, two people familiar with the matter said, with one adding smelters will consider cutting output if low rates persist.

The 10-member China Smelters Purchase Team (CSPT) set the treatment charge floor at $55 per tonne, and the refining charge floor at 5.5 cents a pound at a meeting in Hunchun, in northeast China’s Jilin province, said the people, who asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

The group has now cut its floor for two straight quarters. The TC/RC floor for the second quarter was $73 per tonne and 7.3 cents a pound and for the first quarter at $92 per tonne and 9.2 cents a pound. There was no floor set in the third quarter of 2018. The annual TC benchmark for 2019 was set at $80.80 a tonne last November.

Copper miners pay TC/RCs to smelters to process their ore into refined metal and CSPT members in China, the world’s top copper consumer, are supposed to adhere to the floor charges in any spot processing deals.


Malaysian palm oil gains

Malaysian palm oil futures reversed early losses to end higher on Wednesday evening, supported by a weaker ringgit and tracking gains in crude oil and soyoil on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT). The benchmark palm oil contract for October delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange was up 0.4percent at 1,981 ringgit ($481.70) per tonne at the close of trade. The ringgit, palm’s currency of trade, fell 0.1percent against the dollar to 4.1125 on Wednesday evening, though it was still trading at three-month highs.

A weaker ringgit makes the edible oil cheaper for foreign buyers. Meanwhile, oil prices regained little ground lost in the previous session, weighed down by industry data suggesting US crude inventories fell less than expected. US soyoil prices were last up 0.4 percent on Wednesday, while the September soyoil contract on the Dalian exchange fell 0.3percent. Meanwhile, the Dalian September palm oil also slid 0.6percent.

Palm oil prices are affected by movements in related oils that compete for a share of the global vegetable oils market.

Ukraine grain exports on the rise

Ukraine’s grain exports rose to 1.7 million tonnes so far in the 2019/20 July-June season compared with 778,000 tonnes at the same point in the previous season, the agriculture ministry said on Wednesday. Ukraine plans to harvest at least 70 million tonnes of grain this year, almost the same volume as it threshed in 2018.

The ministry gave no export forecast for this season. In 2018/19, Ukraine exported a record 50 million tonnes of various grains. Grains, vegetable oils and oilseeds dominate Ukraine’s agricultural exports.

Raw sugar slips following bearish white sugar expiry

Raw sugar futures slipped on Wednesday on signs of excess stocks after almost 800,000 tonnes of white sugar was delivered against the August contract when it expired in the previous session.

October raw sugar slipped 0.06 cents, or 0.5 percent, to 11.93 cents per lb at 1415 GMT, having touched its lowest since May 31 on Tuesday at 11.90.

October white sugar was up $0.80, or 0.2 percent, at $315.00 a tonne. The August contract expired on Tuesday at a discount of $19.30 to October, indicating surplus supply and little demand for the sugar.

A total of 793,350 tonnes of Thai white sugar was tendered against the August contract.

Egypt’s GASC says buys 60,000 tonnes of Russian wheat

Egypt’s state grain buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), said it bought 60,000 tonnes of Russian wheat in a tender on Wednesday. Traders said GASC paid $215.54 per tonne, including cost and freight (C&F), for the wheat, comprising $201.35 on a free-on-board (FOB) basis and $14.19 for freight. GASC had earlier received offers of Russian, Ukrainian and Romanian wheat in the tender, which sought supplies for Aug. 21-31 shipment.

Russia coal production hits 17-month low

Russian coal production in June dropped to a 17-month low of 1.1m tonnes/day, as miners increasingly focus on the output of higher-grade material, at the expense of volume, official data showed on Wednesday. Output was 5 percent lower on the month – and down 6% on the year – while first-half production declined by a marginal 0.5 percent to 213m tonnes.

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