Monday, March 19, 2018

Market & Commodities Related News

45 U.S. trade groups urge Trump to avoid tariffs against China - Reuters News
19-Mar-2018 07:44:47 AM
By Pete Schroeder
WASHINGTON, March 18 (Reuters) - Forty-five U.S. trade associations representing some of the largest companies in the country are urging President Donald Trump not to impose tariffs on China, warning it would be "particularly harmful" to the U.S. economy and consumers.
The organizations said in a letter sent to Trump on Sunday that potential tariffs on China would raise prices on consumer goods, kill jobs and drive down financial markets.
The letter marks the latest in a growing rift between Trump and the business community on trade policies, as the president has begun to take more aggressive steps he says are needed to protect domestic industry.
"We urge the administration not to impose tariffs and to work with the business community to find an effective, but measured, solution to China's protectionist trade policies and practices that protects American jobs and competitiveness," the groups wrote.
"Tariffs would be particularly harmful," they said.
The groups called on Trump to work with trade allies to push for changes to China's policies. The business groups said while they had serious concerns about China's approach to trade, unilateral tariffs by the United States would only separate the country from allies, and encourage them to replace the U.S. business presence in China when Beijing retaliates.
Trade associations publicly pushing back include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Retail Federation and the Information Technology Industry Council.
The Trump administration is said to be preparing tariffs against Chinese information technology, telecoms and consumer products in an attempt to force changes in Beijing's intellectual property and investment practices.
The Republican president recently announced plans to impose tariffs on certain steel and aluminum imports, despite opposition from some business sectors. 
The groups also called on Trump to allow industry experts to comment on the economic impact of any changes in trade policy before the measures take effect.
"We urge the administration to take measured, commercially meaningful actions consistent with international obligations that benefit U.S. exporters, importers, and investors, rather than penalize the American consumer and jeopardize recent gains in American competitiveness," they said.

UPDATE 3-Oil prices fall as increased U.S. drilling points to higher output - Reuters News
19-Mar-2018 03:48:06 PM
U.S. rig count rises back to 800 -Baker Hughes
Middle East tensions prevent further price drops
Falling Venezuelan output seen as risk to supply 
Adds Rosneft output figures, comment, updates prices
By Henning Gloystein
SINGAPORE, March 19 (Reuters) - Oil prices fell on Monday as increased drilling in the United States pointed to more output, raising concerns about a return of oversupply.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $62.14 a barrel at 0739 GMT, down 20 cents, or 0.3 percent, from their previous close.
Brent crude futures were at $65.99 per barrel, down 22 cents, or 0.3 percent.
Monday's price falls in part reversed increases last Friday, which came on concerns over tensions in the Middle East.
On a simple supply versus demand basis, however, oil markets are facing the possibility of a renewed glut after being in a slight deficit for much of last year.
U.S. drillers added four oil rigs in the week to March 16, bringing the total count to 800, the weekly Baker Hughes drilling report said on Friday.
"Surging U.S. production will hamper exponential growth in crude oil prices," Singapore-based brokerage Phillip Futures said on Monday.
The U.S. rig count, an early indicator of future output, is much higher than a year ago as energy companies have boosted spending. 
Thanks to the high drilling activity, U.S. crude oil production has risen by more than a fifth since mid-2016, to 10.38 million barrels per day (bpd), pushing it past top exporter Saudi Arabia.
Only Russia produces more, at around 11 million bpd, although U.S. output is expected to overtake Russia's later this year as well. 
Soaring U.S. output, as well as rising output in Canada and Brazil, is undermining efforts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia to curb supplies and bolster prices.
Amid Russia's efforts to restrain output, Russian oil giant Rosneft said on Monday that its fourth quarter 2017 liquid hydrocarbon production reached 56.51 million tonnes, raising its full-year output by 7.3 percent to 225.5 million tonnes, or 4.53 million bpd. 
Many analysts expect global oil markets to flip from slight undersupply in 2017 and early this year into oversupply later in 2018. 
"Let's face it, there is still too much oil," said Matt Stanley, a fuel broker with Freight Investor Services in Dubai in a note.
One risk seen to supplies, however, is Venezuela.
The International Energy Agency said last week that Venezuela, where an economic crisis has cut oil production by almost half since early 2005 to well below 2 million bpd, was "clearly vulnerable to an accelerated decline", and that such a disruption could tip global markets into deficit despite soaring U.S. output. 
(Reporting by Henning Gloystein; editing by Joseph Radford and Richard Pullin)

PRECIOUS-Gold falls for fourth day as dollar stays firm ahead of Fed meeting - Reuters News
19-Mar-2018 04:01:13 PM
Investors eye Fed policy projections
Platinum touches lowest in over 2 months
(Updates prices)
By Eileen Soreng
March 19 (Reuters) - Gold prices extended losses into a fourth session on Monday and hit a more than two-week low, with the dollar remaining supported as investors expect the U.S. Federal Reserve to raise interest rates this week.
Spot gold was down 0.2 percent at $1,310.03 per ounce at 0735 GMT. Prices fell to $1,307.51 earlier in the session, their lowest since March 1.
U.S. gold futures for April delivery dropped 0.2 percent to $1,309.40 per ounce.
"I think the overall economic recovery is good enough for the (U.S.) central bank to consider a faster pace of normalization of monetary policies," said Mark To, head of research at Hong Kong's Wing Fung Financial Group.
A two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting begins on Tuesday, with the U.S. central bank expected to hike interest rates for the first time this year.
"It is somehow expected and is already priced in the market so I stick to my prediction that precious metals, with gold included, are going to have range-bound trading, unless something really surprising happens," said To.
With a 25 basis point rate hike seen as a done deal, one key focus is on whether Fed policy makers forecast four rate hikes this year instead of the three they had projected at December meeting.
Gold is highly sensitive to rising U.S. interest rates, becoming less attractive to investors as it does not bear interest.
The dollar inched higher against a basket of major peers on Monday as traders braced for the Fed meeting and as the increased threat of trade protectionism kept markets on edge. 
The dollar index was up 0.1 percent at 90.302. On Friday, it hit a two-week high near 90.38, following strong U.S. economic data. 
"Potential market headwinds from the underlying (susceptibility) to risk-appetite, heightened (geo) political tensions, inflation concerns, Russia tensions, to name a few, could help keep the floor on gold prices in check," Stephen Innes, APAC trading head at OANDA, said in a note.
Gold speculators cut their net long position by 16,153 contracts to 145,659 contracts, according to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data. This was the smallest net long position since early January.
Among other precious metals, silver was down 0.3 percent at $16.26 per ounce and palladium inched 0.1 percent lower to $993.90 per ounce.
Platinum was 0.5 percent lower at $938.49 per ounce after falling to its lowest since Jan. 3 at $936.50.

UPDATE 1-Speculators cut net long positions in COMEX gold, copper -CFTC - Reuters News
17-Mar-2018 03:51:29 AM
Adds background, details, table
NEW YORK, March 16 (Reuters) - Hedge funds and money managers trimmed their net long positions in COMEX gold and copper contracts in the week to March 13, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data showed on Friday.
Speculators raised their net short position in silver futures and options contracts, the data showed.
Gold speculators cut their net long position by 16,153 contracts to 145,659 contracts, according to the CFTC data. This was the smallest net long position since early January.
During the week, spot gold prices slipped as equities rallied after strong U.S. jobs data boosted risk appetite. This shored up expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve would press ahead with further interest rate rises this year.
Higher interest rates make gold less attractive since bullion does not bear interest.
Speculators trimmed their net long position in copper by 1,419 contracts to 27,357 contracts, the CFTC data showed.
Silver speculators raised their net short position by 5,356 contracts to 16,188 contracts, according to the data.

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