Saturday, March 17, 2018

Metals & Agriculture Related News.

PRECIOUS-Gold dips, down for week; market braces for Fed rate hike - Reuters News

17-Mar-2018 01:55:31 AM

  • Gold down 0.8 percent this week
  • Investors braced for U.S. rate hike next week
  • U.S. political uncertainty fuels some safe-haven demand

(Updates prices; adds comment, additional byline, NEW YORK to dateline)

By Renita D. Young and Peter Hobson

NEW YORK/LONDON, March 16 (Reuters) - Gold prices dipped on Friday and were set for their biggest weekly fall in three weeks on pressure from a stronger U.S. dollar and expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next week for the first time this year.

Losses were limited by political tumult in the United States which fueled safe-haven demand for bullion.

A Fed rate hike generally lifts bond yields, making non-yielding bullion less attractive. Higher U.S. interest rates also tend to strengthen the dollar, making gold more expensive for users of other currencies.

Spot gold dipped 0.3 percent, trading at $1,312.36 per ounce by 1:35 p.m. EST (1735 GMT). It was on track to end the week down 0.8 percent.

U.S. gold futures  for April delivery settled down $5.50, or 0.4 percent, at $1,312.30 per ounce.

Gold has tended in recent years to fall before U.S. interest rate hikes and rally afterwards.

"It recovers because the interest rates that we're seeing right now are not negative for gold," added Jeffrey Christian, managing partner of CPM Group.

Technical support for gold was at its 100-day moving average around $1,304, the psychologically important level of $1,300 and the 200-day moving average at $1,290.

Gold prices were supported by deepening U.S. political uncertainty and fears that U.S. tariffs on aluminum and steel could disrupt global trade.

On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that Donald Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, would become the latest senior official to leave his post. The New York Times said U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller had issued a subpoena for documents related to Trump's businesses.

"There is a lot of confusion in the market about what the White House's strategy is on any large macro issues," said Mitsubishi Analyst Jonathan Butler.

"These factors should keep gold above $1,300, but it's more of a holding pattern and a generally supportive environment than something that is going to raise prices significantly."

Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures, said gold prices are low relative to other commodities.

A diplomatic crisis between Russia and Britain over the poisoning of a former Russian double agent on English soil underlined gold safe-haven appeal.

Among other precious metals, silver lost 0.5 percent at $16.29 an ounce, poised for a 1.9 percent weekly drop, its largest weekly decline since early February.

Platinum dropped 0.5 percent at $949.10 an ounce, on track for a 1.6 percent weekly decline. Palladium increased 0.7 percent at $993.10 an ounce, ending the week barely changed.

METALS-Copper hits one-week low on dollar and politics; China hopes limit falls - Reuters News

By Maytaal Angel

LONDON, March 16 (Reuters) - Copper hit a one-week low on Friday as the dollar recovered and concerns lingered that U.S. tariffs could provoke a trade war, though hopes for strong growth in China kept losses in check.

The dollar recovered its losses versus a currency basket while Wall Street ticked higher after data showed strong U.S. factory output and improving consumer sentiment, though concerns lingered over turmoil in the U.S. government.

A strong U.S. currency makes dollar-priced metals costlier for non-U.S. investors.

"The demand data and forecasts point to stronger demand, especially in China, so the deficit on the (copper) market is likely to continue this year," said Eugen Weinberg, head of commodities research at Commerzbank.

"The question is whether (this deficit) is not already priced in. We think it is. (Also) we expect through the year a somewhat stronger U.S. dollar."

* LME COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange
 closed 0.5 percent down at $6,888 a tonne, having hit a one-week low of $6,852.

* FED MEETING: ANZ said investors "are likely to remain cautious" ahead of next week's Federal Reserve meeting, at which the U.S. central bank is expected to raise interest rates for the first time this year.

* TRADE WAR: Markets were roiled this week after President Trump ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, viewed as a free trade proponent, and then sought to impose $60 billion of tariffs on Chinese imports.

* OYU TOLGOI: Annual revenue from Mongolia's giant Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine fell 22 percent last year, with construction delays leaving it unable to take full advantage of higher prices. 

* CHILE COPPER: Polish copper producer KGHM said it expects daily copper ore output at its Chilean mine Sierra Gorda to increase by 18 percent next year from current levels. 

* CHINESE COPPER OUTPUT: China's refined copper output in January and February rose by 10.3 percent year on year to 1.48 million tonnes, data showed on Friday. 

* BRAZIL ALUMINA: Norwegian aluminium maker Norsk Hydro  has ordered 600 employees at its Brazilian Alunorte alumina refinery to go on temporary holiday to prevent layoffs at the plant. 

* ALUMINIUM INVENTORIES: Deliverable Shanghai Futures Exchange aluminium inventories rose by 87,303 tonnes to a record 934,216 tonnes, data showed on Friday.

* CHINA ALUMINA: Chinese alumina refineries in Henan province may delay the restart of their plants because of rising costs for the raw material bauxite amid supply tightness, research firm Antaike said.

* METALS PRICES: Aluminium ended flat at $2,085, zinc rose 0.8 percent to $3,260, lead closed 1.2 percent down at $2,383, tin dropped 0.1 percent to $21,000 and nickel  finished down 0.1 percent at $13,625.

GRAINS-U.S. wheat drops on U.S. rains forecast; soybeans up - Reuters News

17-Mar-2018 03:44:56 AM

  • Corn follows wheat lower
  • Soybeans rise for second day
  • Rains on Sunday and Monday could aid U.S. wheat

New throughout, updates U.S. market activity to close, adds comments; changes byline, dateline, previously PARIS/SINGAPORE

By Michael Hirtzer

CHICAGO, March 16 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat futures dropped to a 2-1/2-week low on Friday on outlooks for rains by this weekend that should alleviate stress on some crops in the parched U.S. Plains growing region, traders said.

CBOT May contract wheat settled down 11 cents at $4.67-3/4 per bushel, bringing the losses for the week to more than 6 percent - the biggest weekly decline since August.

"They really increased rain chances from yesterday, through overnight and into the morning hours," Midwest Marketing Solutions analyst Brian Hoops said of the weather forecast.

Wheat had fallen below several moving averages on Thursday, triggering selling.

"There's bearish fundamentals and bearish technical action," Hoops added.

Rains on Sunday and Monday will benefit the northeastern half of the Plains wheat belt but will likely miss the main drought areas in southern Kansas and Oklahoma, according to meteorologists and analysts.

At the same time, favorable weather ahead of spring grain sowing in Black Sea producers Russia and Ukraine is bolstering the chances of another large wheat harvest due to good levels of soil moisture, analysts and industry officials said. 

"As far as the Black Sea production looks good, buyers are not too worried about U.S. drought," said one Singapore-based trader who sells wheat to millers across Southeast Asia. "Mills are not going to chase a rally in prices at this stage."

CBOT May corn settled down 4 cents at $3.82-3/4 per bushel, the lowest since March 1. Corn largely tracked losses in wheat in relatively light trading volume.

CBOT May soybeans settled up 8-3/4 cents at $10.49-1/2 per bushel, rising for the second straight session on fund buying linked to expectations of a smaller soy and corn harvest in Argentina due to drought.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission after the close of trading on Friday said speculative investors as of Tuesday slightly cut their net long in soybean futures and increased their corn net long.

The Rosario Grains Exchange on Thursday cut its estimate of Argentina's soy harvest to 40 million bushels from 46.5 million previously. 

That was also well below the 47 million tonnes forecast by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) this month.

AG CFTC: Hedge Fund Managers Boost Net Bearish Soy Oil Bets

By Bloomberg Automation

(Bloomberg) -- 

Money managers have increased their bearish soy oil bets by 12,175 net-short positions to 21,221, weekly CFTC data on futures and options show.

  • The net-short position was the most bearish in three weeks
  • Long-only positions fell 4,544 lots to 69,391 in the week ending Mar. 13
    • The long-only total was the lowest in three weeks
  • Short-only positions rose 7,631 lots to 90,612
    • The short-only total was the highest in three weeks

20180317 U.S. Markets & Energy Related News.

US STOCKS-Wall Street advances as financial, energy stocks gain - Reuters News

Updates to early afternoon
By Sruthi Shankar
March 16 (Reuters) - Wall Street's main indexes rose on Friday after strong economic data boosted financial stocks and a jump in oil prices lifted shares of energy companies.
JPMorgan and Bank of America rose nearly 1 percent, helping the S&P financial index gain 0.55 percent.
The top gainer on the S&P 500 was the energy index, which rose 1.2 percent, helped by advances in shares of Exxon and Schlumberger.
"It seems like fundamental backdrop is positive and that is offsetting the turmoil at the White House," Jack Ablin, chief investment officer, Cresset Wealth Advisors, Chicago.
The gains come at the end of a rocky week, dominated by concerns of a trade war with China and political turmoil, which began with the ouster of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
"Anything that leans towards protectionism tends to be negative headwind to the markets," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR in New York. "As we hear more rhetoric, the more concerned we get."
The three main indexes are still on track to end the week lower, with the S&P 500 .SPX posting its longest streak of losses in 2018.
At 12:30 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 0.5 percent at 24,996.84 points. The S&P 500 rose 0.35 percent to 2,756.85 points and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 0.08 percent at 7,487.59 points.
Economic data showed U.S. factory output jumped 1.1 percent in February. 
Retailers Walmart WMT.N and Home Depot HD.N gained more than 1 percent after the University of Michigan's preliminary reading of consumer sentiment index rose more-than-expected to 102.0.
Adobe Systems ADBE.O was up 3 percent after the Photoshop maker topped analysts' profit and revenue estimates for the seventh straight quarter. 
Micron Technology MU.O rose 2.2 percent after Baird analysts raised price target on the stock by $40 to $100 and Western Digital WDC.N gained 3.5 percent after an upgrade to "outperform". 
Volatility is expected to increase on Friday as investors unwind interests in futures and options contracts prior to their expiration.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE for a 2.24-to-1 ratio and for a 1.63-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

Oil rises with Wall Street, heads for weekly gain - Reuters News

By Stephanie Kelly
NEW YORK, March 16 (Reuters) - Oil prices rose on Friday, on track for a weekly gain as market participants followed the U.S. stock market higher and looked to cover short bets ahead of a weekend in which the "60 Minutes" news program will air an interview with Saudi Arabia's crown prince.
Brent crude  futures rose 76 cents to $65.88 a barrel, a 1.2 percent gain, by 12:16 p.m. EDT (1612 GMT). West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for April, which will expire on Tuesday, rose 94 cents to $62.13 a barrel, a 1.5 percent gain.
Earlier both contracts were up over a dollar. 
Saudi Crown Prince "Mohammed bin Salman will be on '60 Minutes' on Sunday comparing Iran's Ayatollah to Hitler, and the battle in Ghouta, Syria, is ramping up," said John Kilduff, partner at investment manager Again Capital in New York. "You can't be short oil over the weekend with all that going on in the region." 
Gains on Wall Street also supported prices as crude futures have recently been moving in tandem with U.S. stock indices. 
Oil was on track for a weekly loss in early trade, but Friday's rise put them on course for a weekly gain. 
On Thursday the International Energy Agency (IEA) said global oil demand is expected to pick up this year but supply is growing at a faster pace, leading to a rise in inventories in the first quarter of 2018. 
The agency raised its forecast for oil demand this year to 99.3 million barrels per day (bpd) from 97.8 million bpd in 2017, and said it expected supply from non-OPEC nations to grow by 1.8 million bpd in 2018 to 59.9 million bpd, led by the United States.
OPEC and other producers have cut output to reduce a global crude glut. Investors will watch U.S. rig count data due at 1 p.m. EDT on Friday. 
"Producers, as we've gone through earnings, are showing that they're going to remain disciplined even with a little more supportive oil price, which we think is healthy for the market," said Matt Sallee, a portfolio manager at Tortoise Capital in Leawood, Kansas.
Sallee added that he expected the data to show a small pickup in rig counts. 
On Wednesday, the U.S. government reported that crude stockpiles in the United States increased by a more-than-expected 5 million barrels.  
Political risk linked to Tehran increased after Rex Tillerson was sacked as U.S. secretary of state in favor of an Iran and North Korea hawk. Saudi Arabia's crown prince said Riyadh would develop nuclear weapons if Iran did so.