Friday, 1 January 2016

India will soon allow duty-free imports of 500,000 T corn

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India will soon allow duty-free imports of 500,000 T corn - sources
India will soon ask state-run traders to import half a million tonnes of duty-free corn after a second straight drought cut output, in what would be the country's first overseas purchase in 16 years, two government sources said on Thursday.

India has agreed to allow state-run traders such as PEC Ltd to import corn to curb rising prices and avoid shortages, said a government official directly involved in the decision-making process. The official requested anonymity because he is not authorised to talk to the media.

The government will import only non-genetically modified varieties, another government official said.

Trade ministry spokesman Rajinder Choudhury had no immediate comment.

India is traditionally a major corn exporter to southeast Asia, but higher local prices because of the first back-to-back drought in nearly three decades and rising domestic demand have hampered exports.

The country has not struck even a single deal so far in the current fiscal year, after selling 2.8 million tonnes in 2014/15. Local corn prices have jumped 28 percent in the past six months.

The dramatic switch in India's position in the market is likely to bring further cheer to rival suppliers like Brazil, Argentina and the United States.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Oil ends 2015 in downbeat mood, hangover to be long and painful

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Oil prices opened the final trading session of 2015 in a downbeat mood after record US crude inventories reinforced concerns over a global supply glut that has pulled down prices by a third over the past year. 

Crude inventories in the United States, the world's largest petroleum producer, rose 2.6 million barrels last week, the US Energy Information Administration said. 

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a draw of 2.5 million barrels. Crude prices held losses after falling 3 percent in the previous session, with US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 trading around USD 36.70 per barrel in early Asian hours on Thursday and Brent opening around USD 36.60 per barrel. 

The immediate outlook for oil prices remains bleak, with some analysts like Goldman Sachs saying prices as low as USD 20 per barrel might be necessary to push enough production out of business and allow a rebalancing of the market.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Copper Falls prey to Profit-booking

Copper futures were trading tad lower in the domestic market on Wednesday as the sharp surge in prices in the previous session prompted traders, to book profits, in the industrial metal, at existing levels. 

Prices of the metal soared by nearly 3 per cent on Tuesday as reports that Chinese smelters may slash output by a total 200,000 metric tons next quarter to support prices, and speculation of further China stimulus after the People’s Bank of China said that it would "flexibly" use various policy tools to maintain appropriate liquidity, bolstered sentiment. 

China is the world’s biggest consumer of copper, accounting for more than 40 per cent of the metal’s global consumption. At the MCX, Copper futures for February 2016 contract is trading at Rs 316.5 per kg, down by 0.05 per cent after opening at Rs 316.25, against the previous closing price of Rs 316.65. It touched the intra-day low of Rs 315.2.

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Silver up on positive global cues

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Silver futures were trading higher in the domestic market on Wednesday as investors and speculators booked fresh positions in the precious metal tracking a positive trend in the overseas market but trading volumes remained thin with most investors on the sidelines ahead of the New Year. 

The focus today will be on US housing data which may shape the outlook for US interest rates in 2016, affecting movement in precious metals which tend to get adversely affected by monetary tightening. US pending home sales index probably rose 0.5 per cent in November from October when it climbed 0.2 per cent, data may show today. 

At the MCX, Silver futures for March 2015 contract is trading at Rs 33,595 per kg, up by 0.11 per cent after opening at Rs 33,656, against the previous closing price of Rs 33,558. It touched the intra-day high of Rs 33,696. (At 12:01 PM).

Crude oil prices drop more than 1 percent as weak outlook prevails

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Crude oil futures fell around half a dollar early on Wednesday as the market remained under pressure from slowing demand and high supplies, while forecasts that a cold snap in Europe and the United States would be short-lived also hurt prices.

Crude prices have plunged by two-thirds since mid-2014 as soaring output from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and the United States led to a global surplus of between half a million and 2 million barrels per day.

More recently, a slowing demand outlook, especially in Asia but also Europe, has started dragging on prices.

Front-month U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were trading at $37.18 per barrel at 0140 GMT, down 69 cents or 1.82 percent from their last settlement. Brent futures were down 47 cents, or 1.24 percent, to $37.32 a barrel.

Traders said the price falls were largely a result of a weak outlook for next year and the closing of 2015 trade books.

"The 2016 outlook is for lower prices, especially early next year. Many are closing their last long positions for the year today as nobody wants to come back in January and be surprised badly. Better start with a clean sheet," a trader said.

Forecasts that an upcoming cold weather in Europe will only be short-lived could also hurt crude prices.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Oil prices edge down as slowing demand adds to high output

Crude oil futures came under renewed pressure early on Tuesday as fears of slowing demand added to near-record global production levels, which have already slashed prices by two-thirds since the middle of last year. 

Front-month US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures CLc1 were trading at USD 36.75 per barrel at 0105 GMT, down 6 cents from Monday's close.

 The international benchmark Brent LCOc1 was at USD 36.59 per barrel, down 3 cents from their last close and less than a dollar away from 11-year lows reached earlier in December. 

Both contracts are down by two-thirds since prices started tumbling in June 2014. 

While output from exporters like Russia, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and US shale drillers has been at or near record highs, demand has so far held up strong, preventing oil prices from falling even lower.

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Oil slump keeps gold under pressure in thin trade

Oil slump keeps gold under pressure in thin tradeGold struggled to recover from overnight losses on Tuesday as a relentless slide in oil prices dented demand for the metal, often seen as an inflation-hedge.

Spot gold was little changed at $1,070.05 an ounce by 0116 GMT, after losing 0.6 percent in the previous session. Volumes remained thin in the last trading week of the year.

In the absence of strong trading cues and liquidity, gold is likely to remain range-bound for the remainder of the week, tracking oil and currency markets.

"Over the short-term, the precious metal will likely trend sideways, as funds look to close out the year and contemplate heading into next year with a fresh slate," said INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir.

Gold was sold off on Monday as oil fell more than 3 percent, with global benchmark Brent back near 11-year lows as last week's short-covering dried up and players worried that crude prices had more room to swoon in the new year.

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Monday, 28 December 2015

Oil prices Weaken post-Christmas, U.S. Crude defends premium over Brent

Oil prices fell on Monday after the long Christmas weekend, with U.S. crudes defending a newly gained premium over internationally traded Brent contracts in quiet trading ahead of the end of the year.

Front-month U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were trading at $37.87 per barrel at 0311 GMT, down 23 cents from their last settlement.

Brent was down 16 cents at $37.73 a barrel, meaning that U.S. crude defended a premium it gained over the globally traded benchmark last week.

Trading volumes were down for both contracts in the post-holiday period. Only about 5,000 WTI contracts have changed hands so far during this trading session on Monday versus 8,953 contracts at this point in the trading session on December 7.

The U.S. market tightened slightly in December following reduced drilling activity, withdrawals from near record crude stockpiles and the prospect of crude exports following a 40-year export ban.

"The biggest adjustment to prices comes from WTI gaining premium over the Brent. This was mainly followed by the U.S. lifting its ban on crude oil exports," Singapore-based Phillip Futures said on Monday.

The brokerage added that it expected "a quiet week ahead" with the biggest expected news for energy markets likely coming from U.S. inventory data to be published on Wednesday and Thursday.

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