GOLD – Gold held steady on Thursday to keep most of its gains from the previous session, with the dollar slipping after minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting downplayed the chance of more aggressive interest rate hikes. The minutes showed policymakers agreed they should hold off on raising interest rates until it was clear a recent U.S. economic slowdown was temporary, although most said a hike was coming soon. Higher interest rates tend to boost the dollar .
COPPER – The copper price fell on Wednesday after Moody’s downgraded China’s credit ratings for the first time in 30 years, raising concerns about demand in the world’s largest consumer of industrial metals, but a drop in copper stockpiles limited losses. According to Angel Commodities, prices are expected to trade sideways today as global investors are highly cautious about the developments in the US and recent Chinese downgrade. Also, OPEC meeting will be closely watched toady. Analysts attributed the fall in copper prices at futures trade to a weak trend in base metals at the domestic spot markets due to low demand from consuming industries.
NICKEL – Amid muted demand at domestic spot markets and profit-booking by speculators, nickel prices dropped 1.50 per cent to Rs 595.70 per kg in futures trade today. Analysts said the fall in nickel prices in futures trade after participants cut down their holdings amid a weakening trend at the domestic spot markets due to easing demand from alloy-makers.
ALUMINIUM – Aluminium prices drifted lower by 0.59 per cent to Rs 125.70 per kg in futures trading today as speculators cut down positions, driven by easing demand at the spot market. Analysts said trimming of positions by participants owing to slackened demand from consuming industries in the spot market mainly influenced aluminum prices at futures trade.
NATURAL GAS – U.S. natural gas futures were lower for the second session in a row on Wednesday, as updated weather forecasting models points to weaker demand for the fuel. The latest U.S. weather model called for mild temperatures over the next two weeks, which should reduce demand during that time. Natural gas prices have closely tracked weather forecasts in recent weeks, as traders try to gauge the impact of shifting outlooks on spring heating demand. Gas use typically hits a seasonal low with spring’s mild temperatures, before warmer weather increases demand for gas-fired electricity generation to power air conditioning.
CRUDE OIL – Oil prices rose ahead of an OPEC meeting on Thursday that is expected to extend a production cut aimed at tightening the market well into 2018, adding at least nine months to an initial six-month cut in the first half of this year. Prices have risen on a consensus that a pledge by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers, including Russia, to cut supplies by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) would be extended into 2018, instead of just covering the first half of this year. “This (extension) has been highly factored into the price of oil, and at this stage it is unlikely that we will see a deepening in the level of production cuts, with OPEC officials preferring to wait and see the impact of an extension in helping rebalance the market prior to taking any more drastic actions,” said James Woods, analyst at Australia’s Rivkin Securities.
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