Gold prices steadied on Friday, after slipping to a week-low in the previous session, supported by the uncertainty around the Federal Reserve’s next year’s policy outlook, while the dollar strengthened on expectations of a rate hike next week. The dollar firmed against major counterparts as investor focus shifted to an expected U.S. interest rate hike next week, although gains are likely to be capped on greater uncertainty about next year’s policy outlook. Asian shares were on the defensive as investors kept a wary eye on economic tensions between Washington and Beijing, while the euro was steady after the European Central Bank halted new bond purchases as expected. The number of Americans filing applications for jobless benefits tumbled to near a 49-year low last week, which could ease concerns about a slowdown in the labour market and economy.
London copper pared earlier gains to close at $6,153/mt on Thursday. The SHFE 1902 contract came off from a high of 49,440 yuan/mt overnight, ending at 49,260 yuan/mt. As the US dollar strengthened, copper prices are expected to remain range bound at lows today. LME copper is likely to trade at $6,150-6,200/mt with the SHFE 1902 contract at 49,000-49,500 yuan/mt. Spot premiums are seen lower at 20-70 yuan/mt.London nickel initially fell to a low of $10,725/mt, just above the year-low of $10,720/mt on November 27. It then clawed back those losses to close 0.6% higher at $10,850/mt. The SHFE 1905 contract fluctuated to close 0.4% higher at 89,380 yuan/mt overnight.
Oil prices fell on Friday as investors cashed in gains of more than 2 percent made during the previous session on concerns demand may slump amid slowing economic growth, though there are still expectations for producer supply cuts to support prices. China, the world’s second-largest economy and the largest crude importer, on Friday reported some of the slowest retail sales and industrial output growth in years for November, highlighting the risks of the country’s trade dispute with the United States. Refinery throughput in November in China fell from October, which was the second-highest month on record, suggesting an easing in Chinese oil demand, though runs were 2.9 percent higher than a year earlier.
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