BULLION – Bullion counter may trade on mixed path. Gold prices edged higher on Wednesday, recovering from a one-week low touched in the previous session, on expectations of an interest rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve and escalating tensions in the Middle East. The European Central Bank is expected to signal easier monetary policy at its meeting this week, while the Turkish central bank is expected to make a 250 bp cut on July 25. A U.S. Navy ship took defensive action against a second Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz last week, but did not see the drone go into the water, the U.S. military said on Tuesday. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and senior U.S. officials will travel to Shanghai on Monday for face-to-face trade meetings with Chinese officials, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing unnamed sources. Futures Fed watch remain 100% priced for a rate cut of 25 basis points (bps) by the Fed next week, and have even priced in an 18% chance of a 50 bp cut.
ENERGY– Crude oil may trade on positive path as oil prices rose on Wednesday, extending gains after an industry group reported a much bigger than expected drop in U.S. inventories, while the U.S. Navy said it may have downed a second Iranian drone last week. U.S. crude stocks fell more than expected in the week to July 19, declining by 11 million barrels to 449 million, the trade group American Petroleum Institute said on Tuesday. Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub fell by 448,000 barrels, although gasoline stocks rose by 4.4 million barrels, compared with analysts expectations for a 730,000-barrel decline. Signs of rising tensions in the Middle East offset a weaker global growth outlook from the International Monetary Fund, which had kept prices largely flat for much of Tuesdays session. Irans capture of a British oil tanker last week sparked worries about supply disruptions in the Strait of Hormuz, through which about a fifth of the worlds oil flows. The tensions come as the United States aims to cut off Irans oil exports and against the backdrop of supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries since the start of the year to prop up prices. U.S. natural gas futures eased on Tuesday on forecasts for slightly cooler weather and lower demand over the next two weeks than previously forecast.
BASE METAL – Base metals may trade with upside path. Industrial metals on the London Metal Exchange advanced on Wednesday on reports of potential progress in trade negotiations between the United States and China. The trade war between the world’s two biggest economies has weighed on global economic growth and dimmed demand outlook for industrial metals. A sign of progress in resolving the dispute often supports prices of base metals. China’s central bank governor Yi Gang said the country’s current interest rate level is appropriate, the financial magazine Caixin reported on Tuesday. Global aluminium production fell by 0.5% in the first half of this year, according to the International Aluminium Institute (IAI). Chinese output fell by 3.1% in June and by 0.4% over the first six months of the year, according to the IAI. Alcoa, which operates the Canadian smelter, expects the return to full capacity to be achieved in the second quarter of 2020.
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