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BULLION – Bullion counter may trade on sideways bias as gold steadied near a four-month low on Friday, as comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reduced expectations of a near-term rate cut, putting bullion on track for a weekly fall. The dollar looked set to end the week with a firmer tone on Friday as markets scaled back bets on a U.S. rate cut, though much depends on what jobs data due later in the session says about the health of the economy and wages. On Wednesday the U.S. Fed held interest rates steady with Chairman Jerome Powell further stating there was no need for any readjustment in prices anytime soon and that inflation risks were based on transitory factors. U.S. worker productivity increased at its fastest pace in more than four years in the first quarter, depressing labour costs and suggesting inflation could remain benign for a while.

ENERGY- Crude oil may continue to extend losses as oil prices fell slipped on Friday, extending a steep fall from the previous session on surging U.S. output and an expected supply increase from producer club OPEC and putting crude on track for a second week of declines. U.S. crude oil production reached a record 12.3 million barrels per day (bpd) last week EIA, rising by around 2 million bpd over the past year. U.S. crude exports broke through 3 million bpd for the first time this year, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. Rising U.S. oil production has helped offset some of the disruptions from U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, and from supply cuts led by the Middle East-dominated producer club of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which started in January. Despite these disruptions and sharp oil price rises in the first months of this year, some analysts say the long-term price risk to crude oil is skewed to the downside. U.S. natural gas futures on Thursday fell from a two-week high after a federal report showed a much bigger-than-normal storage build last week that exceeded expectations. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said utilities added 123 billion cubic feet (bcf) of gas to inventories during the week ended April 26. That was the biggest build this early in the injection season, according to EIA data going back to 1994.

BASE METAL – Base metals prices may trade with sideways to upside bias. Copper prices and other industrial metals rebounded slightly on Friday in thin Labour Day holiday trade, with electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc expecting a global shortage for nickel and copper. Copper has been under pressure on uncertain demand outlook from China, the world biggest consumer of the red metal, as the Chinese economic growth has yet shown a steady sign of stabilising after last year slowdown. Latest data showed copper stocks in LME-approved warehouses rebounded slightly to 231,950 tonnes on Wednesday when the LME copper cash-to three month spread returned to the discount zone. Nickel stocks in LME-approved warehouses were at its lowest level since April 2013, latest data showed.

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