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Daily Metal and Energy Outlook 23 May 2019

BULLION – Bullion counter may trade with sideways to weak bias as gold prices were steady on Thursday, as simmering Sino-U.S. trade tensions underpinned the dollar, while bullion investors looked for a direction after the minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting indicated that there was no hurry in cutting rates. The U.S. administration is considering Huawei-like sanctions on Chinese video surveillance firm Hikvision over the country’s treatment of its Uighur Muslim minority, a person briefed on the matter said on Wednesday. Meanwhile, minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest meeting showed that officials agreed their current patient approach to setting monetary policy could remain in place “for some time,” further sign policymakers see little need to change rates in either direction. Lackluster investor interest in bullion was reflected in the holdings of SPDR Gold Trust GLD, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund. Holdings have declined nearly 7% so far this year.

ENERGY- Crude oil may remain subdued as oil prices dipped on Thursday, extending bigger falls from the previous session, as surging U.S. crude inventories and weak demand from refineries weighed on markets. However, oil markets still remain relatively well supported by supply cuts led by the OPEC producer cartel and by political tension in the Middle East. U.S. crude oil inventories rose last week, hitting their highest levels since July 2017, due to weak refinery demand, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday. Commercial U.S. crude oil inventories rose by 4.7 million barrels in the week ended May 17, to 476.8 million barrels, their highest since July 2017, the EIA data showed. Countering these bearish price factors have been escalating political tensions between the United States and Iran, as well as ongoing supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that started in January in an effort to prop up the market.

BASE METAL – Base metals may remain on weaker side. China, the world’s top metals consumer, is due to report final trade data for April, including scrap metal and alumina import figures, later on Thursday. Shanghai copper and zinc slid to multi-month lows on Thursday as the China base metals complex tracked a broad selloff in London overnight amid Sino-U.S. trade tensions, while President Xi Jinping warned of difficult times ahead. Chinese miner MMG Ltd’s operations at its Las Bambas mine, one of Peru’s largest copper producers, have not been disrupted and talks with an indigenous Peruvian community are ongoing, the miner said on Wednesday. Zinc, used to galvanise steel, fell as much as 1.5% in Shanghai to 20,290 yuan a tonne, the lowest since Feb. 15. Shanghai nickel was down 0.9% at 96,760 yuan a tonne. The global nickel market deficit widened to 12,500 tonnes in March from a revised shortfall of 1,000 tonnes the previous month, the International Nickel Study Group said.

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