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BULLION – Bullion counter may trade on weaker path as gold prices slipped on Wednesday as higher Treasury yields lifted the dollar, while markets awaited testimony from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell for clarity on an expected U.S. rate cut. The dollar index edged toward a three-week high against a basket of major currencies on Wednesday, as easing bets of deep U.S. interest rate cuts pushed Treasury yields higher. Fed Chair Powell testifies before Congress on Wednesday and Thursday and the direction of the U.S. dollar depends on the tone of his comments. Expectations for a 50 basis point rate cut this month have evaporated, but investors still expect a 25 basis point cut due to weak inflation and trade war worries. Futures are still fully priced for a 25-basis-point cut at the Fed July 30-31 meeting, but have abandoned wagers on a half-point move. They had implied a 25% probability of an aggressive cut before Friday upbeat jobs report.

ENERGY– Crude oil may trade on upside path as oil prices gained more than 1% in early trade on Wednesday, led by U.S. crude after an industry group reported that U.S. stockpiles fell for a fourth week in a row, alleviating concerns about oversupply. The U.S. and global benchmarks have risen this year as OPEC and big producers like Russia have honored commitments to cut production and support prices. U.S. crude stockpiles fell more than forecast last week, while gasoline inventories decreased and distillate stocks built, data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute (API) showed on Tuesday. Oil prices have been under pressure from concerns about global economic growth amid growing signs of harm from the U.S.-China trade war that has rumbled on over the last year.

BASE METAL – Base metals may trade with positive path. Metals and mining company Nyrstar said on Tuesday that it was extending force majeure at its Port Pirie lead and zinc smelter in Australia until the last week of July, from the second week of this month as previously planned. Shanghai lead hit a two-month high at 16,450 yuan a tonne, while London lead hovered around a one-week high, trading up 0.4% at 0203 GMT. Nickel may test 920 while taking support near 900. London nickel rose as much as 2.1% to $12,970 a tonne, its highest since April 17, while Shanghai nickel jumped to 103,160 yuan ($14,985.69) a tonne, a three-month high.

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