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BULLION – Bullion counter may trade on upside path as gold prices rose to their highest in two weeks on Thursday, as the dollar eased after weaker-than-expected U.S. housing data increased expectations for an interest rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve. The index had climbed to a one-week peak in the previous session on stronger-than-expected U.S. retail sales. But it nudged lower as Treasury yields fell in the wake of weak U.S. housing market data and concerns about the unresolved U.S.-China trade conflict. U.S. homebuilding fell for a second straight month in June and permits dropped to a two-year low, suggesting the housing market continued to struggle despite lower mortgage rates. The Fed is widely expected to lower interest rates by 25 basis points at its policy meeting at the end of the month, with some in the market even betting on a 50 basis points cut. The Fed reported on Wednesday that the U.S. economy continued growing at a “modest” rate in recent weeks, with consumers continuing to spend and a “generally positive” outlook overall even in the face of disruptions caused by U.S. trade policy.

ENERGY– Crude oil may trade on weaker path as oil prices fell on Thursday, extending declines into a fourth day, after official data showed U.S. stockpiles of products like gasoline rose sharply last week, suggesting weak demand during the peak driving season. While data on Wednesday from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed a larger-than-expected drawdown in crude stockpiles last week, traders focused on large builds in refined product inventories dragging prices down. U.S. crude inventories fell 3.1 million barrels, the EIA said, more than analysts forecasts for a decrease of 2.7 million barrels. However, gasoline stocks rose 3.6 million barrels, compared with analysts expectations for a 925,000-barrel drop. Distillate stockpiles grew by 5.7 million barrels, much more than expectations for a 613,000-barrel increase, the EIA data showed. Crude production was disrupted last week by Storm Barry, which came ashore on Saturday in central Louisiana as a Category 1 hurricane, the first major storm to hit the U.S. Gulf of Mexico this season.

BASE METAL – Base metals may trade with upside path. LME copper slipped 0.3% to $5,965 a tonne after U.S.-China trade war concerns returned in the previous session. ShFE copper fell 0.5% to 49,760 yuan a tonne. China’s top copper smelters meet in the city of Hunchun on Thursday to set their floor treatment and refining charges (TC/RCs) for the third quarter. Shanghai nickel prices rose more than 4% in early trade on Thursday to a one-year high, extending a rally for the metal into a ninth day as speculators continue to pile into the Shanghai Futures Exchange. Nickel, used to make stainless steel and batteries for electric vehicles, is now up more than 30% since the start of this year in Shanghai and is almost 37% higher in London. U.S. aluminium producer Alcoa says global aluminium demand growth for 2019 is estimated to range between 1.25%- 2.25% and continues to project a global aluminium deficit of 1 million-1.4 million tonnes this year.

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