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Gold prices were ending the U.S. day session moderately up Thursday, supported by a lower U.S. dollar index and U.S. stock indexes on this day. The technical charts for gold remain in the bullish camps, as both markets are in near-term price uptrends. April Comex gold was last up $8.50 an ounce at $1,241.50. March Comex silver was last up $0.122 at $18.085 an ounce.

Technically, April gold futures prices closed nearer the session high. The gold bulls have the overall near-term technical advantage. Prices are in a two-month-old uptrend on the daily bar chart. Gold bulls’ next upside near-term price breakout objective is to produce a close above solid technical resistance at $1,275.00. Bears’ next near-term downside price breakout objective is pushing prices below solid technical support at $1,210.00.


Prices are in a seven-week-old uptrend on the daily bar chart. Silver bulls’ next upside price breakout objective is closing prices above solid technical resistance at $18.50 an ounce. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below solid support at $17.00. First resistance is seen at today’s high of $18.14 and then at $18.25. Next support is seen at today’s low of $17.935 and then at this week’s low of $17.73.


China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection announced it will execute air quality inspections during February 15-March 15 in 18 cities, SMM learns. These cities include Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei’s Shijiazhuang, Langfang, Baoding, Tangshan, Handan, Xingtai, Cangzhou, Hengshui, Shanxi’s Taiyuan and Linfen, Shandong’s Jinan and Dezhou and Henan’s Zhengzhou, Hebi, Jiaozuo and Anyang, which are major metal producing regions.

In these 18 cities, Tianjin, Hebei, Cangzhou and Hengshui have an agglomeration of galvanizers. Large steel tube/pipe plants reported slow sales due to weak demand and environmental protection factor, so they did not reach full operation, SMM said. 50% of galvanizers in Daqiu Village, Tianjin are still restricted as they have yet to complete coal-to-gas switch.

Plants in some regions were not affected yet as the inspections are not so strict during February 15-28. Any effect from environmental protection on galvanizers in Hengshui and Handan is only limited, with production steady. Zinc oxide producers in Hebei and Tianjin were not affected and returned to normal production after the 2017 Chinese New Year holiday. No plants in Jiangsu and Zhejiang reported production restrictions, SMM understands.

A recent proposal by China’s government to halt some coal and metals production facilities to fight air pollution over the winter could affect alumina refineries and would create shortages of alumina, if implemented, but would have a limited impact on aluminium supply.


No lead smelters in Hunan and Shandong were heard to suspend output. SMM will track and update the progress.


According to a recent report from the Financial Times, nickel’s climb was directly attributed to the closure of 21 mines along with the suspension of another six pits, including the nation’s largest gold mine.

The Philippines is the world’s most significant source of unprocessed nickel ore, along with being a major supplier to China, the news source stated. A renewed emphasis on environmentalism led to Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte appointing a like-minded resource minister to investigate the nation’s mining industry.

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