Commodity Research Report Ways2Capital 20 March 2017

Gold premiums rose in China this week as traders said supply of the precious metal was limited due to tightening import restrictions to stem currency outflows

Gold premiums rose in China this week as traders said supply of the precious metal was limited due to tightening import restrictions to stem currency outflows. Premiums climbed to over $20 an ounce against the international benchmark XAU= from $15-$17 last week. "The imports are happening, but with some restrictions. The government has been doing this since November to control the capital outflows. Now, it is becoming a bit aggressive with stringent reviews," said a Hong Kong-based executive with a precious metals trading firm. "The quotas are reviewed regularly and extended on a case by case basis. The demand has been more than supply." China gold premiums surged to their highest in nearly three years late last year as traders saw Beijing's efforts to restrict import licences impacting supply. permits only 13 banks, including three foreign lenders, to import gold, Shanghai Gold Exchange said. China's monthly net gold imports via main conduit Hong Kong plunged 38.3 percent in January. Kong prices were quoted at a premium of 70 cents to $1.10 an ounce. "There is limited supply in the market. The banks are looking for higher premiums and would want to cash in on the demand," a trader with a leading bullion import bank in China said. "Domestic investors have been buying to hedge currency risk. So, the demand is going up." In India, the world's second-largest consumer of the metal, demand remained sluggish despite a correction in local prices due to the rupee strengthening against the dollar.
Dealers in India were charging a premium of up to $1.50 an ounce this week over official domestic prices. They were charging a premium of $2.00 last week. The domestic price includes a 10 percent import tax.
"Demand is weak as people are busy paying advance tax for the fiscal year," The Indian fiscal year runs from April to March. In the local market, gold futures MAUc1 were trading around 28,470 rupees per 10 grams on Friday. They have fallen over 4 percent in three weeks. Investment demand for gold could fall as the Indian share market has been rallying since Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling party won a key state election in northern Uttar Pradesh. Meanwhile, premiums in Singapore rose to about $1.20, compared with the 90 cents to $1 range seen the week before. Prices in Japan were at a discount of 50 cents to a dollar, against the 75 cents to $1 levels in the prior week.
Gold prices edged lower on Friday, but still remained close to two-week highs thanks to a weaker U.S. dollar and the Federal Reserve’s dovish stance at its latest policy meeting. On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for April delivery were down 0.09% at $1,226.05, just off the previous session’s two-week high of $1.231,40. The April contract ended Thursday’s session 2.20% higher at $1,227.10 an ounce. Futures were likely to find support at $ 1,197.70, the low of March 15 and resistance at $1,231.40, Thursday’s high. The greenback weakened broadly as the Fed’s policy statement was seen as less hawkish than expected by sticking to projections of three total rate hikes in 2017 and not four as some traders had hoped for. As expected, the Fed increased interest rates by 25 basis points to 1.00% from 0.75%. The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was steady at 100.07, the lowest since February 9. A weak U.S. dollar usually supports gold, as it boosts the metal's appeal as an alternative asset and makes dollar-priced commodities cheaper for holders of other currencies. Market participants were looking ahead to reports on U.S. industrial production and consumer sentiment due later in the day. Elsewhere in metals trading, silver futures for May delivery slid 0.31% to $ 17.282 a troy ounce, while copper futures for May delivery dropped 0.58% to $ 2.662 a pound.
Gold prices rallied to a more than one-week high during European morning hours on Thursday, after the Federal Reserve sounded more dovish than anticipated on future rate hikes. Comex gold futures jumped to a session peak of $ 1,228.65 a troy ounce, the highest since March 6. It was last at $ 1,225.55 by 4:10AM ET , up $ 24.85, or around 2.1%. Meanwhile, spot gold was up $ 6.30 at $ 1,225.75 per ounce. The Fed on Wednesday raised its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to a target range of 0.75%-to-1% in a widely-expected move, but said further increases would only be "gradual." Fed officials stuck to their projection for two more hikes this year, when many had expected a more hawkish shift in the Fed's rate hike outlook. The dollar sank to a one-month low against a basket of major currencies, while Treasury yields fells sharply, in reaction to the Fed's rate view for the rest of the year. The precious metal is sensitive to moves in U.S. rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion. A gradual path to higher rates is seen as less of a threat to gold prices than a swift series of increases. Also on the Comex, silver futures for May delivery surged 53.9 cents, or 3.2%, to $ 17.46 a troy ounce. It reached a two-week high of $ 17.53 earlier.
Gold rallied more than 1.5 percent to a one-week high on Wednesday, as the U.S. Federal Reserve called for gradual monetary tightening after raising interest rates by an expected 25 basis points for the second time in three months. The central bank said in its policy statement that further hikes would only be "gradual," with officials sticking to their outlook for two more rate hikes this year and three more in 2018. U.S. dollar index .DXY fell to a two-week low, helping lift gold which is denominated in dollars and so became cheaper for holders of other currencies, while the 10-year Treasury yields US10YT=RR tumbled and U.S. stock markets extended gains. Spot gold XAU= was up 1.6 percent at $1,217.81 an ounce by 3:01 p.m. EDT , after rising to $ 1,219.36, the highest since March 7. It was on track for its biggest one-day jump since September. U.S. gold futures GCcv1 , which closed ahead of the Fed statement, settled down 0.2 percent at $ 1,200.70. "After loitering around $1,200 for most of the session, gold surged smartly higher after the FOMC only lifted its weighted projections by a marginal 9 basis points in 2018 and 2019. "The Fed seems clearly happy to be an indulgent parent couching the rate hike in the gentlest terms possible. Gold is highly exposed to interest rates, as rising rates lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion. "The wording in the statement was only marginally changed to reflect the fact that underlying inflation remains slightly below 2 percent, and that there have been signs of somewhat firmer business fixed investment in the first quarter, "Investors were also focusing on Wednesday's elections in the Netherlands, which have been boosting gold's safe-haven appeal. Some said looming Brexit talks also added to the geopolitical risk. prices have fallen more than 5 percent since the precious metal failed to sustain a break above its 200-day moving average at around $ 1,261 in late February. Silver XAG= rose 2.3 percent at $ 17.22 an ounce.
Gold prices were little changed during European morning hours on Wednesday, as investors prepared for a rate hike by the Federal Reserve while keeping an eye on the outcome of the Dutch election. Comex gold futures inched up 75 cents to $1,203.35 a troy ounce by 4:00AM ET, staying close to last Friday's low of $1,194.50, which was the weakest level since January 31. Meanwhile, spot gold was up $ 5.00 at $ 1,203.85 per ounce. The Fed is widely expected to raise the fed funds target range by a quarter point at the conclusion of its policy meeting at 2:00PM ET on Wednesday, which would put it in a range between 0.75%-1%.
The U.S. central bank will also release its latest forecasts for economic growth and interest rates, known as the "dot-plot". Fed Chair Janet Yellen is to hold what will be a closely-watched press conference 30 minutes after the release of the Fed's statement, as investors look for any hawkish change in tone about the economy or future rate hikes.
Fed officials previously projected three rate hikes in 2017, but that might move up to four, amid signs of a recent uptick in inflation and continued strength in the jobs market. Besides the Fed, the U.S. will publish February inflation figures at 8:30AM ET Wednesday. Market analysts expect consumer prices to ease up 0.1%, while core inflation is forecast to increase 0.2%. On a yearly base, core CPI is projected to climb 2.2%. The Fed usually tries to aim for 2% core inflation or less. Rising inflation would be a catalyst to push the U.S. central bank toward raising interest rates. At the same time, the U.S. will also publish data on February retail sales, amid expectations for a gain of 0.1% last month, after rising 0.4% in January. Meanwhile, investors were focusing on political risks in Europe. Wednesday's Dutch election is being watched as a bellwether for the spread of populism in Europe, particularly ahead of next month's French election. Opinion polls have suggested that Dutch nationalist Geert Wilders ' right-wing Freedom Party, which wants to take the Netherlands out of the European Union and stop Muslim immigration, has lost its lead to more mainstream opponents. However, a diplomatic standoff with Turkey was seen influencing voting in Wilders ' favor, prompting investors to remain weary over the possibility of a Brexit or Trump-style shock result. The first exit polls are expected at 20:00GMT. Elsewhere, in France, presidential candidate Francois Fillon was put under formal investigation on Tuesday over misuse of public funds in the fake jobs scandal involving his wife, the prosecutor's office said. Fillon has said he would maintain his bid as the candidate of The Republicans party in the April-May presidential election even if he went under formal investigation. In Britain, concerns have increased over a prolonged and painful process of the U.K.'s exit from the European Union, as Scotland mulled a possible second independence referendum.
Gold prices were little changed on Monday as the prospect of imminent interest rate rises kept them near the five-week lows touched last week, while elections in Europe created uncertainty and fueled investor buying. Spot gold XAU= was down 0.01 percent at $ 1,204.30 an ounce by 3:08 p.m. EST. That compares with $ 1,194.55 last Friday, its lowest level since Jan. 31. U.S. gold futures GCcv1 settled up 0.1 percent at $ 1,203.10. Investors are focusing on Wednesday's Dutch elections. The chance of a eurosceptic party coming to power in the Netherlands is seen as small but a strong election performance could fuel speculation of a surprise result in French presidential elections in April and May. Wednesday is also the second day of the U.S. Federal Reserve's two-day meeting. The widely expected decision to raise rates could boost the U.S. currency, which when it rises makes dollar-priced commodities more expensive for non-U.S. firms. "A rate rise from the Fed is pretty much priced in, we're probably going to see two more hikes this year," said Oxford Economics analyst Daniel Smith. "A period of higher rates will tend to mean pressure on gold prices." The statement from the Fed, due to be released Wednesday at 2 p.m. ( followed by a briefing at 1830 GMT, will be scrutinized for any changes in thinking among policymakers. "Now, the debate shifts to Fed dots," said Wayne Gordon, analyst for UBS Wealth Management, retaining a long view and target price for gold at $1,300 per ounce.
"Some see the dots rising, and this week's quarterly Fed projections show a median of four. But we believe this year's dots will remain unchanged at three," he said, referring to the Fed policy-makers' forecasts that will be issued on Wednesday. Traders said gold would have to close above $1,209, the 55-day moving average, to make further headway on the upside. Downside support remains at the psychological level of $ 1,200 an ounce. Recent selling by investors can be seen in the holdings of SPDR Gold Trust GLD , the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, which fell 1.06 percent to 825.22 tonnes on Friday. Hedge funds and money managers also slashed their net long positions in COMEX gold from the highest in three months in the week to March 7, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed on Friday. XAG= slid 0.6 percent to $16.92 an ounce, platinum XPT= lost 0.5 percent to $937.25 an ounce and palladium XPD= rose 0.95 percent to $750.75 an ounce.
Gold prices were higher during European morning hours on Monday, starting the week off with gains as investors turned their attention to elections in Europe, while preparing for a potential rate hike by the Federal Reserve this week. Comex gold futures rose $8.15, or around 0.7%, to $1,209.55 a troy ounce by 4:10AM ET. It settled lower for the ninth session in a row on Friday, hitting its weakest since January 31 at $1,194.50 after solid U.S. employment data reinforced expectations of a Fed rate hike this week. Meanwhile, spot gold was up $5.20 at $1,210.10 per ounce. The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.3% at 101.06 in London morning trade. It fell to a two-week low of 100.86 earlier amid disappointment that the latest U.S. employment report showed that U.S. wage growth remained tepid. As the Fed meets in the coming week, there are other issues that will get the attention of markets. The Dutch election on Wednesday is being watched as a bellwether for the spread of populism in Europe, particularly ahead of next month's French election.
Opinion polls have suggested that Dutch nationalist Geert Wilders' right-wing Freedom Party, which wants to take the Netherlands out of the European Union and stop Muslim immigration, has lost its lead to more mainstream opponents. But investors remained weary over the possibility of a Brexit or Trump-style shock result. Meanwhile, the Fed is scheduled to conclude its two-day policy meeting on Wednesday, with most market participants expecting the U.S. central bank to raise the fed funds target range by a quarter point, which would put it in a range between 0.75%-1%. market expectations for a rate hike this week stood at 93%. Fed Chair Janet Yellen's post-meeting press conference will be closely watched for clues on the pace of future rate hikes. Fed officials previously projected three rate hikes in 2017, but that might move up to four.
Besides the Fed, this week's calendar also features U.S. data on inflation, retail sales, building permits, housing starts, initial jobless claims, industrial production, consumer sentiment as well as surveys on manufacturing conditions in the Philadelphia and New York regions.
Another event markets are watching is the expiration of the U.S. debt ceiling extension in the middle of the week, though the government has sufficient funding until sometime in the fall. The White House, meanwhile, is expected to release its budget Thursday. Also on the Comex, silver futures for May delivery jumped 21.9 cents, or around 1.3%, to $17.14 a troy ounce. Meanwhile, platinum gained 1.1% to $ 948.90, while palladium added 1% to $752.52 an ounce. Elsewhere in metals trading, copper futures tacked on 3.7 cents, or 1.4%, to $ 2.632 a pound.

? ENERGY
Oil prices fell on Monday as rising U.S. drilling activity and steady supplies from OPEC countries despite touted production cuts pressured already-bloated markets. Prices for front-month Brent crude futures LCOc1 , the international benchmark for oil, were 20 cents below their last settlement at 0025 GMT, at $ 51.56 per barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 28 cents at $ 48.50 a barrel. Traders said that prices were under pressure due to rising U.S. drilling activity and ongoing high supplies by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries despite its pledge to cut output by almost 1.8 million barrels per day together with some other producers like Russia. oil has attempted to break out of the trading range that formed last year ... However, this uptrend has stalled," "Now there is good, strong momentum to the downside." U.S. drillers added 14 oil rigs in the week to March 17, bringing the total count up to 631, the most since September 2015, energy services firm Baker Hughes Inc BHI.N said on Friday, extending a recovery that is expected to boost shale production by the most in six-months in April. As a result, U.S. oil output has risen to over 9.1 million bpd from below 8.5 million bpd in June last year. Reacting to the ongoing glut in markets, financial oil traders cut their net long U.S. crude futures and options positions in the week to March 14, the third consecutive cut, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said on Friday. rising sentiment that oil markets remain oversupplied, some analysts say markets will tighten soon, arguing that the OPEC-led cuts will only start to bite from April, just as demand picks up as refineries return from current maintenance outages. "The cuts in OPEC production from the start of 2017 should start to show up between mid-March (now) and mid-April. Over the coming weeks we expect a sharp reduction in imports and increase in refining runs which should lead to impressive crude inventory draws," analysts at AB Bernstein said on Monday in a note to clients. "The combination of falling imports and stronger crude runs should lead to substantial inventory cuts over the coming months.
Oil futures settled a few pennies higher on Friday, tallying their first weekly gain in three weeks amid expectations that global crude producers will extend their agreement to cut output beyond June. The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude April contract inched up 3 cents to $48.78 a barrel by close of trade Friday, bouncing back after hitting its weakest since November 30 at $47.09 on Tuesday. For the week, the U.S. benchmark rose 29 cents, or around 0.6%, snapping a two-week losing streak. Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for May delivery tacked on 2 cents to settle at $ 51.76 a barrel by close of trade. The global benchmark fell to $50.25 on Tuesday, its cheapest since November 30. London-traded Brent futures recorded a gain of 39 cents, or about 0.8%, on the week, the first weekly increase in three. Oil found some support after Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Thursday the cuts by OPEC and non-OPEC countries could be extended beyond June if stockpiles stayed above a long-term average. OPEC and non-OPEC producers such as Russia agreed in November last year to reduce output by almost 1.8 million barrels per day to 32.5 million for the next six months, but so far the move has had little impact on inventory levels. OPEC's latest monthly report showed global oil stocks in January rose to 278 million barrels above the five-year average. A poll of market analysts showed on Friday that OPEC will have to extend its oil output curbs as a revival in crude production outside the group, specifically in the U.S., may scupper its efforts to erode an overhang of unused inventory. Data from oilfield services provider Baker Hughes on Friday revealed that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil rose by 14 last week, the ninth weekly increase in a row. That brought the total count to 631, the most since September 2015, underlining concerns that the ongoing rebound in U.S. shale production could derail efforts by other major producers to rebalance global oil supply and demand. Oil tumbled to the lowest level since November at the start of the week after a report showed Saudi Arabia raised output back above 10 million barrels a day in February, underlining concerns over a global supply glut.
Prices then turned rebounded on Wednesday after U.S. government data revealed the first decline for domestic crude stockpiles in 10 weeks. Elsewhere on Nymex, gasoline futures for April inched up 0.4 cents, or about 0.3% to $1.598 on Friday. It ended down less than 0.1% for the week. April heating oil added 0.4 cents to finish at $1.508 a gallon. For the week, the fuel gained roughly 0.3%. Natural gas futures for April delivery rose 4.6 cents, or almost 1.6%, to $2.948 per million British thermal units. It posted a weekly loss of around 2%. In the week ahead, market participants will eye fresh weekly information on U.S. stockpiles of crude and refined products on Tuesday and Wednesday to gauge the strength of demand in the world’s largest oil consumer. Meanwhile, traders will also continue to pay close attention to comments from global oil producers for further evidence that they are complying with their agreement to reduce output this year.
Oil prices were largely steady on Friday, finishing the week with modest gains, but speculators sharply cut long positions during last week's rout, on concerns that an OPEC production cut was failing to reduce a global supply overhang. Crude traded in a narrow band this week, with Brent and West Texas Intermediate bouncing in a $ 2.50 range as investors weighed the impact of the first oil cut from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in eight years against rising U.S. shale oil output and high inventories. Brent crude LCOc1 settled up 2 cents to $51.76 a barrel while U.S. light crude CLc1 ended up 3 cents to $ 48.78 a barrel. Both benchmarks gained 0.8 percent for the week. However, oil has not been able to reclaim the range that prevailed through most of 2017 before last week's rout. Instead of rebounding to $53 a barrel, U.S. crude has remained stuck around $ 49. Analysts anticipate that regaining the old levels may be difficult without significant drawdown in inventories. "I think that most are just reassessing the current state of direction. Everyone who was bulled up the past few months has turned," Futures positioning showed that last week's rout pushed many speculators to bail out of long positions. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said Friday that net long positions in the crude futures market fell by more than 86,000 contracts, the biggest one-week reduction on record. The data is current through Tuesday, and captures the entirety of last week's selloff. potential for increased U.S. production continues to build, as Baker Hughes weekly rig count data showed an increase of 14 drilling rigs in the United States.
The market failed to rebound after Saudi Arabia Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Thursday the cuts by the OPEC and non-OPEC producers could be extended beyond June if oil stockpiles stayed above long-term averages. Arabia has cut output by more than its share under the November 2016 deal.
Six of 10 analysts polled by Reuters said they believed OPEC would prolong its output reductions past the deal's six-month duration. Evans, analyst at Citi Futures in New York, in a note Friday, said market sentiment may further weaken in the absence of a strong rebound to the previous range. OPEC and non-OPEC members agreed last year to cut output by a combined 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in the first half of 2017. But OPEC's monthly report showed global oil stocks rose in January to 278 million barrels above the five-year average.

The week ended on an active note with several tenders being either issued or awarded, the emergence of Angola's May loading programme and an unusual spot sale of West African crude.

Chevron has booked the Besiktas Bosphorus to take West African crude to Israel loading April 4, according to Reuters shipping data. A trader said that the tanker would load at the Djeno port in the Republic of Congo and discharge in Ashkelon.
The Djeno terminal can load either the light sweet Nkossa or heavy sweet Djeno grades.
Israel rarely takes west African grades although it took at least one cargo of Nkossa in 2016.

NIGERIA
Cepsa bought a cargo of Qua Iboe from ExxonMobil loading April 16-17, traders said. The cargo was offered at dated Brent plus $1.10 a barrel but the deal level did not emerge.
Around 20 cargoes from the April programme were still said to be available.

ANGOLA
The May programme emerged with 54 cargoes, or 1.67 million barrels per day, versus 53 cargoes in April.
Less than 10 cargoes remain available from the April programme, including the Dalia, Cabinda, CLOV, Saxi, Kissanje and Mondo grades.

TENDERS
Traders said Shell won Indian IOC's tender with 2 million barrels of crude. The grades could not be confirmed but were thought to be Nigerian.
India's HPCL issued a sell tender for first-half May loading cargoes. The tender closes on March 22.
Taiwan's CPC issued a buy tender for full-month May loading crude. The tender closes on March 20.

Oil prices edged up on Friday, helped by a weaker dollar, as investors weighed the impact of OPEC production cuts against rising U.S. shale oil output and persistently high inventories. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Thursday oil output cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producers could be extended beyond June if oil stocks stayed above a long-term average. analysts said the comments gave limited support because Riyadh has said it needs cooperation to rebalance the market and non-OPEC producers, such as Russia, have yet to deliver fully on reduction commitments in the first half of 2017. Brent crude LCOc1 was up 15 cents at $51.89 a barrel by 1031 GMT. U.S. light crude CLc1 was up 17 cents at $48.92. "The market remains relatively calm today with concerns about having to extend the production cut deal being offset by a weaker dollar. Oil prices, which lost ground earlier on Friday, have found some support from dollar weakness .DXY after the U.S. Federal Reserve indicated it would not accelerate plans for rate rises. The fall in the greenback boosted dollar-denominated crude. Investors will also look for more direction from data due later on Friday. The Baker Hughes weekly rig count will indicate activity in the U.S. shale industry and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission releases calculations of net long and short positions in the crude futures market. Oil prices fell sharply last week on concerns that OPEC-led production cuts were not reducing the global supply overhang as quickly as expected in the face of increased U.S. output. OPEC and non-OPEC members reached agreement last year to cut output by a combined 1.8 million barrels per day in the first half of 2017. But OPEC's monthly report showed global oil inventories rose in January to 278 million barrels above the five-year average. Investors took some comfort from a dip in U.S. stockpiles in the week to March 10, after nine weekly rises. However, the fall in U.S. inventories was a modest 237,000 barrels, leaving 528 million barrels in storage, close to record highs. In a further sign that OPEC's efforts have had little impact so far, oil shipments to Asia have increased 3 percent since the OPEC supply cut deal was made.
Oil prices edged up on Friday as a drawdown in U.S. crude inventory eased concerns about a global supply glut. Brent crude LCOc1 was up 7 cents, or 0.14 percent, at $51.81 per barrel at 0021 GMT, after closing the previous session down 7 cents at $ 51.74. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 was up 11 cents, or 0.23 percent, at $ 48.86 a barrel. Official data showed crude inventories in the United States, the world's top oil consumer, fell last week as imports plunged, dropping after nine consecutive increases. Crude stockpiles fell by 237,000 barrels in the week to March 10, beating analyst expectations for an increase of 3.7 million barrels. "Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih continued to express concern about high global inventories. "However, he did reiterate that the market is currently going in the right direction and fundamentals had improved." If crude inventories remain high, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries could extend its oil output cut deal, the Saudi energy minister said on Thursday. and Non-OPEC members including Russia reached a landmark agreement last year to cut output by almost 1.8 million barrels per day in the first half of 2017.
But OPEC's monthly report showed global oil inventories increased in January to 278 million barrels above the five-year average.
Oil prices slipped on Thursday, as support from a weaker dollar was offset by U.S. crude inventories near record high levels that again raised concerns whether OPEC-led output cuts were starting to drain a global glut. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and some non-OPEC producers cut production from Jan. 1 to reduce record stocks of crude. But an oil price rally after the deal has been hobbled by data showing persistently rising U.S. stockpiles. Latest data from market intelligence firm Genscape showed a build of more than 2 million barrels in the week to March 14 at the Cushing, Oklahoma delivery point for U.S. crude futures, traders said. Data on Wednesday showing a modest slide in crude stockpiles in the United States, the world's biggest oil consumer, had helped lift oil prices after a week-long rout spurred by record U.S. inventories pushed them to three-month lows. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday that crude inventories fell last week, the first decline after nine weeks of increases, but only by a dip of 237,000 barrels from a record high. It also reported Cushing stocks jumped 2.1 million barrels in the week to March 10. Brent crude LCOc1 ended the session 7 cents lower at $51.74 a barrel, recovering from Tuesday's drop to $50.25, its lowest since Nov. 30 when OPEC announced its supply accord. The price is still nearly $7 below January's post-deal peak of $ 58.37. U.S. light crude CLc1 settled 11 cents lower at $ 48.75 a barrel, but still above the three-month low hit on Tuesday. Prices also got a brief lift after Bloomberg reported Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih as saying the cuts could be extended if inventories remain above average. focus remains centered on escalating U.S. production growth and elevated domestic inventory levels, but this is not representative of the rest of the world. Inventories are drawing in several other key regions. "Despite the broad-based headlines of a holistic global oil surplus, we contend that certain markets such as Asia remain in a deficit, while regions like the Atlantic Basin and the U.S. remain in surplus." Some support came from the U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday after it signalled it would not accelerate plans to raise interest rates, depressing the dollar against a basket of currencies .DXY and lifting the greenback-denominated oil price. "I don't think that's going to be a massive influence at this point in time and the main reason being that it is a small move and the risk trade is still on at this point. "Unless there is a global disruption where money needs to move to a safe haven, the interest rate movement isn't going to have a long term material impact at this point in time."
Oil extended gains Thursday after official figures showed a draw in U.S. crude stocks. U.S. crude was up 41 cents, or 0.84%, at $49.27 at 08:15 ET. Brent crude added 49 cents, or 0.95%, to $ 52.30. The Energy Information Administration Wednesday reported a fall in 237,000 barrels in crude stocks in the latest week after nine straight weeks of gains. Gasoline inventories also fell more than expected. The market is being underpinned by high compliance levels with agreed output cuts by major producers. OPEC and non-OPEC producers are cutting output by 1.8 million barrels a day in the first half. The International Energy Agency said Wednesday demand could outweigh supply in the first half if output remains at current levels. Oil was also buoyed as the U.S. Federal Reserve signaled only two more rate hikes this year after Wednesday's 25 basis point increase. A stronger dollar dampens demand for oil.
Oil prices rose for a second day on Thursday, supported by U.S. data showing crude inventories had dipped after rising for nine weeks and a weaker dollar after the U.S. Federal Reserve signalled it would not hike rates faster than expected. Brent crude oil LCOc1 was up 38 cents at $52.19 a barrel by 1050 GMT, recovering from Tuesday's slide to $ 50.25, its lowest level since Nov. 30 when the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries announced plans to cut supplies. U.S. light crude oil CLc1 was up 37 cents at $ 49.23 a barrel, also climbing from a three-month low. The rebound has been cautious, with investors looking for evidence that OPEC-led supply cuts will bring a sustained drawdown in stockpiles since OPEC and non-OPEC producers began cutting back output on Jan. 1. "The dollar is weaker due to the U.S. Fed. I don't think it is going to be enough to bring some follow-through buying to crude oil. We need something more substantial. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday that crude oil stocks USOILC=ECI fell 237,000 barrels in the week to March 10, defying forecasts of a 10th weekly rise. Further support came on Wednesday from the International Energy Agency. Although global inventories rose in January, the agency said the oil market could be in deficit by 500,000 barrels per day in the first half of 2017.
OPEC has broadly complied with its commitment to cut 1.2 million bpd in the first half of the year, but investors have been unnerved as stocks have kept climbing. The IEA called for patience, saying cuts would take time to feed through. Thursday's oil price rise seemed largely powered by a dip in the dollar .DXY , helping commodities across the board . A decline in the U.S. currency makes dollar-denominated commodities less expensive for holders of other currencies. OPEC has said it wants to see inventories fall below the five-year average for industrialised nations. It would be achieved only if OPEC kept supply reductions beyond the first half of 2017. "Unless OPEC agrees to extend its self-imposed production restraint beyond the June deadline, any claims of victory in the battle against the oil glut will be premature. OPEC member Kuwait said this week that it was ready to prolong the deal to reduce supply. But OPEC heavyweight Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, has said it is too early to consider an extension.
Crude oil prices rose on Thursday in early Asian trading, extending gains from the previous session after official data showed U.S. stockpiles had eased from record highs. Prices surged on Wednesday after a slew of market reports and official data offered some hope that a near three-year global glut in oil is coming to an end, albeit more slowly than many anticipated. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 was up 28 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $ 49.14 a barrel by 0010 GMT, having surged 2.4 percent in the previous session to settle at $ 48.86, its first increase in eight days. Brent LCOc1 futures climbed 34 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $52.15. They had their first increase in seven days on Wednesday, gaining 1.7 percent. The benchmarks have bounced off their lowest levels since the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed at the end of last year to cut crude production, with an an initial surge evaporating as stockpiles remained high. Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed U.S. crude stocks fell last week, the first weekly decline after nine straight increases. Crude inventories USOILC=ECI fell 237,000 barrels in the week to March 10. Analysts had forecast an increase of 3.7 million barrels. The inventories have been closely watched by oil traders to determine whether the OPEC agreement to cut output is reducing the global glut. Oil bulls were also encouraged after the International Energy Agency said in its monthly oil report that demand should overtake supply in the first half of this year.
The IEA estimated OPEC compliance with agreed output cuts at 98% in first two months of the year. The International Energy Agency estimated Saudi compliance with the cuts in the two months at 135%. In its monthly report Wednesday, the IEA said there is less "data visibility" regarding non-OPEC output. It estimated that Russia and other non-OPEC producers' adherence to agreed cuts in the period at 37%.
OPEC members agreed to cut production by 1.2 mn b/d in the first six months of this year. Non-OPEC producers led by Russia have agreed to cut by 558,000 b/d. The IEA sees an implied market deficit of 500,000 b/d in H1 if current output levels maintained to June. However, the Paris-based agency pointed out that global inventories remain high. Investors looking for market re-balancing "should be patient," it said.
U.S. oil prices rose more than 2 percent in early Asian trade on Wednesday, recovering from a three-month low after industry data showed a surprise drawdown in U.S. crude stockpiles. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 was trading up 73 cents, or 1.5 percent, at $ 48.45 a barrel by 2314 GMT, having earlier risen more than $1 to $ 48.87. The rise came after the contract marked a seventh straight decline in a row on Tuesday, the longest losing streak since January 2016. U.S. crude stocks fell by 531,000 barrels last week, industry group the American Petroleum Institute said on Tuesday after settlement. That compared with analysts' expectations for an increase of 3.7 million barrels. If the draw is confirmed by government data on Wednesday, it would be the first drawdown after nine consecutive builds. U.S. gasoline and distillate inventories drew more than expected, the data also showed. Oil tumbled on Tuesday after OPEC reported a rise in global crude stocks and a surprise output jump from its biggest member, Saudi Arabia, further pressuring prices that have erased nearly all gains since OPEC announced output cuts in November.
Brent futures had yet to be traded yet after settling down 43 cents at $50.92 on Tuesday, the lowest finish since November. Secondary sources had said Saudi output fell in February to 9.797 million barrels per day, but Riyadh told OPEC it rose to 10.011 million bpd. In an effort to dispel market concerns, the Saudi energy ministry said the "difference between what the market observes as production, and the actual supply levels in any given month, is due to operational factors that are influenced by storage adjustments and other month to month variables." monthly report said oil stocks in industrialised nations rose in January to 278 million barrels above the five-year average, with U.S. shale and other non-OPEC supply gaining.
Oil tumbled on Tuesday after OPEC reported a rise in global crude stocks and a surprise output jump from its biggest member, Saudi Arabia, further pressuring prices that have now erased nearly all gains since OPEC announced output cuts in November. Even though OPEC made an upward revision to its global demand outlook, signs of even modestly higher Saudi output flustered investors. U.S. crude fell to its lowest settlement since Nov. 29, the day before the Saudi kingdom led the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to cut supplies. Brent settled at its lowest since Nov. 30. LCOc1 futures dropped below their 200-day moving average for the first time since late November during the session. Brent settled down 43 cents, or 0.8 percent, at $ 50.92 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 lost 68 cents, or 1.4 percent, to settle at $ 47.72 per barrel for the seventh daily decline in a row, the longest losing streak since January 2016. It is down almost 11 percent since March 3. On technical charts, Brent and WTI both remained in oversold territory for a fifth day in a row, their longest such streaks since November. The Brent front-month premium over the corresponding U.S. contract WTCLc1-LCOc1 rose to its highest since late January. Secondary sources had said Saudi output fell in February to 9.797 million barrels per day, but Riyadh told OPEC it rose to 10.011 million bpd. In an effort to dispel market concerns, the Saudi energy ministry said the "difference between what the market observes as production, and the actual supply levels in any given month, is due to operational factors that are influenced by storage adjustments and other month to month variables." monthly report said oil stocks in industrialised nations rose in January to 278 million barrels above the five-year average, with U.S. shale and other non-OPEC supply gaining. "Oil prices have come under renewed pressure after the latest OPEC report showed a rise in global crude inventory despite the cartel deciding to curtail its output. This week's data is expected to show another rise in U.S. inventories after last week's bigger-than-expected increase. It would be the 10th consecutive weekly increase in U.S. crude stocks, boosting total inventories, including strategic reserves, further past the 1.22 billion barrel record hit during the week ended March 3. The American Petroleum Institute reports its stockpile data on Tuesday afternoon at 4:30 p.m EDT ahead of official U.S. government data Wednesday morning. Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, has yet to indicate clearly whether it is ready to extend supply curbs. On Monday, Kuwait said it would support an extension of the global deal.
OPEC is looking to a key report due Friday to gauge if last week's slump in oil prices reflects a positioning washout as opposed to a structural change as U.S. shale activity gathers pace. Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate shed some 9% last week. Oil futures remained under pressure on Monday. The CFTC Commitment of Traders report due Friday will provide information on traders' positions as of last Friday. Speculative long positions in oil had reached record positions.
If the figures point to a structural change, then Saudi Arabia in particular faces the triple whammy of lower output, lost market share combined with potentially reduced prices. The kingdom has shouldered most of the burden of reining in production by 1.8 million barrels a day in the first half under an agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC producers.
Russia has so far cut output by only 150,000 barrels a day out of an agreed quota of 300,000 barrels a day. Baker Hughes data Friday showed another increase in the number of rigs operating in the U.S.
Technological advances have allowed U.S. producers to be profitable at lower prices. Support for Brent crude lies at $50.17 a barrel, while initial resistance is at the 100-day moving average of $52.34.
After falling below $50 a barrel last week, support for West Texas Intermediate sits at Monday's low of below $48 and resistance at the 100-day moving average of $ 50.47.

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS LIKELY TO AFFECT THE MARKETS.
Tuesday, March 21
The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, is to publish its weekly report on U.S. oil supplies.

Wednesday, March 22
The U.S. Energy Information Administration is to release weekly data on oil and gasoline stockpiles.

Thursday, March 23
The U.S. government is to produce a weekly report on natural gas supplies in storage.

Friday, March 24
Baker Hughes will release weekly data on the U.S. oil rig count.

BASE METAL’S OUTLOOK
BASE METAL GUIDE -
Trading Ideas :
NICKEL -
Nickel trading range for the day is 661.6-678.8.
Nickel prices gained as support seen as the Philippines has repeatedly indicated that it will slash output.
A Philippine nickel ore producer plans to reopen two mines suspended for environmental violations while it awaits the outcome of an appeal.
Lopez has said affected companies can appeal their case with the environment agency or with President Rodrigo Duterte and operate while awaiting a decision.

Zinc -
Zinc trading range for the day is 182.5-191.5.
Zinc gained on expectations the closure and suspensions of big mines will create shortages.
The ILZSG estimates that the refined zinc market was in a deficit of 286,000 tonnes in the whole of 2016 compared with a surplus of 189,000 tonnes in 2015.
Combined zinc inventories in Shanghai, Tianjin and Guangdong decreased 9,600 to 277,100 tonnes this past week.

COPPER
Copper trading range for the day is 384.1-394.3.
Copper rose and posted its biggest weekly gain since mid-February in response to a weak U.S. dollar and ongoing mine supply concerns.
Striking workers at BHP Billiton's Escondida copper mine in Chile, are blocking attempts by the company to renew operations at a key port nearby.
Goldman Sachs said fees to copper smelters in China were falling close to break-even costs of $50-$60 a tonne, at $ 60-$ 70 a tonne for now.

BASE METAL
? COPPER -
Copper futures traded a shade higher at Rs 388.40 per kg on Friday as speculators enlarged bets, largely in step with a firming trend at the London Metal Exchange. At the Multi Commodity Exchange, copper for delivery in April rose 65 paise, or 0.17 per cent, to Rs 388.40 per kg, in a turnover of 801 lots. Metal for delivery in June also rose 35 paise, or 0.09 per cent, to trade at Rs 392 per kg, with a trade volume of 2 lots. Analysts said, gains in copper at the London Metal Exchange on continuing supply problems as stoppages at three of the world's biggest mines and pick up in domestic demand, mainly influenced copper futures. Besides, the declining US dollar as traders shrugged-off the Federal Reserve's decision to hike rates and instead focused on the fact that the Fed is unlikely to accelerate its pace of future rate hikes, too supported the upside. Globally, copper rose at the LME, copper closed 0.7 per cent higher at USD 5,908 per tonne yesterday.

? NICKEL
Nickel prices were up by 0.81 per cent at Rs 672.10 per kg in futures trade as speculators enlarged their bets on pick up in demand from consuming industries in the spot market. At the Multi Commodity Exchange, nickel for delivery this month moved up by Rs 5.40, or 0.81 per cent, to Rs 672.10 per kg in a business turnover of 887 lots. Also, the metal for delivery in April gained Rs 5.10, or 0.76 per cent to Rs 677.80 per kg in 28 lots. Market analysts said besides pick-up in domestic demand from alloy-makers, a firm trend in copper at the London Metal Exchange, influenced nickel prices at futures trade.

? ZINC
Zinc futures traded 0.70 per cent lower at Rs 184.55 per kg on Monday after speculators trimmed positions, tracking a weak trend at the domestic spot market. In futures trading at Multi Commodity Exchange, zinc for delivery in current month declined by Rs 1.30, or 0.70 per cent, to Rs 184.55 per kg. It clocked a business turnover of 669 lots. On similar lines, the metal for delivery in April softened by Rs 1.10, or 0.59 per cent, to Rs 185.15 per kg in 53 lots. Market analysts said weakness in zinc futures trade was mostly due to a falling trend in select base metals owing to muted demand from consuming industries.

Zinc prices drifted lower by 0.37 per cent to Rs 176.35 per kg in futures trade as traders engaged in trimming their positions, taking negative cues from spot market on fall in demand from consuming industries. At the Multi Commodity Exchange, zinc for delivery in January declined by 65 paise, or 0.37 per cent, to Rs 176.35 per kg in a business turnover of 477 lots. In a similar fashion, the metal for delivery in February shed 40 paise, or 0.23 per cent, to Rs 176.85 per kg in 2 lots. Market analysts said offloading of positions by participants owing to slackened demand from consuming industries in the spot market, kept zinc prices down at futures trade.
MCX Zinc prices cracked last week, trading close to the lowest in the month. Resistances for the futures are placed at 183.65, 185.65 and 188, while supports on the downside are at 179.25 and 176.5. .Copper was among a slew of commodities that posted their biggest weekly decline in months last week after recent rallies showed signs of petering out, pressured by a glut and tepid demand from top consumer China.

BHP Billiton last week planned to present workers with an improved offer. What is more, under Chilean employment law, after 30 days of strike, BHP Billiton can bypass the union and legally make individual offers to workers in a bid to encourage them to resume production. If BHP Billiton succeeds in persuading more than half of the workforce to return to work, the union would have to admit defeat and the strike would end. The current strike at Escondida mine is the third-longest so far in recent Chilean mining history. Production at Grasberg mine in Indonesia will be resumed to supply a local smelter with copper concentrate. According to the mine’s operator, production is to run at 40% capacity.
New trouble is brewing in Peru, at the Cerro Verde mine. Over half of workers will be going out on strike for an indefinite period. The mine was expanded significantly at the end of 2015 and is the country’s largest copper mine Speculators cut their bullish position by 13,511 lots to 57,149 lots in copper, bringing it to the lowest level since November. Copper stocks in LME-registered warehouses are up 125,500 tons, or 63%, higher than at the start of March and at their highest since December. The coordinated nature of this inflow suggests the bear-bull battle that raged sporadically across the London market last year has started again. Treatment and refining charges for traderto-smelter deals for shipments to China are reported to have fallen to roughly $70 a ton, at a 4 year low.

TC-RC’s are an important indicator of market tightness. A steep drop in China’s aggregate financing, seen as a proxy for credit available to store metals, spooked traders that Beijing may be clamping down on the type of credit used by the metals industry. U.S. employers hired workers at a robust pace of 235,000 in February, beating expectations, which could give the Federal Reserve the green light to raise interest rates this week despite slowing economic growth. Nickel also cracked last week, with an 8% weekly drop, widest since May 2015, on concerns that mine supply from Philippines may pick up just as Indonesia resumes exports. Supply-side uncertainties in Indonesia and the Philippines continue to dominate nickel price sentiment – the latest development is of more Indonesian companies receiving approval to resume nickel-ore exports, following the release last week of further details from government. LME stocks total 384,978 tons, up 3.5% in the year to date amid busy two-way flows. There is little sign of tightness in the market. Indonesian state miner PT Aneka Tambang Tbk will apply next week for a permit to export 6 million tons of nickel ore for year. Nickel prices are set to remain volatile as the market continues to react to supply-side developments. But the recent softening of fundamentals implied by the INSG, coupled with the large overhang of visible stocks, suggests prices will remain low from a historical perspective without greater supply-side discipline. 0 0.5 1 1.5 Escondita Grasberg Morenci Buenavista Del Cobre Collahuasi El Teniente Copper King Disruptions are impacting production at world's two largest copper mines. Philippines’ mining industry expressed its confidence that Commission on Appointments will reject Gina Lopez as Environment secretary, emphasizing that she was unable to persuade the members of the committee. Nickel prices fell 10% as bears believe there will be rejection. The Philippines is top nickel ore exporter and Lopez’s approval would probably sustain worries over supply disruptions that could lift global prices this year. On other hand, rejection would give miners a key win in battle against environmentalists, adding pressure to nickel prices.

? LEAD
Amid sluggish domestic demand and profit-booking by speculators, lead prices softened 0.83 per cent to Rs 149.30 per kg in futures trade. At Multi Commodity Exchange, lead for delivery in March month moved down by Rs 1.25, or 0.83 per cent to Rs 149.30 per kg in business turnover of 434 lots. Likewise, the metal for delivery in April contracts shed 95 paise, or 0.63 per cent to Rs 150 per kg in 36 lots. Analysts said besides sluggish demand from battery makers in the spot market, trimming of positions by traders to book profits at current levels, led to the fall in lead prices at futures trade.
Lead futures rose by 1.21 per cent to Rs 163.25 per kg today on the back of strong demand in spot market and a firming trend overseas. At Multi Commodity Exchange, lead for delivery this month traded higher by Rs 1.95, or 1.21 per cent, at Rs 163.25 per kg with a turnover of 407 lots. Metal for delivery in far-month March also gained Rs 1.75, or 1.09 per cent to Rs 162.95 per kg in 11 lots. Marketmen said pick-up in domestic demand, particularly from battery-makers, and a firming trend in base metal pack at the London Metal Exchange, supported the upside in lead futures here.

? COPPER
Copper futures traded 0.35 per cent lower at Rs 397.10 per kg as speculators offloaded bets. Furthermore, subdued demand at domestic spot market pushed down metal prices. At the Multi Commodity Exchange, copper for delivery in April shed Rs 1.40, or 0.35 per cent, to Rs 397.10 per kg, in a business turnover of 831 lots. Also, metal for delivery in far-month June lost similar ground to trade at Rs 400.70 per kg in 56 lots. Analysts attributed the fall to offloading of positions by participants amid muted demand at the domestic spot markets. They said, however, gains in metal at the London Metal Exchange , capped the losses. Meanwhile, copper gained 0.1 per cent, after two days of losses at the LME.

Copper futures rose 1.13 per cent to Rs 417.75 per kg as participants enlarged positions, taking positive cues from overseas markets and a pickup in spot demand. At the Multi Commodity Exchange, copper for delivery in current month was trading higher by Rs 4.60, or 1.13 per cent, to Rs 412.75 per kg, with a turnover of 1,541 lots. Similarly, the metal for delivery in far-month April contract was up by Rs 4.50, or 1.09 per cent, at Rs 416.75 per kg, with a trade volume of 57 lots. Market analysts attributed the rise incopper futures trade to a firming trend in metal at the London Metal Exchange , extending Friday's jump that was the largest since 2013. Globally, copper for delivery in three-month rose 1.1 per cent at the LME.

? NICKEL
Nickel prices were up by 0.56 per cent to Rs 720.50 per kg in futures trade today on pick up in demand from consuming industries in the spot market amid a firm global trend. Nickel for delivery in March moved up by Rs 4, or 0.56 per cent, to Rs 720.50 per kg in business turnover of 38 lots at the Multi Commodity Exchange. Also, the metal for delivery in current month gained Rs 3.90, or 0.55 per cent to Rs 714.70 per kg in 853 lots. Market analysts said besides pick-up in demand from consuming industries, particularly alloy-makers, a firm trend in base metals in the global market, led to rise in nickel prices at futures trade here.

NCDEX - WEEKLY MARKET REVIEW
FUNDAMENTAL UPDATES OF AGRI MARKET -
? RAPE SEED -
The most actively traded Indian rapeseed and corn futures fell to their lowest levels this month on Tuesday. The April rapeseed contract NRSJ7 closed lower for the third straight session, dropping 0.8 percent at 3,805 Indian rupees ($57.88) per 100 kg on the National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange Ltd. March corn futures NMZFH7 fell for the fifth straight session, losing about 2 percent at 1,388 rupees per 100 kg. "The whole market is in a bearish mode because of over-supply, particularly in the soybean and mustard seed markets," a trader from central India said. The most actively traded soybean futures NSBH7 were down 0.5 percent at 2,859 rupees. Indian soyoil futures rose, tracking the soyoil contract on the Chicago Board of Trade and palm oil on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange. Soybean oil BOv1 on the Chicago Board of Trade was up 0.2 percent, while Malaysian palm 1FCPOc3 closed 1.1 percent higher. As of 1155 GMT, March soyoil futures NSOH7 were up 0.4 percent at 647.10 Indian rupees per 10 kg. ($1 = 65.7450 Indian rupees)

? WHEAT -
An Indonesian flour miller has signed a deal to buy Black Sea wheat to be delivered in July, two trade sources said, marking the region's first sale to Asia from its next crop. Competition to supply Asia's rapidly growing appetite for wheat has intensified in recent years, with exporters from the Black Sea muscling in on trade that has been dominated by countries including Australia. The deal for 100,000 tonnes of wheat with 11.5 percent protein was signed at $197 a tonne, including cost and freight, the two sources said. They did not name the buyer and asked not to be identified as they were not authorised to speak with media. That price compares with similar variety of Australian wheat being offered at $218 a tonne. "Australian wheat exporters have had record exports in January and February, but it is going to be tough when Black Sea shipments arrive from July onwards," said one of the sources, a Singapore-based grains trader, on the sidelines of an industry event. Wheat exports from Russia, Ukraine and other northern hemisphere suppliers start in July. Indonesia has emerged as the world's No.2 wheat importer in recent years. Australian grain exports likely surged to an all-time monthly high of more than 4 million tonnes last month, smashing the previous record by a third on strong demand from Saudi Arabia, China and India and lower prices amid a bumper crop. Sea quality has improved a lot in the last five years," "The quality and price spread between Black Sea and Australia has narrowed quite a bit.

? WHEAT
Prices recovered by 0.31 per cent to Rs 1,642 per quintal in futures market today as speculators built up fresh positions. At the National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange, wheat for delivery in far-month April edged up by Rs 5, or 0.31 per cent to Rs 1,642 per quintal with an open interest of 4,060 lots. Analysts attributed the gain in wheat futures to speculative positions created by traders on pick up in demand at the spot markets from flour mills.

? CARDAMOM
Amid pick-up in domestic as well as exports demand in the spot market, cardamom prices were up by 0.26 per cent to Rs 1,410 per kg in futures trade today as speculators built up fresh positions. At the Multi Commodity Exchange, cardamom for delivery in April rose by Rs 3.60, or 0.26 per cent, to Rs 1,410 per kg in a business turnover of 32 lots. Similarly, the spice for delivery in May edged up by Rs 1.30, or 0.09 per cent to Rs 1,380 per kg in 2 lots. Analysts said, building up positions by participants couped with uptick in demand in the spot market against restricted supplies from producing regions, mainly led to the rise in cardamom prices at futures trade.

? REFINED SOYA OIL
Continuing its gaining streak for the fourth straight day, refined soya oil prices rose further by 0.31 per cent to Rs 657 per 10 kgs in futures trading today as participants engaged in widening their bets, taking positive cues from spot market on strong domestic demand. At the National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange, refined soya oil for delivery in March moved up by Rs 2, or 0.31 per cent, to Rs 657 per 10 kg with an open interest of 17,860 lots. In a similar fashion, the oil for delivery in April gained Rs 1.75, or 0.28 per cent, to Rs 638 per 10 kg in 57,940 lots. Analysts said, widening of bets by participants on the back of rising demand at the spot market against tight stocks position on fall in arrivals from producing belts, mainly kept refined soya oil prices higher at futures trade.

? COTTON
1. Cotton prices on the domestic commodity exchanges have recovered in last two trading sessions on Wednesday and Thursday after correcting last week from its highest levels for the season due to technically driven trades. The open interest for MCX March cotton contract is seen falling from 7,644 lots on 8th March to 5,176 lots on 15th March. The prices on MCX was also down about 2.37% to Rs. 21,060 per bale on 14th March from the high level of Rs. 21,550 on 8th March. The prices have recovered to Rs. 21,400 per bale today. "The price decline last week was likely being caused by liquidating of long position by the market participants. On the other hand, the open positions for MCX cotton April and May delivery contracts have increased from 5,957 lots to 6,328 lots and 977 lots to 1,876 lots respectively during the same period. This scenario is technically strong because the downtrend is caused by the rolling over the positions and will end soon once all the sellers have sold their positions and rolling over their positions.
Cotton supplies in Indian spot markets fell 7.6 percent from a year earlier to 22.63 million bales between October and February as farmers postponed the sale of the fibre, expecting a price rise, a leading trade body said on Thursday. Due to thin supplies, Indian cotton dealers were forced to cancel and postpone export shipments. world's biggest cotton producer is likely to harvest 34.1 million bales of cotton in the 2016/17 season, that started on Oct. 1, up about 1 percent from a year ago, the Cotton Association of India said in a statement.

? SUGAR
Sugar stocks gained by up to eight per cent on Friday, in anticipation of a further increase in price in the coming months, following a forecast of lower production and the government’s reluctance on import. The share price of Parrys Sugar jumped by nearly eight per cent to close on Friday at Rs66.95, followed by a 6.8 per cent increase in the stock of Oudh Sugar Mills to Rs140.30. The stocks of Dwarikesh Sugar, Dhampur Sugar and Balrampur Chini rose by 4.6 per cent, 4.3 per cent and four per cent, respectively. However, those of Bajaj Hindusthan and Shree Renuka Sugars remained stable, rising 0.7 per cent and 0.3 per cent. “The government has been watchful on a sugar price increase. Hence, a big price rise is unlikely this year but a Rs2 a kg rise cannot be ruled out in the coming months,” said an analyst with a global stockbroking company, on request of anonymity. Sugar prices have been rising intermittently since the beginning of the current season in October, over lower output estimates. The benchmark price of the medium (M) variety has risen by 7.3 per cent to trade currently at Rs41.16 a kg at the wholesale market in Vashi, Navi Mumbai, a slight decline after a high of Rs41.55 a kg on February 13.
Raw sugar futures on ICE pared losses on late-day buying on Friday, after sinking 4 percent in heavy volume to their lowest level in more than nine months on a flurry of chart-based selling around key support at 18 cents per lb.

SUGAR
May raw sugar futures SBc1 settled down 0.08 cent, or 0.4 percent, at 18.17 cents per lb, after slumping 4.1 percent to 17.50 cents, the weakest for the front month since early June last year.
Sell-stops were triggered as a series of support levels were breached, but prices rallied off their lows on late-day buying ahead of the weekend, traders said.
The move caused the spreads to move wildly, with the May raw contract briefly falling to a 0.02 cent discount under July SBK7-N7 from a 0.08 cent discount on Thursday. Meanwhile, the spot white sugar premium over the spot raw contract LSU-SB1=RR rallied as high as $114.76, from $108.17 the prior session.
Dealers noted favorable crop conditions in top grower Brazil has reinforced sentiment for a likely global surplus in 2017/18.
China will extend a months-long investigation into sugar imports, the commerce ministry said, effectively delaying a decision by a major sugar consumer whether to impose punitive tariffs on imports of the sweetener. "Fundamentals are all over the place and have given us nothing concrete; technically the market is oversold - this leads us to a lot of questions over the next month as the Chinese probe continues,"
May raw sugar futures SBc1 were off 0.64 cents, or 3.5 percent, at 17.61 cents a lb at 1402 GMT after dipping to a low of 17.52 cents, the weakest for the front month since early June last year.
Dealers said the market was weighed down by favourable crop conditions in top grower Brazil which has reinforced sentiment that there is likely to be a global surplus in the upcoming 2017/18 season.
Brazil's sugar campaign is forecast to receive rains in the coming week or so and crop forecasts remain large and leaning away from ethanol towards sugar,"
Perhaps most importantly the sugar bears seem to have the spec community on their side," Kujawa added, noting some were liquidating longs while others were going short on the basis of a big crop in Brazil and the prospect of a global surplus.
May white sugar LSUc1 fell $10.50 or 2.1 percent, to $499.80 a tonne.
Mexico demands reciprocity in its refined sugar-for-fructose trade with the United States and it is unfair to "punish" its sugar industry, the agriculture minister said on Thursday, at a time of tensions over the pace of Mexican sugar shipments north. May London cocoa LCCK7 fell 13 pounds, or 0.8 percent, to 1,638 pounds a tonne although the contract remained on track for a weekly gain of about 2.7 percent.
Dealers said the market's run-up this week had been largely driven by technically-driven short covering but there were signs the bearish sentiment on fundamentals were beginning to reassert itself.
They noted there remained widespread expectations that there would be a large global surplus in the current 2016/17 season and tentative forecasts there could be another surplus in 2017/18.

3. Raw sugar futures bounced up after tapping a three-month low on Friday, lifted by short covering and the May contract's small premium over July, while New York cocoa rose on a weaker dollar and chart-driven buying. The opening times for U.S. sugar, coffee and cocoa futures will be delayed by one hour from March 13 to March 24 due to the start of daylight savings time.

SUGAR
May raw sugar futures SBc1 settled up 0.22 cent, or 1.2 percent, at 18.22 cents per lb, matching the Dec. 16 session low at 17.96 cents.
This created a double bottom formation for the spot contract at 17.96, a potential technical support level.
On a weekly basis, the spot contract closed lower for the fifth straight week.
Traders said support came from short-covering and the firming May/July spread SBK7-N7 , but noted trade was choppy and technicals remained weak.
May closed at a 0.03 cent premium to July compared with a 0.02 cent discount on Thursday.
"I think the funds have got bored waiting (for India to import) and have thrown in the towel," one dealer said. "And there have been so many negative technical signals, which have accelerated the move downward."
The United States and Mexico will launch a new round of negotiations to resolve a years-long trade dispute over Mexico's sugar exports to the United States, senior officials in both governments said on Friday. May white sugar LSUc1 settled up $2.50, or 0.5 percent, at $512.40 per tonne, near Thursday's 2-1/2 month low.

SOYA OIL
Indian soyoil futures were headed for a third straight gaining session on Friday, tracking the soyoil contract on the Chicago Board of Trade and the Dalian Commodity Exchange, as well as palm oil on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange. April soyoil futures NSOJ7 were up 1 percent at 642.70 rupees ($9.82) per 10 kg as of 1211 GMT. Soybean oil BOv1 on the Chicago Board of Trade gained 0.7 percent, while the May soybean oil contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange DBYcv1 rose 0.5 percent. Malaysian palm 1FCPOc3 closed 0.3 percent higher. The most actively traded Indian rapeseed futures tracked the price of soyoil in the domestic market to close higher for a second straight session. The April rapeseed contract NRSJ7 closed 1.1 percent higher at 3,883 rupees per 100 kg on the National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange Ltd. The most actively traded soybean futures NSBJ7 were down 0.2 percent at 2,884 rupees.

Indian soyoil futures were on track to close higher for a second straight session on Thursday, tracking the soyoil contract on the Chicago Board of Trade and palm oil on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange. Soybean oil BOv1 on the Chicago Board of Trade was up 1.1 percent, while Malaysian palm 1FCPOc3 closed 2 percent higher. As of 1135 GMT, April soyoil futures NSOJ7 were up 0.6 percent at 638 rupees ($9.75) per 10 kg. The most actively traded Indian rapeseed futures tracked the price of soyoil in the domestic market to close higher for the second straight day. The April rapeseed contract NRSJ7 closed 0.2 percent higher at 3,836 rupees per 100 kg on the National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange Ltd. The most actively traded soybean futures NSBJ7 were largely flat at 2,886 rupees. ($1 = 65.4100 Indian rupees).

Indian soyoil futures rose on Wednesday, tracking the soyoil contract on the Chicago Board of Trade and palm oil on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange. Soybean oil BOv1 on the Chicago Board of Trade was up 1.1 percent, while Malaysian palm 1FCPOc3 closed 2.4 percent higher. As of 1150 GMT, April soyoil futures NSOJ7 were up 1.2 percent at 637.70 rupees per 10 kg. The most actively traded Indian rapeseed futures recovered from Tuesday's lows, tracking the price of soyoil in the domestic market. The April rapeseed contract NRSJ7 snapped a three session losing streak to close 0.7 percent higher at 3,827 rupees per 100 kg on the National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange Ltd. The most actively traded soybean futures NSBJ7 were up 1 percent at 2,886 rupees.

? RICE
Rice prices in India and Vietnam advanced while Thai prices dropped due to a weaker baht, traders said on Thursday. India's 5 percent broken parboiled rice prices fell by $3 per tonne to $ 372 to $377 per tonne on weak demand, even as rupee appreciation was hitting exporters' margins. "Thai rice is much more competitive than Indian supplies. African and other buyers are switching to Thailand and Vietnam," said M. Adishankar, executive director at Sri Lalitha, a leading rice exporter based in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. Indian exporters could not lower prices as the rupee appreciated to the highest level in nearly 17 months, trimming exporters' returns, he said. The country's rice production in 2016/17 is likely to rise by 4.3 percent to a record high 108.86 million tonnes. the world's biggest rice exporter, mainly exports Non-basmati rice to African countries and premier basmati rice to the Middle East. "Due to government buying, paddy prices could not fall below a certain level. So exporters have no room to cut rice prices," said a Mumbai based dealer with a global trading firm. The government agencies buy paddy from farmers for its public distribution system. Meanwhile, prices in Thailand and Vietnam stayed unchanged in a quiet market. Thai benchmark 5-percent broken rice RI-THBKN5-P1 stayed put at $ 350-$ 355 a tonne, free-on-board Bangkok, the same as last week. Traders said the market remained quiet ahead of an off-season harvest expected in April, so buyers are not in a hurry to buy rice. "The market outlook seems stable but on the weaker side for the next month," a trader in Bangkok said. The Thai government will hold an auction for spoiled rice for industrial use on March 23, but it does not affect rice exports, another Bangkok-based trader added. In Vietnam, the world's third largest rice exporter, 5-percent broken rice RI-VNBKN5-P1 prices remained stable at $355-$360 a tonne following high local prices. "This is the main season so local demand is high. Therefore, though there was more supply, local prices are still at a high level," said a Ho Chi Minh-based trader. Foreign importers were not keen to buy as Vietnamese prices were less competitive than Thai, traders said.

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