Forex – Dollar hovers at 15-month lows vs. rivals, U.S. data on tap-SapForex24

The dollar continued to hover at 15-month lows against the other major currencies on Wednesday, as ongoing tensions in Washington and caution ahead of a highly-anticipated U.S. employment report weighed.

The dollar remained under pressure after the White House on Tuesday confirmed that U.S. President Donald Trump played a role in drafting a statement about his son’s meeting with a Russian lawyer during last year’s election campaign, which was later shown to be misleading.

The fresh revelations added to investors’ fears that the ongoing controversies embroiling the Trump administration will make it more difficult to make progress on the president’s economic agenda.

Recent lackluster U.S. economic reports, which have raised doubts over the future pace of policy tightening by the Federal Reserve, have also weighed on the greenback.

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Investors were looking ahead to the upcoming ADP jobs report due later in the day, as well as Friday’s nonfarm payrolls report for July for fresh indications on the possible direction of Fed policy.

EUR/USD gained 0.42% to 1.1850, just off a 32-month peak of 1.1868 hit overnight.
The single currency has been largely supported in recent weeks, after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi signaled in June that it could soon start tapering its stimulus program.

Elsewhere, GBP/USD rose 0.23% to 1.3238, as investors began to prepare for the Bank of England’s monthly policy statement, due on Thursday.

Markets shrugged off a report by research group Markit on Wednesday saying that its U.K. construction purchasing managers’ index fell to 51.9 last month from June’s reading of 54.8.

Economists had expected the index to drop to only 54.5 in July.
USD/JPY advanced 0.38% to 110.778, while USD/CHF added 0.19% to trade at 0.9673.

The Australian dollar was steady, with AUD/USD at 0.7964, while NZD/USD dropped 0.567% to 0.7427.

Earlier Wednesday, Statistics New Zealand reported that the number of employed people fell by 0.2% in the second quarter, disappointing expectations for a 0.7% rise and after an increase of 1.2% in the three months to March.

However, the unemployment rate ticked down to 4.8% in the last quarter from 4.9% in the first quarter of 2017, in line with expectations.

In Australia, data showed that building approvals climbed 10.9% in June, blowing past expectations for a 1.5% rise.

Meanwhile, USD/CAD edged up 0.19% to trade at 1.2564, after hitting a five-week low of 1.2412 on Tuesday.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.16% at 92.77, just off the previous session’s 15-month low of 92.64.

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Oil hits two-month high on tighter U.S. market, Venezuela sanctions risk-SapForex24

Oil prices hit a two-month high on Monday, lifted by a tightening U.S. crude market and the threat of sanctions against OPEC-member Venezuela.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures briefly jumped over $50 per barrel on Monday and were at $49.97 per barrel at 0654 GMT, still up 25 cents, or 0.5 percent from their last close. That means that virtually the entire WTI curve has moved over $50 per barrel.

Brent crude futures were at $52.85 per barrel, up 33 cents or 0.6 percent. Prices hit $52.90 per barrel earlier in the day, their highest since May 25.
The price rises put both crude benchmarks on track for a sixth consecutive session of gains.

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Prices have risen around 10 percent since the last meeting of leading members by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other major producers, including Russia, when the group discussed potential measures to further tighten oil markets.

“U.S. inventories are showing massive drawdowns, Saudi Arabia seems intent on playing its role as the world’s swing producer (and) impending sanctions on Venezuela by the U.S. will almost certainly be oil price-supportive,” said Jeffrey Halley, analyst at futures brokerage OANDA.

The United States is considering imposing sanctions on Venezuela’s vital oil sector in response to Sunday’s election of a constitutional super-body that Washington has denounced as a “sham” vote.

But traders said the biggest price supporter was currently a tightening U.S. oil market.

“Strong increases in the price of oil … (were) fueled in large part by the substantial drawdowns in U.S. inventories over the past several weeks,” said William O’Loughlin, analyst at Rivkin Securities.

U.S. crude inventories have fallen by 10 percent from their March peaks to 483.4 million barrels.

In production, U.S. output dipped by 0.2 percent to 9.41 million barrels per day (bpd) in the week to July 21, after rising by more than 10 percent since mid-2016.

Drilling for new U.S. production is also slowing, with just 10 rigs added in July, the fewest since May 2016.

The tighter market was also visible in the price curve, which shows backwardation in the front end.

Backwardation is a market condition in which prices for immediate delivery of a product are higher than those later on.

Brent prices for delivery in September are currently around 35 cents above those for October.

Despite the signs of a tighter market in the United States, supplies in China remain plentiful.

China’s June crude inventories rose to the highest level since September 2016, marking the third month of gain, data from the official Xinhua News Agency showed.

Crude stocks rose 4 percent to 30.57 million tonnes (around 224 million barrels), while total oil products stockpiles inched up to 18.1 million tonnes.

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Oil prices were higher in European trade on Tuesday, extending their recovery from last week’s ten-month lows, but futures stayed volatile in the face of fresh supply worries amid indications that U.S. shale production will continue to rise.

The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude August contract was at $43.72 a barrel by 3:25AM ET (0725GMT), up 35 cents, or around 0.8%. It touched its lowest since August 11 at $42.05 on Wednesday last week.

Elsewhere, Brent oil for September delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London tacked on 39 cents to $46.43 a barrel, after hitting $44.35 last Wednesday, a level not seen since November 14.

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Oil settled higher Monday, tallying their third straight session of gains, despite ongoing pressure from expectations of further growth in U.S. output.

U.S. drillers last week added rigs for the 23rd week in a row, according to data from energy services company Baker Hughes, implying that further gains in domestic production are ahead.

The increase in U.S. drilling activity and shale production has mostly offset efforts by OPEC and other producers to cut output in a move to prop up the market.

In May, OPEC and some non-OPEC producers extended a deal to cut 1.8 million barrels per day in supply until March 2018.

Investors looked ahead to weekly data from the U.S. on stockpiles of crude and refined products.

Industry group the American Petroleum Institute is due to release its weekly report at 4:30PM ET (2030GMT) later on Tuesday. Official data from the Energy Information Administration will be released Wednesday, amid forecasts for an oil-stock drop of around 2.2 million barrels.

Elsewhere on Nymex, gasoline futures for August inched up 0.1 cents to $1.435 a gallon, while August heating oil gained 0.9 cents to $1.395 a gallon.

Natural gas futures for August delivery rallied 2.6 cents to $3.075 per million British thermal units.

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Oil attempts to break 6-day losing streak-SapForex24

Oil prices were higher in European trading on Tuesday, rising for the first time in seven sessions as investors returned to the market to seek cheap valuations after futures fell to the lowest level in four weeks amid signs of further gains in U.S. crude output.

The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude June contract rose 13 cents, or around 0.3%, to $49.36 a barrel.

The U.S. benchmark settled lower for the sixth session in a row on Monday after hitting its weakest level since March 29 at $49.03.

Elsewhere, Brent oil for June delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London tacked on 16 cents to $52.29 a barrel after sliding to $51.42 in the prior session, its deepest trough since March 29.

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Investors looked ahead to weekly data from the U.S. on stockpiles of crude and refined products.

Industry group the American Petroleum Institute is due to release its weekly report later on Tuesday. Official data from the Energy Information Administration will be released Wednesday, amid forecasts for an oil-stock drop of 1.3 million barrels.

Crude has been under heavy selling pressure in recent days amid fears that an ongoing rebound in U.S. shale production could derail efforts by other major producers to rebalance global oil supply and demand.

U.S. drillers last week added rigs for the 14th week in a row, data from energy services company Baker Hughes showed on Friday, extending a 10-month drilling recovery. That brought the total count to 688, the most since September 2015.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump will sign several executive orders on energy and the environment this week, which would make it easier for the U.S. to develop energy on and offshore, a White House official said on Sunday.

The increase in U.S. output has overshadowed pledged output cuts by major producers. In November last year, OPEC and other producers, including Russia agreed to cut output by about 1.8 million barrels per day between January and June, but so far the move has had little impact on inventory levels.

A final decision on whether or not to extend the deal beyond June will be taken by the oil cartel on May 25.

Russia said on Monday that its oil output could climb to the highest rate in 30 years if OPEC and non-OPEC producers do not extend a supply reduction deal beyond June 30.

Elsewhere on Nymex, gasoline futures for June inched down 0.2 cents, or about 0.2%, to $1.624 a gallon, while June heating oil added 0.2 cents to $1.550 a gallon.

Natural gas futures for June delivery was little changed at $3.159 per million British thermal units

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Gold hits fresh 3-week highs amid Trump policy jitters-SapForex24

Gold prices rose to a three-week high during European morning hours on Wednesday, as growing doubts about U.S. President Donald Trump’s pro-growth economic agenda prompted investors to dump risky assets and rush to safe havens.

Comex Gold futures reached a session peak of $1,249.05 a troy ounce, the highest since February 28. It was last at $1,247.00 , up 50 cents, or less than 0.1%.

It settled higher for the fourth session in a row on Tuesday, as risk-averse investors sought safer investments amid a weak dollar and as U.S. equities tumbled on doubts over the implementation of President Trump’s economic agenda.
Meanwhile, spot gold was up $3.95 at $1,248.55 per ounce.

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Headlines from Washington will continue to be in focus, as House Republicans are expected to vote on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act on Thursday.
The Freedom Caucus, a key group of House Republicans, threatened to issue a formal statement of opposition to the Obamacare replacement bill, which would delay the vote, unless the language in the bill changes dramatically.

Appetite for riskier assets took a hit on concerns the House will not have enough votes to repeal and replace the healthcare bill, triggering worry that more of the Trump Administration’s pro-growth policies could be delayed or derailed in Congress.

Global stock markets sold off as investors unwound bets from a post-election rally on worries that Trump would not be able to live up to his promises for large-scale reform on tax and regulation.

Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was little changed near a seven-week low of 99.53 in London morning trade.

U.S. Treasury yields traded lower, with the benchmark 10-year note yield falling to a three-week low of 2.405%.

The greenback, along with Treasury yields, have been on the retreat since the Fed raised interest rates on Wednesday last week, but stuck to its outlook for two more hikes this year, instead of three expected by the market.

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.

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Gold prices fall to 6-week lows, below $1,200 mark-sapforex24

Gold prices fell to six-week lows on Friday, hovering below the psychologically important $1,200 mark as the strength of the U.S. dollar and growing expectations for a U.S. rate hike next week continued to weigh on the precious metal.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for April delivery were down 0.61% at $1,195.65, the lowest since January 31.

The April contract ended Thursday’s session 0.51% lower at $1,203.20 an ounce.

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Futures were likely to find support at $1,187.10, the low of January 30 and resistance at $1,212.20, Wednesday’s high.

The greenback remained broadly supported after U.S. payroll processor ADP reported on Wednesday that the private sector added 298,000 jobs in February, well above forecasts for an increase of 190,000. It was the largest increase in private sector hiring since March 2006.

Investors were looking ahead to Friday’s government employment report for February, where a strong reading would cement expectations for a rate hike from the Fed next week.

Markets seemed to shrug off a report by the U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday showing that initial jobless claims increased by 20,000 to 243,000 last week, compared to expectations for a 12,000 rise.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was steady at 101.94, not far from Thursday’s one-week high of 102.25.

A strong U.S. dollar usually weighs on Gold, as it dampens the metal’s appeal as an alternative asset and makes dollar-priced commodities more expensive for holders of other currencies.

Elsewhere in metals trading, silver futures for May delivery dropped 0.81% to $16.877 a troy ounce, while copper futures for May delivery added 0.12% to $2.583 a pound.

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Oil ticks up on weaker dollar, stalled Russian output cuts-SapForex24

Oil markets rose on Friday as the dollar edged away from a multi-week high, but prices are being held in check by unchanged Russian output for February, a sign of its weak compliance on a global deal to cut supplies.

The dollar slipped on Friday from its highest in seven weeks against a basket of currencies, although still holding close to a level that anchors Brent crude near $55 a barrel and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) just under $53.

Benchmark Brent Crude futures were up 21 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $55.29 a barrel, as of 0755 GMT. It closed down $1.28, or 2.3 percent, in the previous session, and dropped almost 3 percent on the week.

FOREX AND COMEX MARKET HEADLINE-SAPFOREX24
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WTI futures gained 16 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $52.77 a barrel after dropping on Thursday to its lowest since Feb. 9. The U.S. benchmark finished in negative territory the past three sessions.

The dollar had climbed on Thursday after hawkish comments by a U.S. Federal Reserve official encouraged investors to expect a near-term interest rate hike.
“Last night’s dollar moves really shook up the markets – we’re seeing it across all markets, not just oil,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at Sydney’s CMC Markets.

Russia’s February oil output was unchanged from January at 11.11 million barrels per day (bpd), energy ministry data showed, with its cuts from October 2016 levels remaining at 100,000 bpd or a third of what was pledged by Moscow under its agreement with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Official U.S. data also showed that crude inventories in the world’s biggest oil consumer rose for an eighth straight week to a record 520.2 million barrels last week.

Crude oil fell to a three-week low as the stronger U.S. dollar combined with concerns about rising U.S. crude oil inventories to reduce investor appetite,” ANZ said in a note.

But even as U.S. oil production rose and Russian output held steady, OPEC boosted already strong compliance with the group’s six-month deal to 94 percent, cutting output for a second month in February, a Reuters survey found.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said it was too early to say if the deal to reduce oil production would be extended beyond the end of June. OPEC, Russia and others are due to agree on output policy in the next three months.

Short-term technical support could push Brent toward $60 a barrel, which will “establish an adequate price level for OPEC to reduce, but not abolish, its market intervention at the May 25th meeting,” BMI Research said in a note on Friday.

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