Gold moves higher on geopolitical tension, takes Yellen in stride – SapForex24

Gold prices rose in European trade on Tuesday as rising political tension over North Korea and Syria supported demand for the safe-haven metal.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold for June delivery gained 0.39% to $1.258.85 a troy ounce.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is currently at the G7 Foreign Affair Ministers meeting in Italy where political leaders are working to produce a cohesive message on Syria.

The U.S. had been working to rally international support for its revised stance on Syria ahead of the American Secretary of State’s first diplomatic trip to Moscow.
However, the Kremlin announced Monday that Tillerson and Russian President Vladimir Putin will not meet in what could be a sign of increased tensions.

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Markets also focused eyes on Asia as North Korea warned Tuesday of “catastrophic consequences” in response to any further provocations by the U.S., days after a U.S. Navy battle group was sent to waters off the Korean peninsula.

Stateside, remarks Monday from Federal Reserve (Fed) chair Janet Yellen provided little effect on the precious metal as she repeated her outlook that the central bank would raise U.S. interest rates gradually with an aim to sustaining full employment and near-2% inflation without letting the economy overheat.

“Whereas before we had our foot pressed down on the gas pedal trying to give the economy all the oomph we possibly could, now allowing the economy to kind of coast and remain on an even keel — to give it some gas but not so much that we are pressing down hard on the accelerator — that’s a better stance of monetary policy,” she said.

“We want to be ahead of the curve and not behind it,” Yellen explained.
Elsewhere in metals trading, silver was up 0.13% at $17.938 a troy ounce.

Platinum rose 0.70% at $946.60 a troy ounce, while palladium gained 0.30% to $792.35 a troy ounce. Copper inched up 0.08% to $2.606 a pound.

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Oil prices rise on strong demand, uncertainty over Syria conflict-SapForex24

Oil prices rose on Monday, supported by strong demand and uncertainty over the conflict in Syria, although another run-up in U.S. drilling activity kept a lid on gains.

Brent Crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at $55.49 per barrel at 0701 GMT, up 25 cents, or 0.45 percent, from their last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 25 cents, or 0.46 percent, at $52.48 a barrel.

ANZ bank said that strong oil demand and “an unsettled global backdrop (is) leaving the market very finely balanced.”

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However, another increase in U.S. oil drilling – for the 12th straight week and taking the count to 672 rigs, which is the highest since August 2015 – kept markets from breaking last week’s one-month highs of over $56 per barrel.

U.S. bank Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) said after the rig data release that year-on-year U.S. oil production “would rise by 215,000 barrels per day in 2017” once a backlog of production waiting to be brought back online was taken into account.

The soaring U.S. output contrasts with a supply cut led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which hopes to prop up prices by reducing supplies in the first half of 2017 – and maybe beyond.

“The U.S. rig count continues to soar and we are close to a two-year high on that. Judging by the relative success of the OPEC agreement keeping prices propped up, I don’t see a reason for that to decline in the near future,” said Matt Stanley, a fuel broker at Freight Services International (FIS) in Dubai.

“Reduced OPEC volumes and stronger U.S. output will result in a deeper discount for U.S. crude and support greater exports from the U.S. to Asia over the coming months,” BMI Research said. It added, though, that in terms of overall volumes, “the U.S. will remain a small player in Asia as OPEC actively protects its market share.”

Beyond the United States, other producers are also benefiting from OPEC’s supply cuts and tighter market.

Brazil’s oil exports have soared 65 percent since February 2016, to a record of more than 1.46 million bpd, according to government data obtained by Reuters.

Consultancy Wood Mackenzie estimates Brazil oil exports will hit an average of nearly 1 million bpd for the whole of 2017, up from 798,000 bpd last year.

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Forex – GBP/USD falls after U.K. data disappoints-SapForex24

The pound fell against the U.S. dollar on Friday, after the release of disappointing U.K. manufacturing production data, while investors awaited a key report on U.S. employment due later in the day.

GBP/USD hit 1.2430 during European morning trade, the pair’s lowest since Wednesday; the pair subsequently consolidated at 1.2432, shedding 0.29%.
Cable was likely to find support at 1.2401, the low of March 30 and resistance at 1.2508, Thursday’s high.

The U.K. Office for National Statistics said manufacturing production fell 0.1% in February, compared to expectations for a gain of 0.2% and following a decline of 1.0% in the previous month.

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On an annualized basis, manufacturing production increased by 3.3% in February, below forecasts for a 3.9% advance.

The report also showed that industrial production fell 0.7% in February, compared to forecasts for a 0.2% increase.

Meanwhile, market participants were looking ahead to the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report, due later Friday, a day after the release of upbeat jobless claims data.

Separately, markets were jittery after the U.S. launched cruise missiles at an airbase in Syria, sparking concerns of an escalation in the Syrian civil war.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he ordered missile strikes against a Syrian airfield from which a deadly chemical weapons attack was launched.

The air strike came during a two-day summit between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping which, on Thursday, had a strong focus on trade and North Korea’s military program.

Trump had warned that he would be ready to act unilaterally to address North Korea’s nuclear program if China does not step up to help in the matter.
Sterling was lower against the euro, with EUR/GBP rising 0.21% to 0.8555.

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Forex – Dollar little changed vs. other majors – SapForex24

The dollar was little changed against other major currencies on Thursday, but investors remained cautious ahead of a U.S.-China summit scheduled later in the day.

EUR/USD was steady at 1.0663, just off a three-week low of 1.0629.

The greenback came under pressure after the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s March meeting indicated that the central bank would likely begin trimming its $4.5 trillion balance sheet of Treasury and mortgage securities later this year.

While the unwinding had been anticipated by markets, the timing of the move had not been clear.

Investors also remained cautious ahead of the summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping later Thursday, which will include discussions on U.S.-China trade and security issues, including North Korea’s arms program.

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Trump has repeatedly criticized China’s economic policies and pledged to label China a currency manipulator on the first day of his administration, but so far he has not.

Meanwhile, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said on Thursday that the bank is not planning to reassess its current monetary policy of low interest rates and bond buying.

Draghi reiterated that the current monetary policy stance was still appropriate and the bank needed to see more signs that inflation was approaching its target before making any policy changes.

Elsewhere, GBP/USD was little changed at 1.2474.

USD/JPY held steady at 110.74, while USD/CHF was almost unchanged at 1.0048.

The Australian dollar was weaker, with AUD/USD down 0.24% at 0.7553, while NZD/USD edged up 0.09% to 0.6971.

Meanwhile, USD/CAD added 0.10% to 1.3446.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.09% at 100.50, not far from Wednesday’s three-week high of 100.99.

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Forex – GBP/USD edges lower after mixed U.K. data- SapForex24

The pound edged lower against the U.S. dollar on Friday, after the release of downbeat U.K. economic growth data and a more positive report on the country’s current account, while investors eyed upcoming U.S. economic reports.

GBP/USD hit 1.2447 during European morning trade, the session low the pair subsequently consolidated at 1.2465, down 0.10%.

Cable was likely to find support at 1.2401, Thursday’s low and resistance at 1.2598, the high of March 28.

The U.K. Office for National Statistics said its final reading of fourth quarter gross domestic product was an increase of 0.7%, in line with expectations and a previous estimate.

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Year-on-hear however, GDP rose 1.9% in the fourth quarter, below expectations and a previous estimate for a growth rate of 2.0%.

A separate report showed that the U.K. current account deficit narrowed to £12.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016 from £25.7 billion in the third quarter, whose figure was revised from a previous estimate of 25.5 billion.

Analysts had expected the current account deficit to narrow to just £16.0 billion in the last quarter.

The pound has been surprisingly resilient this week, as British Prime Minister Theresa May formally began Brexit proceedings on Wednesday, launching a two-year negotiation process before the divorce comes into effect in late March 2019.

Meanwhile, sentiment on the greenback became more vulnerable ahead of a string of U.S. economic reports due later in the day, although upbeat data released earlier in the week still lent some support.

Markets were also jittery as U.S. President Trump was scheduled later Friday to sign executive orders aimed at identifying abuses that are causing massive U.S. trade deficits and clamping down on non-payment of anti-dumping and anti subsidy duties on imports.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross specified that one of the orders directs a major review of the causes of U.S. trade deficits, including “currency misalignment.”
Sterling was lower against the euro, with EUR/GBP rising 0.25% to 0.8583.

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