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Oil Continues to Fall in Asia

25 Jul

Oil futures traded modestly lower during Thursday’s Asian session, extending losses incurred during U.S. traded Wednesday.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for September delivery fell 0.29% to USD105.29 per barrel in Asian trading Thursday despite some encouraging U.S. real estate data.

In U.S. economic news out Wednesday, the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index climbed to 57 this month from 51 last month. The July reading reading is the highest since January 2006. Readings above 50 indicate builders view the market as good.

New home sales advanced 8.3%, the best rate in five years. The seasonally adjusted rate was 497,000 units. Economists expected 484,000. May’s sales rate was also revised up to 459,000.

Even solid weekly inventories could not help oil higher in Asian Thursday. On Wednesday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that U.S. crude oil inventories fell by 2.8 million barrels in the week ending July 19, exceeding expectations for a decline of 2.4 million barrels.

Total U.S. crude oil inventories stood at 364.2 million barrels as of last week.

Traders appear to still be concerned about economic data out of China last night that serves as further proof manufacturing activity in the world’s second-largest economy is slowing. China’s HSBC manufacturing PMI fell to an 11-month low of 47.7 in July, from a final reading of 48.2 last month. Analysts had expected the index to rise to 48.6.

The U.S. and China are the world’s two largest oil consumers.

Elsewhere, Brent futures for September delivery fell 0.14% to USD106.91 per barrel.

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Gold Extends Gains into Third Session, China Demand Aids

2 Jul

Gold inched up on Tuesday, stretching its gains into a third straight session as buyers in China continued to snap up deals after bullion’s plunge to a three-year low last week.

Prices were also helped by short covering that kicked in after gold logged its biggest ever three-month loss in the second quarter ended June on indications of an early wind down to the US Federal Reserve’s stimulus measures.

“We can see some stock loading in the market and physical buying in Shanghai,” said a trader in Hong Kong.

“However, fundamentals are still bearish and we will test the upside at USD 1,270.”

Spot gold rose 0.5 percent to USD 1,258.51 an ounce by 0318 GMT, while US gold rose about USD 2 to USD 1,257.9.

Shanghai futures rose for a second straight day after nine consecutive declines. They were trading at over USD 30 premiums to spot prices.

Bullion, typically seen as a hedge against inflation, has taken a beating since Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said last month the economy was recovering strongly enough for the central bank to begin tapering its USD 85 billion monthly bond purchases in the next few months.

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Gold plunged 22 percent in the second quarter and is headed for a 25 percent drop this year, its biggest decline since 1981. It fell to USD 1,180.71 last week, its lowest since August 2010.

Spot gold is expected to end its current rebound at or below USD 1,273 per ounce, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Physical demand has not come to the rescue of gold as it did in April when prices fell the most in 30 years.

In Hong Kong, gold bar premiums over London prices remained at the same levels as last week, indicating that demand has not picked up strongly, dealers said.

Mixed US economic data on Monday added to uncertainty over the exact timing of the Fed’s tapering.

US manufacturing expanded last month, rebounding from an unexpected contraction in May, and construction spending neared a four-year high in May. However, hiring in the manufacturing sector was the weakest in nearly four years.

A more important jobs report, the US nonfarm payrolls, is expected to be released on Friday.

SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.12 percent to 968.30 tonnes on Monday – its lowest since February 2009.