Crude Oil Dips In Asia Despite Strong China Data on Oil Imports - 12 Jan 2018

Commodity Intraday Tips
Gold Prices Gain In Asia After Chinese Trade Data Mixed.
Gold prices inched up on Friday in Asia with Chinese trade data providing a mixed picture on global demand prospects and potential higher inflation. Gold prices rose to nearly four-month highs as the dollar came under pressure after the euro surged on hawkish European Central Bank meeting minutes suggesting monetary policy tightening may soon follow. The European Central Bank could consider a gradual shift in guidance from early 2018, the minutes of the ECB December meeting showed, as policymakers saw "some comfort" in wage dynamics despite ongoing concerns over subdued inflation. The hawkish tone of the minutes fuelled a surge in the euro, pressuring the dollar toward four-month lows, while weaker-than-forecast wholesale inflation for December deepened the dollar’s retreat supporting an uptick in gold prices. Dollar-denominated assets such as gold are sensitive to moves in the dollar – A dip in the dollar makes gold cheaper for holders of foreign currency and thus, raises demand.
   
Lead companies to see output affected on air pollution forecast.
China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection has asked Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanxi, Shandong and Henan provinces to wrestle with heavily-polluted weather forecast for the January 12-17 period in those regions. SMM learned that primary lead plants in Henan have delayed their restart plans in mid-January while lead storage battery plants in Shandong also received production restriction notice. How much production cut is required was unclear at the time of writing.

Report: Madagascar’s major nickel mine suspended for one month.
Operations at Sumitomo Corp’s Ambatovy nickel mine in Madagascar were suspended on January 4 before hurricane Ava hit, the company said on Thursday January 11. Some equipment has been damaged but the maintenance work has started. The company expected the repairing work to finish by the end of January while production would be halted during the time, Reuters reported. This would have some impact on Chinese domestic steel mills as they import nickel briquette from the mine under a tax-free policy. 
 
Crude Oil Dips In Asia Despite Strong China Data on Oil Imports. 
Crude oil prices dipped in Asia on Friday despite solid China trade data on imports for the month of December and all of 2017 with US rig count data ahead.China's crude oil imports in December come in at 34 million metric tons, while 2017 crude imports rose 10.1% to 420 million metric tons, highest on record. Overnight, crude oil prices settled near three-year highs on Thursday amid expectations that global oil demand growth and ongoing OPEC cuts would continue to reduce excess supplies. The rally in oil prices continued unabated amid investor optimism that key factors supporting the late-2017 rally such as strong OPEC compliance, and bullish oil demand growth amid rising global economic growth would offset the expected ramp up in non-OPEC output.

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