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BULLION - Bullion counter may trade on weaker path as gold prices edged lower on Thursday as the U.S. dollar hovered near multi-week highs, while investors awaited clues on monetary policy easing from leading central banks to shore up global economy. Investor focus shifted to the European Central Bank (ECB) meeting due later in the day and a widely expected interest rate cut from the U.S. Federal Reserve next week, which are expected to dictate the tempo for currencies and bond yields in coming months. In the United States, manufacturing activity slowed to a 10-year low in early July with production volumes and purchases falling. Weak housing and manufacturing are offsetting strong consumer spending, holding back the economy and posing a threat to the longest expansion in history. SPDR Gold Trust GLD, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings dropped 0.11% to 822.25 tonnes on Wednesday from 823.13 tonnes on Tuesday. 

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ENERGY- Crude oil may trade on weaker path as oil ticked lower early on Thursday as more signs of slowing global growth added to demand concerns, with Middle East tensions underpinning prices. Sentiment in the oil market has darkened as investors worry that slowing global economic growth will weaken demand for oil. A series of purchasing manager index readings in the United States and Europe were weaker than expected, confirming concerns about slower economic growth amid a trade war between the United States and China. Global growth concerns are driving energy prices lower as forecasts keep getting downgraded even as the U.S. will be sending a trade team to China next week. Set against those worries are ongoing tensions in the Middle East following the seizure of a British-flagged tanker in the Gulf by Iranian forces last week. Britain, meanwhile, gained initial support from France, Italy and Denmark for its plan for a European-led naval mission to ensure safe shipping in the Gulf. U.S. natural gas futures fell on Wednesday to their lowest level in over a month on forecasts for cooler weather over the next two weeks than previously forecast. 

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BASE METAL - Base metals may trade on subdued path. Top U.S. and Chinese negotiators will meet face-to-face next week for the first time since Donald Trump and Xi Jinping agreed to revive talks to end their year-long trade war. Shanghai lead rose on Thursday, tracking a rally in London prices overnight, following concerns of supply shortages amid some maintenance activities in China. Three-month lead on the London Metal Exchange (LME) jumped 2.6% on Wednesday, its strongest gain in more than six weeks, as lead stockpiles in LME-approved warehouses fell to a fresh decade low of 57,425 tonnes. The difference between the LME cash lead contract over the three-month lead contract flipped to a premium of 1.5 a tonne on Wednesday, indicating near-term supply shortage. The shutdown of 1.5 million tonnes-per-year of alumina refining capacity in China will curb oversupply of the aluminium raw material and see prices currently languishing near two-year lows reach a bottom.

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