Gold Prices Fall In Asia As Chinese New Year Holidays Start – Gold dipped in Asia on Thursday as top buyer China started a market breakthrough Feb. 21 to mark the Lunar New Year and physical trade dipped further with Hong Kong also shut and Singapore on holidays Friday and Monday. Overnight, gold prices rose sharply amid dollar weakness as data showing rising inflation and falling retail sales stoked stagflation fears as market participants questioned the underlying strength of inflation. Rising inflation and falling retail sales pointing to possible sluggishness in consumer spending, leading some market participants to slash their bullish expectations for first-quarter economic growth as JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM) revised down its first-quarter US GDP forecast to 2.5% from 3%.
Zinc prices gained as stronger than expected inflation in the United States spurred buying – Zinc on MCX settled up 2.62% at 229.55 as stronger than expected inflation in the United States spurred buying. An environmental crackdown in China has hit supplies of metals and fuelled a price rally that shows no sign of losing steam anytime soon. The Yangtze River Delta region near Shanghai saw a key measure of smog concentrations rise by a fifth in January. Some regions of China could suffer heavy pollution because of fireworks and unfavourable weather conditions during Lunar New Year celebrations, despite a ban on firecrackers in more than 400 cities, the Ministry of Environmental Protection warned.
Copper prices rose as traders took up new positions in the metal before the ShFE closes for a national holiday – Copper on MCX settled up 1.82% at 457.55 on fresh buying as support seen after Shanghai copper prices rose registering their biggest daily leap since October, as traders took up new positions in the metal before the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed for a national holiday. Market open interest on Shanghai copper hit 811,170 lots on Tuesday, the highest since January 2016, ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday in China beginning on Thursday. Traders were likely covering their short positions ahead of the week-long holiday, which could put them at some risk due to volatility in LME prices.
Oil extends gains on Saudi commitment to cut, weak dollar – Oil prices on Thursday extended gains from the previous session, pushed up by a weak dollar and by comments from Saudi Arabia that it would rather see an undersupplied market than end a deal with OPEC and Russia to withhold production.Prices rose on the back of ongoing weakness in the U.S.-dollar against other leading currencies, further supported by rising stock markets, traders said. A weaker greenback potentially supports consumption of dollar-denominated commodities as it makes fuel and raw materials cheaper for countries using other currencies. “On commodity markets, everyone loves a lower U.S. dollar,” said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at futures brokerage AxiTrader.
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