Gold recovered to close marginally higher in a quiet trading session, as weak US retail sales cut into the dollar’s gains ahead of Federal Reserve Chairman’s Congressional testimony which could provide the latest clue on monetary policies. Gold holdings of SPDR gold trust, the largest ETF backed by the precious metal, declined to 1,266.11 tons, as on July 16.
Silver holdings of iShares silver trust, the largest ETF backed by the metal, declined to 9,696.71 tons, as on July 13.The dollar index, which compares the US unit to a basket of other currencies, declined to 83.174 from 83.324 in late North American trade.
Copper prices declined, pressured by a decline in US retail sales, worries over Europe’s crisis. Copper futures for Sept. delivery closed down by 0.5% at $3.485 per pound on the COMEX of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
China’s refined copper production rose 7% to 518,000 tons in June, recovering from a 3-month low in May and matching a record high set last August.
Aluminum production hit a record 1.685mn tons in June, up 0.1% from the previous record of 1.683mn tons set in May.
Nickel production surged 33.4% from a month ago to hit a year high of 23,688 tons in June after output fell 18.4% to a 15-month low of 17,761 tons in May, as per data from the National Bureau of Statistics. Nickel traders probably added to bearish bets on prices last week, as the number of outstanding futures contracts climbed to the highest in at least 7-years at the same time as prices declined. Open interest in LME nickel futures rose by 9,160 contracts to 176,378 lots in the week to July 12, the highest level since at least Sept’05.
Crude oil prices rose for a fourth straight session, lifted by hopes that signs of economic slowing will prompt stimulus measures, especially in China and news that a US Navy vessel off the United Arab Emirates fired on fishing boat that failed to heed warnings.
Brent’s premium to US crude slipped, closing at $15.12 per barrel based on August settlements after reaching $16.18 during intra-day.
Natural gas futures closed lower, after forecasts of warmer-than-normal temperatures failed to trump concerns that rising gas prices will weigh on demand.