Investing.com - Gold prices extended losses from the prior session on Thursday to hit their lowest level in around a month, as investors shunned safe-haven assets following the unveiling of a long-awaited tax reform plan stateside. A highly-anticipated plan to reform taxes in the U.S. was released by Republicans on Wednesday. The framework proposed bringing the corporate tax rate to 20% from 35% and reducing the highest individual income tax rate to 35% from 39.6%. Investors stateside cheered the tax reform plans, with the U.S. dollar climbing to a one-month high against a basket of currencies, while financial stocks and Treasury yields rose. Despite market optimism, the proposal still faces an uphill battle in Congress, with the Republican party divided over it and Democrats hostile. Comex gold futures fell to their lowest level since Aug. 25 at $1,280.40 a troy ounce before bouncing back to $1,283.52 by 2:45AM ET (0645GMT), down $4.20, or around 0.3% from Wednesday's closing price. The yellow metal lost around 1.1% on Wednesday after upbeat data on durable goods orders helped boost expectations for a Federal Reserve interest rate hike in December. Interest rate futures are now pricing in about an 80% chance of a December Fed rate hike according to Investing.com's Fed Rate Monitor Tool, up from under 40% just a few weeks ago. Looking ahead, investors awaited final figures on U.S. second-quarter economic growth later in the day. Comments from soon-to-depart Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer will also garner some attention. Elsewhere on the Comex, silver futures inched down 7.1 cents, or about 0.4%, to $16.75 a troy ounce, their worst level since Aug. 16. Among other precious metals, platinum dipped 0.4% to $920.85, while palladium slipped 0.4% to $924.55 an ounce. Platinum fell to a discount against palladium for the first time since 2001, as demand expectations for the two assets diverge, amid waning demand for diesel cars. Source: investing.com (27/09/2017)

Investing.com - The People's Bank of China set the yuan mid-point at 6.6285 against the dollar on Thursday, compared to the previous close of 6.6425, the fourth straight weaker fixing. The China Foreign Exchange Trade System sets the weighted average of prices given by market makers. The highest and lowest offers are excluded from the calculation. The central bank allows the dollar/yuan rate to move no more than 2% above or below the central parity rate. Market watchers see a yuan level of 7 against the dollar, USD/CNY, as a key touchstone for sentiment in the near term. Source: investing.com (27/09/2017)

Investing.com - The dollar drifted higher against the yen on Thursday in Asia and the euro fell in a light regional data day outside of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) holding rates at 1.75% as expected. USD/JPY changed hands at 112.91, up 0.06%, while AUD/USD traded at 0.7826, down 0.29%. EUR/USD traded at 1.1740, down 0.06%. Earlier, the RBNZ held and called for a weaker currency. "A lower New Zealand dollar would help to increase tradables inflation and deliver more balanced growth," said acting Governor Grant Spencer, in a statement accompanying his first rates decision since previous governor Graeme Wheeler stepped down this month at the end of his five-year term. The decision came just days after an inconclusive national election that left the country not knowing which parties would form its next government. NZD/USD traded at $0.7199, flat. The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, rose 0.08% to 93.34. Overnight, the dollar rose against a basket of major currencies, after President Trump and Republican leaders on Wednesday revealed details of a plan for tax reform which helped offset earlier weakness following a mixed bag of economic reports. Republicans in the U.S. Congress and the White House unveiled plans to change America’s tax code in a proposal that slashes taxes on businesses and the wealthy, lowering the corporate rate from 35% to 20%. Investors, however, mulled over the lack of detail on how on the tax reform will be funded, fueling fears that key elements missing from the plan could invite pressure from support industry groups and lobbyists. The framework for tax reform came just hours after a pair of mixed economic reports forced the greenback to retreat from a 1-month high. The Commerce Department said on Wednesday non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, rose 0.9 % last month after an upwardly revised 1.1% increase in July. The housing sector, meanwhile, continued to weaken as the National Association of Realtors’ pending home sales fell 2.6% to 106.3 in August. That was the lowest reading since January 2016. The dollar's steady gain weighed on both the pound and euro, as both currencies gave up some of their recent gains against the greenback. USD/CAD gained after Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz insisted that there is no “predetermined path” for rate hikes, dampening expectations that the central bank would hike rates at least once more this year. Source: investing.com (27/09/2017)

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The dollar hit a one-month high against a basket of currencies on Thursday, underpinned by hopes that U.S. President Donald Trump's administration may be making progress on tax reforms. The dollar index (DXY), which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, rose 0.2 percent to 93.575. It touched a high of 93.613 at one point, its strongest level since Aug. 23. Trump on Wednesday proposed the biggest U.S. tax overhaul in three decades, offering to cut taxes for most Americans but prompting criticism that the plan favours the rich and companies and could add trillions of dollars to the deficit. The proposal faces an uphill battle in the U.S. Congress, with Trump's own Republican Party divided over it and Democrats hostile. But the unveiling of the plan, coupled with upbeat U.S. durable goods orders, helped give an added lift to the greenback, which has benefited from rekindled expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates again by year-end. "I think the market's views toward the U.S. had become too pessimistic," said Masashi Murata, currency strategist for Brown Brothers Harriman in Tokyo. "That view is being re-assessed and bond yields are rising so dollar-buying could continue for a while," Murata said. The greenback's rise gained renewed momentum in Thursday's Asian trade as U.S. bond yields pushed higher. The U.S. 10-year Treasury yield (US10YT=RR) rose to 2.344 percent at one point on Thursday, its highest level since mid-July. Including Wednesday's move, the U.S. 10-year yield has risen more than 11 basis points -- putting it on track for its biggest two-day rise in nearly seven months. The movement in U.S. Treasuries probably gained steam due to stop-loss selling, said Satoshi Okagawa, senior global markets analyst for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation in Singapore. The resulting rise in U.S. bond yields was giving a broad lift to the dollar, he added. The dollar rose 0.2 percent to 113.05 yen , nearing Wednesday's high of 113.26 yen, the greenback's strongest level in more than two months. Emerging Asian currencies came under pressure as U.S. bond yields rose. The Indonesian rupiah fell to 13,550 per dollar at one point, its lowest level in nearly 10 months. The euro also faltered, easing 0.1 percent to $1.1733 , languishing near a one-month low of $1.1717 set on Wednesday. Source: investing.com (27/09/2017)

Investing.com - The dollar rose to one-month highs against a basket of the other major currencies on Thursday amid fresh hopes for U.S. tax reforms and after strong economic data supported the case for a Federal Reserve rate hike later this year. The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.17% to 93.44 by 03:28 AM ET (07:28 GMT), the highest since August 23. The dollar was boosted after the Trump administration outlined plans for a sweeping overhaul of the U.S. tax code on Wednesday, proposing tax cuts on businesses and many individuals. The proposed changes are likely to face an uphill battle in Congress amid concerns that they could add trillions of dollars to the deficit. But progress on the tax plan, along with data showing a strong rebound in orders for long-lasting U.S. factory goods last month bolstered the dollar, which has been buoyed by renewed expectations for a third rate hike by the Fed this year. Higher rates tend to boost the dollar by making the U.S. currency more attractive to yield-seeking investors. The dollar was higher against the yen, with USD/JPY rising 0.17% to 113.03, not far from Wednesday’s more than two-month highs of 113.24. The euro remained close to five-week lows amid concerns over political risk in Germany in the aftermath of weekend elections, with EUR/USD last at 1.1742. Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing what could be a protracted period of coalition talks to try to form a stable government, leaving investors’ worries that political uncertainty could hit the Germany economy and make closer euro zone integration more difficult. Elsewhere, sterling was steady against the stronger dollar, with GBP/USD at 1.3382. Source: investing.com (27/09/2017)

TOKYO (Reuters) - The dollar and U.S. bond yields rose on Thursday after President Donald Trump proposed the biggest U.S. tax overhaul in three decades and as strong U.S. economic data supported the case for a Federal Reserve rate hike later this year. The dollar's strength pressured many emerging market currencies and bonds, helping drag down MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (MIAPJ0000PUS) 0.4 percent to one-month lows. South Korean 10-year yields hit a 2-year high. In contrast, Japan's Nikkei (N225) rose 0.55 percent, taking cues from gains on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) rose 0.25 percent while the S&P 500 (SPX) gained 0.41 percent. Small-cap U.S. shares, seen as benefiting the most from the proposed tax cuts, soared, with the Russel 2000 small-cap index (RUT) notching a record high, rising 1.9 percent for its biggest one-day gain in almost six months. "The fact that Trump made the tax proposal was seen as a step forward," said Hirokazu Kabeya, chief global strategist at Daiwa Securities. Trump offered to lower corporate income tax rates, cut taxes for small businesses and reduce the top income tax rate for individuals. Also helping to boost the dollar, the plan included lower one-time low tax rates for companies to repatriate profits accumulated overseas, which analysts say would lead to a temporary phase of sizable dollar buying. European stock futures suggested gains for those markets too, with FTSE futures (FFIc1) up 0.18 percent and German DAX futures (FDXc1) up 0.25 percent. Trump's tax proposal faces an uphill battle in Congress, however, with his own party divided, and the plan already prompting criticism that it favors companies and the rich and could add trillions of dollars to the national debt. "It is hard to expect this proposal to pass the Congress smoothly. We have to pay attention to how the Republicans will view this," said Takafumi Yamawaki, chief fixed income strategist at J.P. Morgan Securities. "It is possible that the net fiscal spending will be smaller than what the stock markets expect," he added. The euro hit a six-week low of $1.1717 on Wednesday as the dollar broadly gained, and last traded at $1.1722, having shed 1.9 percent so far this week. The dollar shot up to a 2-1/2-month high of 113.26 yen the previous day before stepping back to 113.08 yen Thursday. The Canadian dollar extended its losses, suffering its biggest drop in eight months on Wednesday, after Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz dampened expectations for further interest rate hikes this year. Canada's loonie > fell to C$1.2469 to the U.S. dollar, its lowest in a month. The dollar strengthened against many emerging market currencies while gold hit a one-month low of $1,281.5 per ounce. "I don't see any changes to growth stories in emerging economies so I would assume selling in them will prove temporary, unless yields in the developed world keep rising sharply," said a senior currency trader at a major Japanese bank. U.S. bond yields jumped with the yield on two-year notes (US2YT=RR) rising to a nine-year high of 1.49 percent in anticipation of a rate rise in December. Comments from Fed Chair Janet Yellen that the Fed needs to continue with gradual rate hikes have cemented expectations for policy tightening by year-end. New orders for key U.S.-made capital goods grew more than expected in August, helping to boost optimism in the U.S. economy's outlook. Yields on longer-dated bonds soared as Trump's tax proposal stoked worries about fiscal deterioration. U.S. municipal bonds were also sold for the same reason. The 10-year yield rose to 2.357 percent (US10YT=RR), its highest in more than two months, compared to this week's low of 2.214 percent while the 30-year bond yield (US30YT=RR) climbed to 2.901 percent after having risen 9 basis points on Wednesday - the biggest one-day rise in almost seven months. Japanese yields rose in tandem with benchmark 10-year futures set for their biggest fall in three months, partly driven by expectation of fiscal easing after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called a snap election expected on Oct.22. Oil prices hovered a tad below the peaks hit earlier this week as the market consolidated after a strong rally this month. Brent (LCOc1) futures traded at $57.78 a barrel, down from Tuesday's 26-month peak of $59.49. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) (CLc1) fetched $52.05 per barrel, below Tuesday's five-month high of $52.43 after oil stockpiles in the world's top consumer unexpectedly drew down, with refiners coming back online following Hurricane Harvey last month. Source: investing.com (27/09/2017)

TOKYO (Reuters) - Oil prices fell on Thursday, with U.S. crude giving up some of the previous session's gains that were driven by a surprise fall in inventories, while Brent moved further away from recent 26-month highs. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) (CLc1) dipped 22 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $51.92 a barrel by 0646 GMT after rising 26 cents in the previous session to just below a five-month high. Brent (LCOc1) was down 41 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $57.49 a barrel, slipping further away from Tuesday's more than two-year high of $59.49 following a near 1 percent fall in the previous session. U.S. crude inventories fell 1.8 million barrels last week, the U.S. Energy Department said on Wednesday, versus forecasts for a 3.4 million-barrel build. The crude draw provided some support to oil prices as refiners came back online following Hurricane Harvey last month, but gasoline stocks surprisingly rose and stocks of distillates were down by less than anticipated. While the data gave a mixed picture, the outlook for demand has strengthened, said Ben le Brun, market analyst at OptionXpress in Sydney. "Things are looking a little more optimistic, the most optimistic I have seen in the last couple of years," le Brun said. "Certainly a WTI price above $60 a barrel by the end of the year is not a crazy belief." The International Energy Agency earlier this month raised its 2017 global oil demand growth estimate to 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) from 1.5 million bpd, pointing to stronger-than-expected demand growth in the United States and Europe. Still, U.S. crude production rose to 9.55 million bpd last week, higher than before Harvey hit the Gulf Coast. With Brent futures commanding their highest premium over WTI in more than two years, U.S. crude has become increasingly competitive in foreign markets and exports hit a record 1.5 million bpd last week. That complicates efforts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major producers to push oil higher through output curbs, as every hike in price encourages more U.S. production. Source: investing.com (27/09/2017)

Investing.com - Oil prices edged lower on Thursday, after U.S. government data revealed a weekly climb in domestic production to the highest level in over two years. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures shed 20 cents, or around 0.4%, to $51.94 a barrel by 3:35AM ET (0735GMT), after rising 26 cents in the previous session to just below a five-month high. Meanwhile, Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., dipped 37 cents, or about 0.6%, to $57.20 a barrel, moving further away from a 26-month peak reached earlier this week. Oil prices ended higher on Wednesday, as investors digested weekly supply data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Crude oil inventories fell by 1.8 million barrels, according to the EIA, after posting hefty increases in each of the last three weeks, as refiners raised output following Hurricane Harvey last month. However, gasoline stockpiles were up 1.1 million barrels for the week, rising for the first time in four weeks. The report also showed that domestic crude production edged up by 0.4% to 9.55 million last week, the highest level since July 2015. Prices have been well-supported in recent weeks amid growing optimism that the crude market was well on its way towards rebalancing as data showed strong compliance from major producers with their supply cut agreement. In May, OPEC and non-OPEC members led by Russia agreed to extend production cuts of 1.8 million barrels per day for a period of nine months until March 2018 in a bid to reduce global oil inventories and support oil prices. Elsewhere on Nymex, gasoline futures were little changed at $1.602 a gallon, while heating oil slumped 1.5 cents, or 0.8%, to $1.824 a gallon. Natural gas futures held steady at $3.059 per million British thermal units, as traders looked ahead to weekly storage data due later in the global day. Source: investing.com (27/09/2017)

Natural Rubber (NR) was included in the 2017 list of critical raw matrials for the European Union. NR was the only biotic raw material to be included in the 27 raw materials that passed the assessment. The 2017 criticality assessment was carried out for 61 candidate materials (58 individual materials and 3 material groups for a total of 78 materials). The European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturers’ Association (ETRMA) has contributed to the process of revision of the Critical Raw Material List and welcomed the inclusion of NR in the list. Availability and unimpeded access to raw materials is one of the essential conditions for industry to operate and is therefore a key subject of work for ETRMA. The new Critical Raw Material List was adopted by the College of Commissioners on September 13, 2017 and communicated as part of the EU industrial strategy on September 18 as an essential element. The 2017 List is valid for three years. “This is an important step for our sector. Natural rubber will receive proper political attention and consequent support when dealing with issues related to the supply of natural rubber. It is our hope that the inclusion of natural rubber on the list will strengthen the competitiveness of the rubber industry, stimulate the production of natural rubber also beyond traditional producing countries, increase awareness of potential raw material supply risks and support the efforts of European Commission when negotiating trade agreements, in order to challenge potential trade distortion measures,” said Cinaralp, Secretary General, ETRMA. Source: rubber asia (28/09/2017)

Japanese firm Kuraray Co is to acquire the world’s largest activated carbon manufacturer Calgon Carbon Corporation for US$1.1 billion. The move is pending customary conditions including the approval of US company Calgon Carbon’s shareholders and the receipt of necessary regulatory approvals, and is expected to be sealed by the end of December 2017. Through the merger process, Kuraray will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Calgon Carbon for cash and Calgon Carbon will be delisted from NYSE and become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kuraray. “The Kuraray Group has been considering innovations to build a growth strategy for the future to expand business domains under the medium-term business plan “GS-STEP,” the Japanese firm said. “Concurrently, the Kuraray Group has identified three key strategic areas for business expansion, namely, “aqua and environment”, “energy”, and “optics and electronics”, all of which have significant potential for market growth,” it added. Kuraray is engaged in the carbon materials business with a focus on high performance activated carbon used in a wide range of applications in such fields as energy, water resource and air purification. Meanwhile, Calgon Carbon is a global leader in the activated carbon business with manufacturing facilities in 7 countries and distribution channels in 16 countries, providing innovative solutions in various applications and end markets. Following the acquisition, Kuraray said it will implement strategic initiatives, including business expansion by leveraging Calgon Carbon’s strong global platform, acceleration of technological innovations by combining R&D expertise, and cost reductions by optimising manufacturing facilities, through which it aims to grow its carbon materials business as one of its future core businesses. Source: rubberjournalasia (27/09/2017)