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Gold edged up on Friday as the dollar retreated and recession fears buoyed its safe-haven appeal, but looming interest rate hikes set the non-yielding asset on course for a weekly dip.

Spot gold rose is currently priced at $1,826.88 per ounce, while US gold futures are priced at $1,830.30.

Biden, G7 leaders to ban Russian gold imports: sources

US President Joe Biden and his G7 counterparts will agree on an import ban on new gold from Russia as they broaden sanctions against Moscow for its war against Ukraine, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Saturday.

The US has rallied the world in imposing swift and significant economic costs on Russia to deny President Vladimir Putin the revenue he needs to fund his war.

According to the source, the US Treasury Department will issue a determination to prohibit the import of new gold into the US on Tuesday, which will further isolate Russia from the global economy by preventing its participation in the gold market.

Soy, Grains up

US soybean futures rose on Friday, snapping a streak of four negative sessions, on a round of bargain buying and short-covering, traders said.

Corn also was higher, with bargain buying featured after the market fell 3.3 percent over the previous four sessions.

Gains in the new-crop contracts outpaced the nearby contract as traders unwound some bull spreads as they monitored crop development in the US Midwest.

Wheat futures fell, pressured by the ongoing harvest in winter wheat-growing areas of the US.

Chicago Board of Trade July soybean futures settled up 17-1/2 cents at $16.10-3/4 a bushel.

Strength in the crude oil market added support to soybeans.

CBOT July corn futures were up 3-1/2 cents at $7.50-1/4 a bushel. The December contract gained 18-1/2 cents to $6.74.

Stress from dryness could spread to about 40 percent of US corn and soy next week before showers curb driest areas to less than one-third of the belt, Commodity Weather Group said in a note.

CBOT July soft red winter wheat was down 13-1/2 cents at $9.23-3/4, and hard red winter wheat for July delivery was 12 cents lower at $9.93 a bushel.


Sri Lanka central bank holds rates steady

Policy makers are assessing effects of interest hikes this year on cooling price growth, amid an unprecedented economic crisis.

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has kept its key rates steady, a widely anticipated move as it awaits the effect of past hikes to trickle through the economy while a fall in global commodity prices is also expected to soothe domestic inflation.

The Standing Lending Facility rate stayed at 15.5 percent on Thursday, while the Standing Deposit Facility Rate remained at 14.5 percent.

Eleven out of 15 economists and analysts polled by the Reuters news agency had expected rates to remain unchanged.

The central bank has raised rates by a record 950 basis points so far this year to battle high inflation in Sri Lanka, which is wilting under a severe economic crisis.

A foreign exchange shortage has left the government struggling to pay for essential imports of fuel, fertilisers, food and medicine.

Inflation hit 60.8 percent year-on-year in July, and food costs expanded by a searing 90.9 percent, according to the latest government data.

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US and Taiwan announce formal bilateral trade talks

The US has announced that they will begin formal trade negotiations with Taiwan, weeks after a controversial visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The first round of talks are expected to begin in “early fall”, said the Office of US Trade Representative.

Their discussion will include talks on trade facilitation, digital trade and anti-corruption standards.

Relations between the US and China have been increasingly tense following Ms Pelosi’s visit.

The US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade was first unveiled in June, with both sides now saying they had “reached consensus on the negotiating mandate”.

“We plan to pursue an ambitious schedule…. that will help build a fairer, more prosperous and resilient 21st century economy,” said Deputy United States Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi in a statement.

Trade between the US and Taiwan was worth nearly $106bn (£88bn) in 2020.

The announcement comes as China launched its largest-ever military exercises around Taiwan after Ms Pelosi’s visit earlier in August.

Under the “One China policy”, the US recognises and has formal ties with China rather than the island of Taiwan but maintains a “robust unofficial” relationship with Taiwan, including continued arms sales to the island so that it can defend itself.

Beijing sees the self-governing island as its own, renegade territory that must be united with the mainland.

However, Taiwan is a self-ruled island that sees itself as distinct from the mainland.


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UK inflation exceeds 10% as bread and milk prices soar

Inflation in the United Kingdom hit a new 40-year high last month, rising above 10% for the first time since 1982 and piling further pain on households already struggling to pay their bills.

Annual consumer price inflation hit 10.1% in July, according to data published by the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday, up from 9.4% in June. Soaring food prices — up 12.7% since July 2021 — were the largest single contributor to the acceleration in inflation, the ONS said.
The headline inflation number was higher than predicted by a  poll of economists, and food inflation is now running at its highest level in 14 years.
“All the eleven food and non-alcoholic beverage classes made upward contributions to the change in the annual inflation rate, where prices overall rose this year but fell a year ago,” the ONS said.
The largest upward contributions came from bread and cereals, and from milk, cheese and eggs, with notable price increases in cheddar cheese and yogurts.
On a monthly basis, the consumer price index was up 0.6% in July, compared with no change a year ago. Higher gasoline and diesel prices, together with rising air fares, were also to blame, the ONS added.

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