While the outlook for the manufacturing sector has improved slightly, the hiring outlook remains subdued, found Ficci’s latest quarterly survey on manufacturing for the first quarter of fiscal year 2018.

The survey assessed expectations of leading manufacturers in 11 major sectors. It said 73% of the participants said that they are unlikely to hire additional workforce in the next three months.

On a sequential basis, however, this proportion reflects a mild improvement over the previous quarter when 77% of the respondents were reportedly averse to hiring additional workforce.

Sector-wise, except for participants from the automobile and footwear industry, others are unlikely to opt for fresh hiring in the near term.

China’s steel, aluminium output at a record

China churned out record amounts of steel and aluminium in June as producers rushed to cash in on rallying prices in the wake of a drive by Beijing to crack down on output of low-grade metal.

That could fuel concerns that the world’s top steel producer will export more metal, stoking global oversupply and fanning tensions with the US after it accused the nation of flooding international markets with cheap aluminium and steel.

Chinese steel production in June rose 5.7% from the year before to a record 73.23 million tonnes (mt), surpassing April’s all-time high output of 72.78 mt, showed data from the National Statistics Bureau on Monday.

Aluminium production jumped 7.4% year-on-year to 2.93 mt, exceeding December’s record output of 2.89 mt. Reuters

Hedge funds are losing faith in precious metals

Gold is out of favour with money managers and it’s not the only precious metal facing investor exodus.

In the week ended 11 July, the net long position in gold fell to the lowest in 17 months, before the metal posted its first weekly gain in six weeks.

Silver is also losing its lustre in the eyes of hedge funds.

The position in gold’s cheaper cousin swung to a net-short from a net-long and is the most bearish since August 2015.

Money managers pushed their net-short position in platinum—used to curb vehicle emissions—to a record before data showed that European car sales slowed in June as Brexit-related concerns weighed on a peaking vehicle market. Bloomberg

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