OIL EASES, BUOYED BY HOPES FOR ROBUST DEMAND
Oil prices eased on Thursday, but held on to most of their gains in the previous session when the market was buoyed by a forecast for firmer global oil demand by the International Energy Agency. London Brent crude for November delivery was down 13 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $55.03 a barrel by 0247 GMT, after rising 1.6 percent on Wednesday. NYMEX crude for October delivery was down 9 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $49.21, after a 2.2 percent gain in the previous session.
Wednesday’s gains came despite US government data showing another big build in US crude inventories due to Hurricane Harvey.
COPPER SINKS TO THREE-WEEK LOW
Copper prices fell to three-week lows on Wednesday on profit-taking, rising stocks in London Metal Exchange warehouses, nervousness about demand in China and a higher dollar.
Benchmark copper ended down 1.9 percent at $6,543 a tone from an earlier low at $6,529. Prices are up around 18 percent so far this year, partly due to a speculative frenzy in July and August.
UK SUGAR PRODUCTION SET TO RISE TO 1.4M TONS
The owner of British Sugar has predicted a bumper beet crop for the 2017-18 campaign, with sugar production estimated to rise from 900,000 to 1.4 million tons. It is said that sugar production of 900,000 tons in the UK this year was abnormally low as a consequence of the reduction in the contracted growing area in order to reduce the high level of stocks brought forward from the prior year.
EU stocks will be at a low level at the end of this marketing year and, with the abolition of quota and export restrictions from October this year. The crop is developing well, following recent favorable rainfall and temperatures, and the latest sugar production estimate for 2017/18 is in excess of 1.4m tons.
East Anglia’s 2017-18 sugar campaign will begin later this month, with British Sugar’s factory at Bury St Edmunds due to open on September 18, followed by the Norfolk factories at Cantley and Wissington on September 25.
AUSTRALIAN NEWCASTLE COAL RATES HIT 2017-HIGH ON STRONG ASIAN DEMAND
Australian coal cargo prices for export from its Newcastle terminal hit a 2017-high of $103.5 per ton at their last close, driven by strong Asian demand.
The Newcastle free-on-board (FOB) contract is seen as a benchmark for Asian thermal coal prices. In particular, robust demand is coming from China, the world’s top consumer, where August imports rose to 25.27 million tones, their highest since December last year, reflecting increasing appetite from power companies as they build stocks ahead of winter.
Coal demand from northern Asia is generally pretty strong at the moment. There have also been some loading delays in Indonesia recently, so that’s further spurred demand for replacement cargoes from Australia.
CHICAGO WHEAT FUTURES SOAR
Chicago wheat futures rose for a third consecutive session on Thursday, with prices underpinned by short-covering and US government forecasts of slightly lower global supplies. Soybeans edged higher, although gains were checked by the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) outlook for record-sized North American production.
The Chicago Board of Trade most-active wheat contract had added 0.3 percent to $4.44-1/2 a bushel by 0322 GMT, having closed up 0.3 percent on Wednesday. Soybean prices were up 0.5 percent at $9.65 a bushel, after firming 1.1 percent in the last session. Corn gained 0.6 percent to $3.53-1/2 a bushel, having closed unchanged on Wednesday.
PALM OIL RISES IN EUROPEAN MARKET
Palm oil prices were higher on Europe’s vegetable oil market on Wednesday, buoyed by a rise in Malaysian futures to the highest level in more than six months. It is said the market was supported partly by gains in energy markets.
Palm oil can be used to make biodiesel as well as a wide range of other products including snack foods and soap. Crude palm oil offers were raised by $5 to $15 a ton, cif Rotterdam, with October trading at $750 a ton, up $10. Sellers also raised prices for EU rapeseed oil prices by 5 to 6 euros a ton although buyers declined to follow the market up and no trades were reported.
CBOT SOYBEANS HIGHER ON EXPORT DEMAND
Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures rose Wednesday, supported by fresh export demand and a round of technical buying and short-covering following a four-session slide in the November contract.
CBOT November soybeans settled up 10 cents at $9.60-1/2 per bushel. CBOT December soymeal ended up $5.40 at $305.40 per short ton, supported by strength in soybeans and talk of stepped-up commercial pricing in China and Europe. CBOT December soyoil bucked the firm trend, ending down 0.10 cent at 35.09 cents per pound, despite strength in soybeans and allied Malaysian palm oil. The US Department of Agriculture said private exporters sold 167,370 tones of US soybeans to Mexico for delivery in the 2017/18 marketing year that began Sept. 1. Rallies were capped by the USDA’s forecast on Tuesday of a record-large US soy harvest totaling 4.431 billion bushels, with a larger-than-expected average yield of 49.9 bushels per acre.
ARABICA COFFEE UP ON TECHNICAL BUYING
Arabica coffee futures on ICE reached a one-month high on Wednesday on technical buying, short covering and dry weather in top-grower Brazil’s growth regions. New York cocoa futures rose as technical structure improved when prices topped a key resistance level. December arabica coffee settled up 2.8 cents, or 2.1 percent, at $1.3785 per lb, after technical buying lifted prices to $1.3830, the highest level since August 15. November robusta coffee settled up $34, or 1.7 percent, at $2,003 per tone after hitting a one-week high at $2,006.