OIL SLIPS ON OPEC DEAL UNCERTAINTY, RISING US FUEL INVENTORIES
Oil prices slipped to session lows on Wednesday in a volatile session buffeted by conflicting statements from oil ministers a day ahead of OPEC’s meeting in Vienna, as members debate the path for an extension of the group’s supply-cut agreement.
The market was less affected by a larger-than-expected 3.4 million-barrel drawdown in US crude inventories, although gasoline and distillate stocks rising more than anticipated weighed. “The rise in refined product inventories more than offsets the crude oil inventory drop, and there was a notable, if not spectacular, drop in implied gasoline demand on the week,” said John Kilduff, partner at energy hedge fund Again Capital LLC in New York.
Brent crude futures fell 49 cents to $63.12 a barrel as of 11:31 a.m. EST (1631 GMT), while US crude fell 50 cents to $57.48 a barrel.
CORN HITS CONTRACT LOW
Chicago December corn futures hit a contract low on Wednesday, weighed down by plentiful world supplies and lacklustre demand. Wheat rose for a second session on short-covering, although record global supplies kept a lid on the market.
Corn is coming under pressure as a bumper US harvest is adding to a global supply glut, while the weather in South America for the 2018 crop looks benign for the moment. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) late Monday said the US corn harvest was 95 percent complete. “Corn appears to be standing on the doorstep of a new season low,” said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
The Chicago Board of Trade December corn contract was down 0.1 percent at $3.36 a bushel by 0143 GMT after earlier in the session hitting a contract low of $3.35-1/2 a bushel. Wheat added 0.3 percent to $4.12 a bushel and soybeans gave up 0.1 percent to $9.92-1/2 a bushel.
The USDA said US corn stocks at the end of the 2018/19 marketing year, on Aug. 31, 2019, would grow to 2.607 billion bushels, from 2.487 billion at the end of 2017/18.
PALM UP FROM 4-MONTH LOW AS WEAKER RINGGIT SUPPORTS
Malaysian palm oil futures inched up on Tuesday, recovering from a four-month low hit in the previous session, as a weaker ringgit, which makes the tropical oil cheaper for foreign buyers and aids demand, lent support. The ringgit, the currency palm oil is traded in, was down 0.1 percent, not far one-year highs hit on Thursday.
The benchmark palm oil contract for February delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange rose 0.2 percent to 2,595 ringgit ($630.47) a tonne at the midday break, on track for a third session of gains in six. Traded volumes stood at 11,865 lots of 25 tonnes each at noon. Palm prices hit a low of 2,565 ringgit on Monday afternoon, its weakest level since July 25.
WHEAT PRICES RISE AFTER DEEP LOSSES, SOYBEANS EASE
Chicago wheat futures rose on Tuesday, with investors looking for bargains after prices slid almost 3 percent over the last two sessions on plentiful world supplies. Soybean prices edged lower after climbing on Monday to their highest since Nov. 9, buoyed by concerns that dry weather in Argentina could crimp supply. Record global wheat supplies are providing headwinds to US shipments. “We have had two pretty miserable days for wheat trading,” said Phin Ziebell, an agribusiness economist at National Australia Bank.
“Fundamentally nothing has changed, every year production is hitting record highs. We are not going to see higher prices in such an environment.”
The Chicago Board of Trade most-active wheat contract added 0.4 percent to $4.29-3/4 a bushel by 0311 GMT, soybeans eased 0.3 percent to $9.93 a bushel and corn gave up 0.4 percent to $3.37-1/2 a bushel.
NICKEL SLIDES ON CHINA JITTERS
Nickel prices fell 3 percent on Monday, under pressure from weakening demand for stainless steel in top metals consumer China, rising Chinese borrowing costs and Beijing’s regulatory crackdown on risky financing.
Chinese stocks fell sharply amid worries that rising borrowing costs will hit company profits and that fresh moves to reduce risks in the asset management industry could bring a sea change for banks and millions of small investors.
“Some reports coming out from China (indicate) stainless orders are weakening. Over the past couple of weeks, questions from clients have gone from what are the benefits of electric vehicles (for nickel) to how bad is China’s demand,” said Colin Hamilton, head of commodities research at BMO Capital Markets.
IVORY COAST COCOA ARRIVALS DOWN 12PC
Cocoa arrivals at ports in top grower Ivory Coast reached 219,506 tonnes by October 31 since the start of the season on Oct. 1, down from 249,027 tonnes in the same period of the previous season, official data showed on Monday.
The figure from the marketing board, the Coffee and Cocoa Council (CCC), is higher than the 194,000 tonnes of beans exporters estimated had been delivered to the ports of Abidjan and San Pedro at end of October.
COPPER TOPS $7,000, HELPED BY WEAKER DOLLAR AND SHRINKING SUPPLY
The price of copper climbed above $7,000 a tonne and towards a one-month high on Friday, helped by a weaker dollar and shrinking supplies, though concerns over demand from top consumer China capped gains.
The US dollar was at its lowest level since late September against a currency basket, still under pressure after the minutes from the latest US Federal Reserve policy meeting highlighted concern among some board members over persistently low inflation.
A weak US currency makes dollar-priced metals cheaper for non-US investors. Concern over China, which consumes nearly half the world’s copper, centred on fresh economic data this week and Thursday’s heavy equities sell-off, though its stock markets steadied on Friday.
Data this week showed China’s economy cooled in October, with industrial output, fixed-asset investment and retail sales missing expectations as the government extended a crackdown on debt risks and factory pollution.
Eugen Weinberg, head of commodities research at Commerzbank, says that risk-on sentiment has been a feature of the copper market for quite some time, but he expects a price correction before too long.