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Oil prices near 2019 highs

Oil prices on Friday hovered close to 2019 peaks reached the previous day, propped up by supply cuts led by producer club OPEC and by US sanctions against Iran and Venezuela.

Brent crude oil futures were at $67.82 per barrel at 0122 GMT, down 4 cents from their last close but within a dollar of the $68.69 per barrel 2019-high marked the day before.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were at $60 per barrel, virtually unchanged from their last settlement and not far off their 2019 peak of $60.39 touched on Thursday.

Prices have been propped up by supply cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-affiliated allies such as Russia, often referred to as ‘OPEC+’.

Despite a more than a quarter increase in crude prices this year, Canadian investment bank RBC Capital Markets said oil was “still below the fiscal breakeven level in a number of OPEC countries”, meaning that many producers have an interest in further propping up the market.

Beyond OPEC and Russia’s supply policy, oil prices have also been boosted by US sanctions on OPEC-members Iran and Venezuela.

Gold off 3-week highs as US data lifts dollar; palladium peaks

Gold prices dipped on Thursday in volatile trade after hitting three-week highs earlier in the session as a set of better than expected U.S data lifted the dollar, while palladium notched a record peak on supply concerns.

Spot gold slipped 0.6 percent to $1,304.90 per ounce as of 12:26 p.m. EDT (1626 GMT), having earlier hit $1,320.22, its highest level since Feb. 28. The metal was set to snap five consecutive sessions of gains.

However, U.S. gold futures were trading 0.2 percent higher at $1,304.40 per ounce.

The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, and other data showed a measure of factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region rebounding sharply this month after heavy falls.

Against a basket of currencies, the dollar index rose to 96.32, up 0.6 percent on the day, making dollar-denominated gold more expensive for investors of other currencies. A measure of stocks across the globe rose in a volatile session, led by gains on Wall Street.

India rice prices climb

Rice export prices in India rose to their highest level in more than seven months as the rupee appreciated, denting demand, while trading companies in Vietnam increased domestic buying to fulfil new overseas deals.

India’s 5 percent broken parboiled variety was quoted around $392-$395 per tonne this week, up from $386-$389 last week.

The Indian rupee was trading near its highest level in seven months, trimming returns from overseas sales for traders in the world’s largest rice exporter.

In Vietnam, rates for 5 percent broken rice were in line with last week’s $360 a tonne.

Vietnam, the world’s third largest rice exporter, has shipped more than 200,000 tonnes of rice to Malaysia so far this year, while clients from Iraq have placed orders for 120,000 tonnes, the trader said.

A source with the Ministry of Industry and Trade said Egypt was seeking to buy 20,000 tonnes of 10-12 percent broken rice from Vietnam for delivery in June.

Thai benchmark 5 percent broken rice prices were quoted at $390-$393, free on board Bangkok, on Thursday, up from $380-$385 last week.

Wheat eases after rally, US planting delays offer support

Chicago wheat futures slid on Thursday as the market took a breather after climbing to a three-week high in the last session when prices were underpinned by concerns over flood damage and planting delays in the US Plains amid recent adverse weather.

Soybeans rose for a second consecutive session on hopes for progress in US trade talks with China, while corn edged lower after closing largely unchanged in the previous session.

The most-active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade was down 0.5 percent at $4.62-1/2 a bushel by 1152 GMT, having closed 1.8 percent up on Wednesday when prices touched their highest since Feb. 28 at $4.65 a bushel.

Soybeans added 0.1 percent to $9.06-3/4 a bushel, while corn rose 0.3 percent to $3.72-3/4 a bushel.

Record floods have devastated a wide swath of the Farm Belt across Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and several other states, with more flooding expected. Early estimates of lost crops and livestock are approaching $1 billion in Nebraska alone.


Copper hits highest in 8 months as dovish fed hits dollar

Copper prices jumped to their highest in eight months on Thursday, propelled by a softer US dollar after dovish comments from the Federal Reserve and a fall in LME stocks.

The Fed on Wednesday abandoned projections for further interest rates rises this year, triggering a slide in the dollar and making dollar-priced commodities cheaper for holders of other currencies.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) rose 0.7 percent to $6,507 tonnes by 1222 GMT, after touching a session high of $6,555,50, its highest since July.

NY coffee may may slide

New York May coffee may slide into a range of $0.9295-$0.9375 per lb, as suggested by a projection analysis and a falling channel.

The range is formed by the 314.6 percent and the 300 percent projection levels of a downtrend from the Feb. 1 high of $1.1010.

Currently, the trend is developing within a falling channel, which suggests the target range as well. Resistance is at $0.9505, a break above which could lead to a gain to $0.9585.

Palm oil extends gains as output worries ease

Malaysian palm oil futures rose in first-half trade on Thursday, extending gains to their highest in more than two weeks, as easing concerns about high output and expectations of better export demand buoyed investor sentiment.

The benchmark third-month palm oil contract on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange was up 0.8 percent at 2,182 ringgit ($537.70) a tonne at the midday break, its highest since March 4. It was headed for a fifth straight sessions of gains.

Top producers Indonesia and Malaysia saw a bumper harvest last year, flushing the market with palm oil and dampening prices.

Plans by the European Union to phase out the use of palm oil in renewable transport fuel by 2030 also added to concerns over stockpile.

Corn rises as US midwest floods fuel spring planting concern

US corn futures jumped more than 1 percent on Thursday to the highest level in 2-1/2 weeks as concerns about delayed planting in the western U.S. Midwest sparked buying and fund short-covering.

Soybeans followed corn higher, although gains were restrained by lower-than-expected weekly export sales data and concerns about trade with top importer China.

Wheat prices slid on a firming dollar and as the market took a breather after climbing to a three-week high in the prior session.

The market’s focus remained on record flooding in the western Corn Belt, including Iowa and Nebraska, two of the top three corn producing states. Early estimates of lost crops and livestock are approaching $1 billion in Nebraska alone.

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