Energy prices were all lower last week. Natural gas prices, down the most, fell 8.4%, followed by gasoil and heating oil prices which fell 4.0% and 3.4%, respectively. WTI and Brent crude oil prices decreased 0.7% and 0.5%, respectively and gasoline prices lost 0.8%.
Grain prices were mixed. Chicago wheat prices increased 1.1% while Kansas wheat prices edged lower 0.1%. Corn prices rose 0.9% while soybean prices fell 1.7%.
Base metal prices were also mixed. Nickel prices fell 2.0% and aluminum prices moved lower 0.1%. Copper and zinc prices rose 1.1% and 2.4%, respectively.
Gold prices moved slightly higher, increasing 0.3%, while silver prices moved slightly lower, falling 0.2%. Platinum prices jumped higher, increasing 4.9% and breaking through $1,000/ounce.
Coffee prices fell 5.7%.
The Bloomberg Commodity Index fell 1.07%, pushed lower mainly by falling energy prices.
Total assets in commodity ETPs surged last week, increasing $1,575.1m, with gold and broad commodity ETPs responsible for the lion’s share of the increase. Gold ETP AUM increased by $1,185.7m, broad commodity ETP AUM increased by $370.5 and silver and precious metals (ex-gold and silver) increased by a combined $71.4m. Silver ETPs experienced the only significant outflows with AUM declining by $45.2m.
Stronger-than-expected U.S. economic reports (retail sales, housing starts and jobless claims), moderate inflation and good earning releases drove the S&P 500 to another record high. In addition, the official signing of the U.S.-China Phase One trade agreement and the removal of the designation of China as a currency manipulator along with a stronger-than-expected Chinese industrial production report, helped move U.S and global stock markets higher while strengthening the U.S. dollar. At week’s end the S&P 500 Index increased 1.6% to 3329.62, the 10-year U.S. Treasury rate was unchanged at 1.82% and the U.S. dollar (as measured by the DXY index) strengthened 0.3%.
WTI Crude oil prices, lower through Tuesday on reduced concerns of a U.S.-Iran conflict, fell almost 1% on Wednesday after the EIA reported a much-larger-than-expected build in U.S. gasoline and distillate inventories. Thursday’s strong retail sales report, Friday’s extremely strong U.S. housing starts report along with a stronger-than-expected Chinese industrial production report pushed oil prices 1.3% higher from Wednesday lows.
Overcoming concerns of continuing U.S.-China trade frictions despite the signing of the Phase One trade agreement, copper and zinc prices moved higher following stronger-than-expected economic reports both in the U.S. and China. Nickel prices fell on increased supply concerns.
Once again, gold prices moved higher despite reduced concerns of a U.S-Iran conflict. Subdued U.S. CPI and PPI reports, the start of President Trump’s impeachment trial and concerns of continued U.S.-China trade frictions despite the signing of the Phase One trade agreement supported gold prices. Platinum prices, perhaps following the meteoric rise in Palladium prices, increased almost 5% and broke through $1,000/ounce.
Wheat prices continued to move higher on the back of global supply shortage concerns and higher export prices. Corn prices jumped over 3.5% on Friday after falling over 2.5% on Thursday with vacillating sentiment regarding Chinese buying. Soybean prices continued to suffer from concerns of oversupply and uncertainty surrounding future Chinese purchases.
Coming up this week
- Light holiday-shortened data week.
- Existing home sales and Chicago Fed national activity index on Wednesday.
- Jobless claims and Conference Board leading economic index on Thursday.
- Markit manufacturing and services flash PMIs on Friday.
- EIA petroleum report on Thursday and Baker-Hughes rig count on Friday.