NEW YORK, Dec. 13, 2018 /PRNewswire/ –– Commodities fell as the global crude oil supply and demand balance shifted from undersupplied to oversupplied.
The Bloomberg Commodity Index Total Return decreased for the month, with 10 out of 22 constituents posting losses.
Credit Suisse Asset Management observed the following:
Energy declined 3.34% as Crude Oil and petroleum products were weighed down by increased exports from the OPEC-led production group and after the US provided waivers to some crude oil importers to continue purchasing supplies from Iran.
Precious Metals increased 0.23% after the US Federal Reserve may have indicated that it was closer to finishing hiking the Federal Funds Rate than previously anticipated.
Agriculture gained 0.43%, led higher by Soybeans, after constructive statements from the US administration on US-China relations increased expectations that US soybean exports to China will resume sooner than expected.
Industrial Metals rose 1.86% on improved market sentiment towards the ongoing US-China trade dispute and on rising prospects for new stimulus measures in China after the country’s manufacturing growth slowed in October.
Livestock was up 2.30%, led higher by Lean Hogs, after a growing number of reported African Swine Fever cases in Chinese feedlots heightened concerns of a large scale outbreak, which could increase demand expectations for US pork exports.
Nelson Louie, Global Head of Commodities for Credit Suisse Asset Management, said: “US natural gas inventories remained below the five-year average by month end. With limits to both storage at and transportation to key demand centers, the US has become more susceptible to supply shocks if the winter turns out to be colder than normal. Elsewhere, China began its second year of winter pollution policies to combat smog produced by metals smelters during the coal-intensive season. Forecasts of warmer temperatures and less rain in the region may worsen air pollution conditions and force the central government to be stricter with enforcement, potentially reducing metals production. However, how strictly the regional governments, with preferences to preserve the economy in their localities, will adhere to these policies during the trade conflict with the US remains a question. As Brazil’s rainy season begins in December, a particularly wet December may disrupt soybean crops that were planted earlier. With soybean inventories tight outside of the US, reduced production could incentivize China to resume imports from the US.”
Christopher Burton, Senior Portfolio Manager for the Credit Suisse Total Commodity Return Strategy, added: “OPEC and other countries decided to reduce production on December 6th to keep global crude oil inventories from growing. This may help crude oil prices to recover, and consequently, increase already-strong production growth in the United States. Labor, wage and consumer spending data continue to show strength in the US, supporting the high expectations for the Fed to raise the Federal Funds Rate at its next policy meeting on December 18th – 19th. There is much more uncertainty about the path of the rate in 2019. If trade conflicts between major powers subside, then global growth prospects may improve, and the Fed may end up raising rates multiple times in 2019. Even a modest acceleration in the global economy could potentially be beneficial to commodity prices. However, if the Fed is closer to finishing its tightening cycle, then it may imply that it is more concerned about the economic outlook ahead as the Fed seeks to moderate policy to soften any potential recessionary impacts. Either of these scenarios may also be favorable for commodities as commodities have historically out-performed traditional asset classes in late stage expansionary and early stage recessionary cycles.”