Carbon & Power Markets News

May 14 - UK wants global deal to stop financing coal projects 

Britain wants to broker a global agreement to stop the cross-border financing of coal projects when it hosts a major climate conference in November, a senior government minister said on Friday. Alok Sharma, the minister in charge of preparations for the United Nations COP26 summit in Glasgow, said significant action was needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a threshold scientists say can prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

May 14 - Coal industry sees relevance in tech embraced by Paris climate agreement 

The coal industry is betting it can survive the decarbonization of electricity and industry and keep fossil fuels in the mix by leaning on carbon-capture technology, the head of the World Coal Association told Reuters. Such methods are a key part of the Paris Agreement on climate change, said the organisation's chief, Michelle Manook, and will help keep coal relevant as governments and companies quicken efforts to cut emissions that are warming the planet and polluting the world's densely populated cities.

May 13 - EU confirms carbon market permit surplus grew in 2020 

The amount of permits in circulation in Europe's carbon market increased last year, as the COVID-19 pandemic caused emissions covered by the scheme to drop, the European Commission said on Wednesday. The carbon market had just shy of 1.579 billion permits in circulation at the end of 2020, the Commission said in a statement published after trading in the market closed for the day. 

May 13 - Chevron shuts Tamar gas field off Israeli coast as unrest flares 

Chevron has shut down the Tamar natural gas platform off the Israeli coast at the instruction of the country's energy ministry, the company said on Wednesday, following the wave of unrest in the region. The Israeli energy ministry said all of Israel's energy needs will continue to be met despite the shutting down of Tamar, the main source of natural gas for the local market.

May 12 - Too cold to handle? Race is on to pioneer shipping of hydrogen 

Hydrogen is touted as an inevitable green fuel of the future. Tell that to the people who'll have to ship it across the globe at hyper-cold temperatures close to those in outer space. Yet that is exactly what designers are attempting to do. In the biggest technological challenge for merchant shipping in decades, companies are beginning to develop a new generation of vessels that can deliver hydrogen to heavy industry, betting plants worldwide will convert to the fuel and propel the transition to a lower-carbon economy.

May 12 - Qatar pivots to LNG-hungry China in strategy shift 

Qatar is in talks to make Chinese firms partners in its liquefied natural gas expansion project, the world's largest, in a shift from the Gulf state's reliance on western majors for technology and global outreach, industry sources said. Since the early 1990s, Qatar has depended on international companies, including ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell and Total, to help it to build its LNG industry. In exchange, the Western majors received lucrative long-term supply contracts.

May 11 - Japanese utility Jera seeks to decarbonize with ammonia supply MOU
Japan's largest power generation company Jera has signed a memorandum of understanding with global ammonia producer Yara on low-carbon and renewable supplies of the gas to help the utility cut its CO2 emissions, the companies said May 11.

May 11 - Idemitsu to launch Japan's first commercial-scale sustainable aviation fuel supply in 2025
Idemitsu Kosan has become the latest Japanese company to pursue 2050 carbon neutrality, with plans that include starting the country's first commercial-scale sustainable aviation fuel supply in 2025.

May 11 - Global renewable energy grew at fastest pace in two decades in 2020 - IEA 

Renewable energy grew at its fastest pace in two decades last year, led by China, and will continue to grow in the next two years, a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) showed on Tuesday. New renewable energy capacity in 2020 rose by 45% to 280 gigawatts (GW) last year, the largest year-on-year increase since 1999, even though there were supply chain disruptions and construction delays due to the impact of COVID-19.

May 11 - SSE, Equinor plan new gas power plant with carbon capture in Scotland 

British utility SSE and Norwegian energy firm Equinor are jointly developing a new gas-fired power plant equipped with carbon capture technology (CCS) at Peterhead in Scotland, they said on Tuesday. The planned new 900-megawatt (MW) Peterhead CCS Power Station could capture up to 1.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) every year, 15% of the UK government's annual target of 10 million tonnes of CO2 capture by 2030, the companies said.

May 10 - Carbon emissions drop across Europe in 2020 - Eurostat 

Carbon emissions from use of fossil fuels fell across the European Union last year, the bloc's statistics office estimated on Friday, citing COVID-19 restrictions that shut down travel and factories across the region. CO2 emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels - such as oil, coal and natural gas - dropped 10% in 2020 compared the previous year, according to Eurostat.

May 10 - David Attenborough named COP26 People’s Advocate ahead of key climate summit 

Britain has tasked naturalist David Attenborough with inspiring action to tackle the issue of climate change as its People’s Advocate ahead of the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November in Glasgow, Scotland. COP26 could accelerate measures by the world's biggest polluters to tackle climate change, which activists, scientists and world leaders say could ultimately endanger the planet.

May 07 - UK offshore wind must consider how to integrate hydrogen: Siemens Energy


May 07 - EU carbon border tax could recognize non-carbon pricing policies: officials


May 07 - USDA Secretary Vilsack and other government officials unveil a report kicking off a decade-long effort to conserve and restore 30% of US lands and waters by 2030, called the country's first ever national conservation goal. The initiative comes in response to an executive order from the Biden administration directing federal agencies to collaborate to fight climate change, and will lean on "locally led and voluntary" efforts, according to officials. Vilsack said the campaign seeks to boost, incentivize and reward voluntary conservation efforts by US farmers and ranchers, who are bearing the brunt of climate change.

May 07 - U.N. methane report ups pressure on EU to tackle the planet-warming gas 

The world must urgently cut its emissions of methane to rein in climate change, a U.N. report said Thursday, raising pressure on European Union policymakers who are drafting the bloc's first methane regulations targeting fossil fuels. Because methane is a particularly potent greenhouse gas, tackling emissions offers the speediest option for curbing climate change, according to the United Nations' Global Methane Assessment, the details of which were reported by Reuters last week. 

May 07 - Texas freeze delivers billions in profits to gas and power sellers 

Natural gas suppliers, pipeline companies and banks that trade commodities have emerged as the biggest market winners from February's U.S. winter blast that roiled gas and power markets, according to more than two dozen interviews and quarterly earnings reports. The deep freeze caught Texas's utilities off-guard, killed more than 100 people and left 4.5 million without power. Demand for heat pushed wholesale power costs to 400 times the usual amount and propelled natural gas prices to record highs, forcing utilities and consumers to pay exorbitant bills.

May 06 - Multiple hydrogen production pathways needed to meet midcentury carbon goal
Blue and green hydrogen will both become critical to a net-zero carbon future, helping the global energy industry to meet emissions reductions targets across its entire value chain, a panel of industry experts said from the SP Global Platts 2nd Annual Hydrogen Markets Americas Conference.

May 06 - Siemens Energy, Masdar to build pilot UAE hydrogen plant by 2022, with focus on SAF
Siemens Energy and UAE-based clean energy firm Masdar expect a hydrogen demonstrator plant to be built by 2022 in the country's capital and to focus on showcasing sustainable aviation fuel as part of efforts to create a green hydrogen industry in OPEC's third-biggest producer.

May 06 - EU carbon prices of over Eur50/mt spur CCS interest
Europe leads in CCUS development: Aker Carbon Capture. Oil and gas companies have key CCS role: OGCI. EU carbon futures closed Eur49.45/mt May 5.

May 06 - Ardmore invests $6 million in JV to deliver onboard hydrogen generation system
"We are still putting ink on paper but are hoping to close in a couple of weeks," Gurnee said.

May 06 - Port of Rotterdam, Thyssenkrupp, HKM explore hydrogen imports for green steel
Vast imports of hydrogen are necessary if Europe and Germany want to reduce CO2 emissions and become climate-neutral by 2050, the companies said.

May 06 - Germany sets tougher CO2 emission reduction targets after top court ruling 

Germany's conservative-led government announced more ambitious plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions on Wednesday, prodded by a constitutional court ruling and with an eye to the opposition Greens' lead in polls ahead of elections in September. The court said last week the government had failed to set out how it would bring carbon emissions down beyond 2030 after a group of plaintiffs, including North Sea islanders fearing inundation from climate change - challenged the 2019 climate law as unfit for purpose.

May 06 - Italy promises "brutal" cuts to red tape delaying renewable energy projects 

Italy is set to introduce a series of measures to cut red tape to simplify the permissioning process for new renewable energy projects, Ecology Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani said on Wednesday. Italy's byzantine authorisation process has slowed down the rollout of new green energy schemes, jeopardising access to EU recovery funds and the achievement of climate targets.

May 05 - Braskem to evaluate results of first carbon-neutral naphtha trade
Carbons offsets are currently just one avenue for the Brazilian company, as it looks to reduce its carbon footprint.

May 05 - H2 Green signs UK hydrogen fueling station supply agreement, eyes diesel displacement
Renewable hydrogen company H2 Green has signed a non-binding strategic agreement to supply green hydrogen to refueling company Element Two in the UK, it said in a statement May 5, as it eyes decentralized supply and storage that could displace diesel in heavy transport.

May 05 - EU carbon price hits record 50 euros per tonne on route to climate target 

The European Union carbon price hit a record high of above 50 euros per tonne on Tuesday, a key milestone in what analysts say is likely a long-term climb towards the price levels needed to trigger investments in innovative clean technologies. The EU carbon market is the bloc's main tool for curbing greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, forcing power plants, industry and airlines running flights within Europe to buy permits when they pollute.

May 05 - Cheniere and Shell deliver carbon-neutral U.S. LNG to Europe 

U.S. liquefied natural gas company Cheniere Energy Inc said Tuesday it supplied a carbon neutral cargo to Royal Dutch Shell as part of a long-term agreement, joining a list of sellers neutralizing emissions as more buyers commit to environmental targets. "I think offering climate solutions to our customers is going to be a bigger and bigger portion of our business," Cheniere Chief Executive Jack Fusco said during the company's first quarter earnings call.

May 04 - World's largest green hydrogen project eyes Australian ammonia exports
26-GW solar, wind project to supply H2 at $2/kg. Green ammonia exports expected from 2027. Sales to target utilities, industry, shipping.

May 04 - Granholm eyes tough path to slash emissions in half by 2030 without assist from Congress
" So before any oil companies start to go bankrupt, you have got to diversify ", Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said April 26.

May 04 - Norway's Nel Q1 hydrogen electrolyzer sales hit by pandemic
Norwegian hydrogen electrolyzer producer Nel suffered a loss its first-quarter sales as the coronavirus pandemic slowed business and delayed the closing of orders, the company said May 4.

May 04 - Failure of EDF reform would hit its share of the French power market – CEO 

Energy group EDF's share of the French power market is at risk of plummeting if a restructuring plan to improve its financing situation does not go ahead, its chief executive said in a letter to unions. Under the terms of the plan, which faces strong opposition from unions who fear it could lead to job cuts, France hopes to place state-run EDF's debt-laden and capital-hungry nuclear business into a holding company that would be fully state owned. 

May 04 - LNG cargoes diverted from India as COVID crisis dampens demand - sources 

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes are being diverted away from ports in India as surging coronavirus cases there hamper domestic gas demand, trade and shipping sources said on Monday. Six LNG tankers diverted away from India since April 20, changing the destination to northeast Asia, Europe and Kuwait instead, said Rebecca Chia, an analyst with data intelligence firm Kpler.

May 03 - BP seeking to build wind farms off Scotland - The Times 

BP Plc is preparing to bid for the rights to build wind farms off Scotland, The Times reported early on Monday. BP Chief Executive Officer Bernard Looney told The Times the firm was looking at bidding in the forthcoming Crown Estate Scotland auction to lease the seabed off Scotland for offshore wind projects.

May 03 - In energy-reliant Canada, banks and investors face dilemma in meeting emissions target 

Canadian banks' commitments to "net-zero financed emissions" by 2050 have drawn doubts from many investors, given the lack of a defined goal, details and their continued support for oil and gas companies, even if partially aimed at helping them transition to alternatives. But their growing funding for green projects also presents a dilemma for shareholders who might want to divest.

Apr 30 - Credit Suisse investors call for tougher coal finance policy - letter 

Credit Suisse investors managing $2.5 trillion have called for the bank to take a tougher stance on coal financing, amid concern its current policies are too lax, a letter seen by Reuters showed. The role of lenders in financing the activities of companies responsible for the major share of greenhouse gas emissions has increasingly been the focus of investors and policymakers, keen to accelerate climate action.

Apr 30 - BHP’s Mt. Arthur bind illustrates mining’s coal dilemma 

As BHP Group looks at options to spin off or sell its thermal coal assets, the miner is facing pressure from climate conscious investors who want divergent paths and that's even before getting to the tough task of finding a buyer. The world’s largest miner has been in talks with stakeholders on its plans to divest the Mt. Arthur thermal coal mine, its stake in a steel-making coal project with Japan's Mitsui and a stake in a thermal coal mine in Colombia.

Apr 29 - Shell climate plan should be opposed at AGM - funds group 

Royal Dutch Shell’s climate change strategy does not go far enough and investors should advise against it at an upcoming meeting, a UK pension funds group said on Wednesday. Shell has asked investors to vote on its energy transition strategy, although the vote is advisory only. Its plans call for reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050 supported by buyers of its fossil fuels investing in carbon offsets from nature-based or carbon capture projects.

Apr 29 - 13 U.S. refineries exceeded emissions limits for cancer-causing benzene in 2020 - report 

Thirteen U.S. oil refineries released the cancer-causing chemical benzene in concentrations that exceeded federal limits last year, according to government data published by the green group Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) on Wednesday. The study is based on the second full year of data reported by U.S. refineries since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2015 began requiring continuous monitoring of air pollutants around plants to protect nearby communities, many of which are disproportionately poor, Black and Hispanic.

Apr 28 - Financial firms should disclose emissions from activities they fund, group says 

The world's banks, asset managers and insurers should provide more information to investors about the greenhouse gas emissions from the activities they finance, a group that tracks emissions data said on Wednesday. CDP, which maintains a system used by hundreds of companies, cities, states and regions to voluntarily disclose their emissions data, published a report on Wednesday that emphasised the need for better data from finance companies.

Apr 28 - He returned to Iran to help save its environment. He had to flee. 

Iranian scientist Kaveh Madani's career was in full bloom as he settled into his seat in early 2018 for a flight home from Bangkok to Tehran. Though raised in the Iranian capital, the civil engineer had left the country at 22 to continue his studies abroad, earning renown for his research into how climate change affects water supplies.

Apr 27 - Net zero by 2050 needs six-fold increase in clean H2 consumption: report
A net-zero greenhouse gas emissions global economy will need 500 million to 800 million mt of clean hydrogen consumption a year by 2050, five to seven times greater than today's market, the Energy Transitions Commission said in a report published April 27.

Apr 27 - Hydrogen 'no silver bullet' for decarbonization: panelists
Global market development already emerging for hydrogen. Green hydrogen costs expected to fall over next decade.

Apr 27 - Total declares force majeure on Mozambique LNG after insurgent attacks 

French energy group Total declared force majeure on its $20 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Mozambique and confirmed it had withdrawn all staff from the construction site following insurgent attacks last month. Dozens of civilians were killed in the Islamic State-linked attacks in the coastal Mozambique town of Palma, near gas projects that are worth $60 billion and are aimed at transforming the East African nation's economy. 

Apr 27 - From coal and steel to carbon-free and digital: the EU reaches turning point 

Years from now, 2021 may be seen as the moment the European Union took a leap forward from its post-World War Two birth as a coal and steel bloc to a modern green and digital economy. It could also be one of the biggest missed opportunities in the 70-year history of EU integration, which has always tended to lurch forward in the aftermath of shocks ranging from the end of the Cold War to the current coronavirus pandemic.

Apr 26 - Biden urges world to make good on climate commitments 

U.S. President Joe Biden called on nations to work together on a transition to clean energy on Friday, the second and final day of a climate summit he hosted to rally world ambition to reduce global warming. "Nations that work together to invest in a cleaner economy will reap the rewards for their citizens," the Democratic president, who took office in January, told the virtual summit.

Apr 26 - Can the Saudis' oil money help him save the planet? 

Spanish biologist Carlos Duarte had been at a Saudi royal palace until three o'clock in the morning, waiting for the country's most powerful man. Finally in his hotel room, Duarte awoke hours later and noticed an alert on his smartphone screen. It was the palace: He and the other scientists and officials at the meeting on sustainable development should return immediately. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was ready for them.

Apr 23 - Biden's climate summit zeroes in on technology to help fight global warming 

U.S. President Joe Biden's climate summit will turn to the issue of technology on Friday, featuring remarks from entrepreneurs Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg, after Thursday's Earth Day kickoff sought to rally world ambition to reduce global warming. Biden called the two-day meeting with dozens of heads-of-state to declare the United States back at the climate leadership table after his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, withdrew from the Paris agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Apr 23 - This Hot Lister advises Bill Gates on climate change 

A yellow skiff darted across a lagoon along Australia's northeast coast, throttling down as it approached a shallow coral reef. Climate scientist Ken Caldeira piloted the craft while a younger colleague, oceanographer Manoela Romanó de Orte, sat on the bow holding a syringe filled with red dye. Romanó de Orte injected the dye into the water, then recorded the coordinates of the spot as Caldeira maneuvered away from the expanding scarlet cloud. That bloom would soon help them gauge how well this part of the Great Barrier Reef is recovering from a series of climate-change shocks.

Apr 22 - World is still waiting for U.S. climate target on eve of Biden summit 

The White House is still putting the finishing touches on its plan to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, ahead of a summit this week with world leaders including Russia's Vladimir Putin and China's Xi Jinping. President Joe Biden's administration has been pressing other countries to make ambitious targets to reduce their emissions but has yet to unveil its own plan. Before the summit begins on Thursday, the White House is expected to announce a target to cut emissions roughly 50% by 2030 compared with 2005 levels.

Apr 22 - Men dominate climate science. She made it to the top - her way. 

Climate scientist Corinne Le Quéré sequestered herself in her home office last March. Outside, the streets were empty as Britain retreated from the coronavirus pandemic. The world had come to a halt. In the eerie stillness, she wanted to know: What did all this mean for emissions of carbon dioxide – and for human-driven climate change itself?

Apr 21 - EU countries split over whether to delay green investment rules 

European Union countries are divided over whether to delay landmark green investment regulations, with eight heads of government on Tuesday urging Brussels to push back the rules, a day before it is due to publish them. The European Commission's rules, known as its "sustainable finance taxonomy," include a list of economic activities and the criteria they must meet to be labelled as green investments in the EU from next year.

Apr 21 - Ahead of Biden's climate summit, lawmakers relaunch 'Green New Deal' 

Democratic U.S. lawmakers, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey, on Tuesday reintroduced their "Green New Deal" resolution, their set of aggressive climate goals intended to transform the U.S. economy. Initially introduced in 2019, the non-binding resolution seeks to eliminate U.S. greenhouse gas emissions within a decade and transition the economy away from fossil fuels.

Apr 20 - Equinor asks shareholders to reject intermediate Scope 3 emissions targets 

Equinor urged its shareholders on Monday to reject a proposal by an activist group to set intermediate targets for reducing emissions from the use of its energy products. The majority state-owned company has pledged to boost investment in renewables and has set a long-term goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, including from the use of its products by customers, known as Scope 3 emissions.

Apr 20 - Exxon floats $100 bln carbon storage project requiring public, private financing 

Exxon Mobil on Monday floated a proposal for a public-private carbon storage project that would collect planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions from U.S. petrochemical plants and bury them in deep under the Gulf of Mexico. The plan would require "$100 billion or more" from companies and government agencies to store 50 million metric tons of CO2 by 2030, with capacity potentially doubling by 2040, Joe Blommaert, president of Exxon's Low Carbon Solutions business, said in an interview.

Apr 19 - EU carbon market emissions fell 13.3% in 2020 – EU Commission 

Greenhouse gas emissions regulated under Europe's carbon market fell by 13.3% last year, with those from the airlines sector down by almost two-thirds, the European Commission said late on Thursday. Around 40% of the European Union's output of greenhouse gases is regulated by the Emissions Trading System (ETS), the bloc's flagship policy for tackling global warming which charges companies for the right to emit carbon dioxide (CO2). 

Apr 19 - India may build new coal plants due to low cost despite climate change 

India may build new coal-fired power plants as they generate the cheapest power, according to a draft electricity policy document seen by Reuters, despite growing calls from environmentalists to deter use of coal. Coal's contribution to electricity generation in India fell for the second straight year in 2020, marking a departure from decades of growth in coal-fired power.

Apr 16 - EU drafts plan to delay decision on labelling gas a 'green' investment 

The European Union plans to delay a decision on whether to label natural gas power plants as a sustainable investment in landmark green finance regulations due to be published next week, according to a draft document seen by Reuters. The European Commission is due to publish on April 21 the first section of its "sustainable finance taxonomy," a long list of economic activities plus the specific rules they must meet to be labelled as green investments in the EU.

Apr 16 - Carbon tax could help Asian countries hit climate targets - IMF 

A carbon price that starts low and rises steadily could help Asian countries reach their targets under the Paris climate accord over the next decade, the head of the International Monetary Fund said on Thursday, citing new IMF research. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva told an event hosted by the People's Bank of China that there was a growing consensus that carbon pricing was the most efficient and cost-effective way to curbing emissions.

Apr 15 - Big business seeks unified, market-based approaches ahead of climate summit 

Corporate executives and investors say they want world leaders at next week's climate summit to embrace a unified and market-based approach to slashing their carbon emissions. The request reflects the business world's growing acceptance that the world needs to sharply reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, as well as its fear that doing so too quickly could lead governments to set heavy-handed or fragmented rules that choke international trade and hurt profits.

Apr 15 - Uniper may turn Wilhelmshaven coal plant site into hydrogen hub 

German utility Uniper is studying the conversion of its coal-fired power plant site at Wilhelmshaven on Germany's North Sea coast into an import and electrolysis hub to tap into emerging demand for "green" hydrogen. Policymakers in Europe aim to produce green hydrogen from renewable power through electrolysis, to replace coal and gas-based hydrogen and open up new areas of usage to substitute oil products across manufacturing industries, heating and transport.

Apr 14 - Europe could operate 40,000 km of hydrogen pipelines by 2040 - operators 

Europe could devote 40,000 km (24,800 miles) of natural gas pipelines to hydrogen by 2040 once production and imports of the alternative fuel take off, transmission systems operators (TSOs) said on Tuesday. The hypothetical European hydrogen backbone scenario envisages how elements of 2020 "green" hydrogen strategies at European Union and national level will fit together, said speakers during an industry webcast involving 23 grid operators from 21 countries.

Apr 14 - European CEOs, lawmakers add to pressure on Biden to hike climate target 

European politicians, companies and trade unions on Tuesday called on the United States to slash its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% this decade, adding to mounting pressure on the Biden administration ahead of a climate summit next week. The world's biggest economy is expected to unveil its emissions-cutting target at a U.S.-hosted virtual gathering of global leaders on April 22 - a move that could spur other large emitters to make the steep emissions cuts needed to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Apr 13 - ScottishPower seeks permit for 20 MW green hydrogen plant in Glasgow 

ScottishPower, a subsidiary of Spanish utility Iberdrola, has submitted a planning application for a 20 megawatt (MW) green hydrogen plant, powered by a combined solar and battery unit near Glasgow, it said on Monday. It will be the UK's biggest such unit to date and able to produce up to 8 tonnes of hydrogen per day, roughly equivalent to fuelling over 550 buses to travel from Glasgow to Edinburgh and back again each day, ScottishPower said. 

Apr 13 - Japan to release contaminated Fukushima water into sea after treatment 

Japan will release more than 1 million tonnes of contaminated water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear station into the sea, the government said on Tuesday, a move opposed by neighbours including China, which called it "extremely irresponsible." The first release of water will take place in about two years, giving plant operator Tokyo Electric Power time to begin filtering the water to remove harmful isotopes, build infrastructure and acquire regulatory approval.

Apr 09  - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ)

- Soybean futures are down following the USDA's release of its monthly Wasde report, with CBOT most active futures down 0.4%. Grains traders are reacting to the USDA not changing its outlook to US soybean ending inventories at 120M bushels. "Soybean ending stocks stayed the same as the USDA reduces the residual to account for higher demand," Craig Turner of Daniels Trading says. "This implies last year's crop may have been understated." Meanwhile, Brazilian soybean production is seen as being higher than expected by analysts. Before the report's release this afternoon, soybean futures were trading 0.1% lower.

- US corn inventories were forecast lower by the USDA in its latest WASDE report released this afternoon -- estimating ending stocks at 1.35B bushels, down from a projection of 1.5B bushels last month. The cut was roughly what was anticipated by analysts surveyed by WSJ, which caused momentum in grains futures to grind to a halt. "The report was fairly neutral in the corn," says Charlie Sernatinger of ED&F Man Capital. Corn futures were trading 0.9% higher before the WASDE's release, but are now trading up 0.5%.

- Many parts of the US such as Texas that suffered the coldest winter temperatures in decades are now seeing a weeks-long streak of near-perfect weather, a change embraced by regular people but a downer for natural-gas prices, which hit a 10-week-low of $2.46/mmBtu Tuesday. "Weather has not been kind to the gas market recently with degree days [measurements of energy demand for heating/cooling] significantly lagging norms for the past 2 weeks and 4 of the past 5," Houston-based Tudor Pickering says. "Next week's print looks even worse." Excluding the weather, though, it says natural gas fundamentals remain strong, pointing to solid LNG exports and better-than-expected gas shipments to Mexico.

- Livestock futures are trading lower ahead of the USDA's Wasde report due at noon eastern time. Live-cattle futures are down 0.8%, while lean-hog futures fall 0.2%. For lean hogs, the contract appears to be taking some of its cues from China's hog prices, which shed 3.7% in trading yesterday. "At these current prices, a lot of small or mid-sized operations aren't restocking," Darin Friedrichs of StoneX says. "I'm pessimistic at the moment. Hog prices have fallen 20 consecutive days, and now the selloff is accelerating. That seems more like panic selling, rather than added supplies from increased capacity."

- Data last week showed the Baker Hughes oil rig count, which measures new drilling activity in the US, jumped by a surprisingly strong 13 rigs, and analysts at Ritterbusch & Associates say that suggests today's report due at 1 pm ET is worth paying attention to. "While we hadn't viewed the weekly rig counts as a significant price driver through most of this year, the upside acceleration of the past few weeks increases the likelihood that this figure could offer some bearish impact today, at least enough to preclude WTI from pushing above the $60 mark that we still view as a price magnet over the near-term period."

- Natural gas prices turn a bit higher, up 0.4% at $2.533/mmBtu but are on course for a nearly 4% weekly decline as investors worry about mild weather and the potential for rising output. Prices fell to a 10-week-closing low of $2.456/mmBtu, and while they've managed to climb away from those lows, the market is giving investors few hopes for any sudden spike in prices. A storage deficit that built up in February has already almost vanished, with total storage now just 1% below the five-year average. Baker Hughes rig-count data at 1 pm ET could be bearish if it shows drilling activity starting to take off.

- US benchmark oil prices are little changed, down 0.1% at $59.52 a barrel as they head for a weekly decline of a little less than $2. This week's decline would follow a moderate increase last week, and WTI crude has generally been in a holding pattern near $60 for about four weeks. "While the world becomes more dangerous, the oil market gets quiet," says Phil Flynn at Price Futures in Chicago. "Tensions between Russia and Ukraine as well as the Israeli-Iranian shadow war, is creating a situation where geopolitical risk factors are rising that could at some point disrupt supply or at the very least derail talks to get Iran to rejoin the 2015 nuclear accord."

- Grain futures climb ahead of the USDA's noon release of the monthly WASDE report. "Typically trade is more interested in planting data than balance sheets at this time of year but given the tight carryout projections, all reports are garnering attention this year," says Karl Setzer of AgriVisor. Analysts surveyed by WSJ forecast that ending stocks of US corn and soybeans are expected to drop. In pre-market trading, corn futures are up 0.7%, soybeans are up 0.2%, and wheat climbs 0.9%.

- Unigestion says its allocations are driven by fundamental considerations and the asset manager is positive on assets linked to growth and inflation and negative on duration. This implies a moderately long exposure to equities and credit, with a preference for cyclical and value indices, as well as to cyclical commodities and currencies including the Indian rupee, Australian dollar and Norwegian krone, Unigestion says. Althogh valuations of growth assets are expensive, inflation assets have repriced a reflation scenario, it says. Unigestion considers cyclical commodities are cheap. However, market sentiment could become volatile as rising yields could shake duration-sensitive assets, it says.

- Palm oil prices ended the Asian trading session lower, as the commodity continued to weaken from a multiday rally earlier in the week. The edible oil's slight gains in early morning trade reversed as crude prices fell in the Asian afternoon. The two oils usually trade in tandem. The benchmark contract for June delivery fell MYR23 to MYR3,768.00 a ton on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange.

- Gold prices edge lower as the dollar and bond yields gain. Comex gold futures are down 0.8% at $1,745 a troy ounce. Despite coming under pressure from climbing yields this year, gold has "tested and respected" key support levels, says Fitch Solutions, suggesting gold could hold around current levels. Rising inflation would likely support gold in the short term, but the medium term outlook is more clouded as higher inflation is likely to lead yields to rise even further, the company says. Gold should average $1,780 an ounce this year, Fitch Solutions says, on a par with last year's levels.

- The FTSE 100 drops 0.2%, or 15 points to 6927 as losses for oil and mining stocks and TUI offset gains for house-builders. Anglo American, Glencore, Polymetal International and Fresnillo all fall as precious and base-metal prices retreat, while BP and Royal Dutch Shell drop as the price of a barrel of Brent crude declines 0.5% to $62.88. TUI falls 7% after the European tour operator said it's raising up to 400 million euros ($476.7 million) in a bond offer. Still, house-builders advance after mortgage lender Halifax said U.K. house prices in March rose 1.1% versus February, though they increased by just 0.3% between January and March compared with October-December. Persimmon is the sector's top riser, up 1%.

Apr 07  - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Gold declines in early Asia trade as investors weigh the resurgence of Covid breakouts against progress in vaccine rollouts. The re-imposing of strict lockdowns in some developed nations could trigger large economies to announce further stimulus in the following months, which may then weaken USD and help support gold, Care Ratings says. Expectations of higher inflation could also be a positive for the precious metal, it says. Spot gold is 0.2% lower at $1,740.17/oz.

- Australian consumer confidence suffered a large fall of 4.6 points last week as renewed lockdowns and the end of the government's wage subsidy scheme weighed on sentiment, according to ANZ Roy Morgan. ANZ Senior Economist Catherine Birch says that new COVID-19 cases, a snap Brisbane lockdown and the end of the wage subsidy scheme combined to drag consumer confidence down. Queensland recorded the sharpest drop of 11.2 points.

- Analysts surveyed by Dow Jones expect US ethanol production to rise in this week's report from the EIA, with production forecast to rise as high as 1.03M barrels a day for the week ended Friday. Should production rise this high, it'd be the highest level for US ethanol production seen since early March 2020, before the Covid-19 pandemic set in and disrupted gasoline consumption in the US. The EIA reported last week that production for the week ended March 26 totaled 965,000 barrels a day. Meanwhile, analysts also forecast that US stockpiles are expected to fall, to as low as 20.7M barrels. This would be 400,000 barrels lower than last week, and the lowest stocks have been since early November.

Apr 05 - Dollar Gets Help From Fears Of Inflation, Higher Yields.
- US economic recovery boosts the dollar, Silicon Valley Bank's Minh Trang tells WSJ, as markets expect fast growth to stoke inflation, potentially leading the Fed to tighten monetary policy. That, in turn, would make returns from dollar-denominated assets more attractive than those from investment in nations stuck with stimulative, near-zero interest rates, Trang says. "Yields have been going up for months on anticipation that the economy would accelerate going into the summer months on the back of the fact that vaccination rates in the US are very strong." Strong job creation in March reinforces the trend, Trang says.

Apr 05 - Reuters Technical Analysis Q2 Outlook 2021 (Wang Tao)

- Brent and WTI may be rangebound in the second quarter. They are steady on long-term uptrend.
- Palm oil may experience shallow correction before rising.
- Gold looks bullish.
- Copper and aluminium may retrace further.
- Soybeans are expected to keep rising while corn and wheat may correct more.
- Coffee will resume uptrend after correction.
- Cocoa will head south.
- Dollar index may revisit Sept 2020 high.

To read the full report, click below.

http://share.refinitiv.com/assets/newsletters/Adhoc/TechnicalAnalysis_Q2_2021.pdf

Apr 04 - US economic recovery boosts the dollar, Silicon Valley Bank's Minh Trang tells WSJ, as markets expect fast growth to stoke inflation, potentially leading the Fed to tighten monetary policy. That, in turn, would make returns from dollar-denominated assets more attractive than those from investment in nations stuck with stimulative, near-zero interest rates, Trang says. "Yields have been going up for months on anticipation that the economy would accelerate going into the summer months on the back of the fact that vaccination rates in the US are very strong." Strong job creation in March reinforces the trend, Trang says.

Mar 31 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices rose on the eve of meeting between OPEC and its allies, as investors were betting the producers would largely agree to extend their supply curbs into May.
- Gold prices fell to their lowest in more than three weeks as elevated U.S. Treasury yields and a rising dollar kept the metal on track for its biggest quarterly drop in over four years.
- London copper prices were set for their first monthly decline in a year as a firm U.S. dollar and a global surge in coronavirus infections stoked caution among traders.
- Chicago soybean futures edged higher but the market was poised for its first monthly decline since mid-2020 on expectations of higher U.S. planting and improved weather in South America.
- Arabica coffee fell to a 1-1/2 month low on ICE on Tuesday, while cocoa futures also plunged, with both commodities showing weak technical signs amid improving weather conditions in the main producing countries.
- Malaysian palm oil futures fell, tracking losses in rival oils, with traders awaiting key soy planting reports from the United States, though firm palm oil exports data softened the blow.

- Gold edges lower ahead of a speech from President Biden in which he is expected to lay out details of a multi-trillion dollar spending plan. Comex futures fall 0.1% to $1,684 a troy ounce. The precious metal remains challenged by a brightening outlook for the U.S. economy and as vaccination campaigns continue apace. Gold's weakness is driven by "high risk appetite and the fact that market participants apparently feel little need for security," says Commerzbank. The details of Biden's address later in the day will be keenly watched. The added boost to the economy from yet more stimulus could weaken the case for gold further. "For as long as the current market environment remains unchanged, we believe that gold will find it hard to regain any lost ground," says Commerzbank.

- President Biden pledged to help Latinos, highlighting portions of his economic recovery plan that seek to help small businesses and reach neighborhoods that have been historically underserved. Biden, speaking at the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's annual legislative summit, called the US Latino market a pillar of the economy and said Latino-owned businesses are the "heart and soul of so many main streets across the country." When it comes to the Latino community, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said at the summit, "there's such a frustrating irony in the historic data." The community, she said, outperforms in the creation of new businesses but lags in access to capital to create and grow those businesses. "My administration, I promise you, is going to stand with you," Mr. Biden said.

- Americans are growing more concerned about the national debt, according to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation's monthly Fiscal Confidence Index. That index dropped five points to 47 in March in the wake of the passage of the nearly $2 trillion fiscal stimulus bill that further widened an already large hole in the US government's budget. "Once we are through the pandemic, voters want leaders to act on the many available reforms to build a sustainable budget that will increase preparedness, opportunity and economic strength," said Michael Peterson, of the foundation. Fed officials and others in government have said now is an appropriate time, with low rates and huge stress on the economy, to borrow to navigate the crisis, but eventually, they believe borrowing must be brought to more sustainable levels.

- The sharp rise in U.S. Treasury yields likely played a role in Turkey's sacking of central bank governor Naci Agbal, MUFG Bank says. Rising U.S. yields and the dollar's broad-based rebound has weighed on emerging market currencies, including the lira, which probably increased pressure on Turkey's central bank to tighten policy more aggressively before Agbal's dismissal, MUFG Bank currency analyst Lee Hardman says. Agbal raised the key rate by 200 basis points to 19% earlier this month shortly before he was fired by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has
repeatedly criticised high rates. USD/TRY rises 2% to a four-and-a-half month high of 8.3805, according to FactSet.

Mar 30 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices rose as shipping traffic resumed through the Suez Canal after days on hold and focus turned to an OPEC+ meeting this week where the extension of supply curbs may be on the table amid new coronavirus pandemic lockdowns.
- Gold prices slipped to their lowest in more than two weeks, weighed down by a firm U.S. dollar and Treasury yields as expectations of a swift economic turnaround grew with vaccination rates gaining traction.
- Copper prices rose as investors were expecting strong demand from top consumer China ahead of the seasonally strong consumption season.
- Chicago corn futures lost more ground while soybeans slid for a fourth consecutive session, with expectations of higher U.S. plantings this year weighing on the markets.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE slid to a three-month low on Monday as funds scaled back long positions against the backdrop of bearish price charts and weak demand in Europe, while coffee also fell.
- Malaysian palm oil futures fell more than 2.5%, on track for a fourth session of drop in five, as weak demand from top buyers India and China weighed on market sentiment ahead of March output and export data.

- Higher U.S. Treasury yields and U.S. President Joe Biden's plans for long-term infrastructure spending cause the dollar to rise, taking the DXY dollar index to a 4.5-month high and USD/JPY to its highest in a year. MUFG says the White House confirmed Monday that Biden will explain on Wednesday how he will fund the plan, which is likely to include tax increases. Unlike the Covid fiscal package it will be spread over a longer period and be financed through more debt, analyst Lee Hardman says. He notes reports that some officials are concerned the gap between spending and revenue would "risk triggering a spike in interest rates." The DXY dollar index rises to 93.16, USD/JPY reaches 110.2550 and EUR/USD hits a near 5-month low of 1.1736, according to FactSet.

- As airlines and other industries grapple with the idea of "vaccine passports" citizens that would theoretically carry on their phones as proof they've taken the coronavirus vaccine, the governor of Florida-- the No. 3 flying state after California and Texas--says it won't happen in the Sunshine state. "We are not supporting doing any vaccine passports in the state of Florida," says Gov. Ron DeSantis, adding he's preparing an emergency executive action to ban it. "It's completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply participate in normal society."

- The Biden administration is likely to make a push for more staff and resources for federal agencies so they speed up the permitting process for offshore wind and other development. The administration rolls out a plan to boost the offshore wind industry by opening access to more of the Atlantic Coast and starting more environmental assessments for pending projects. The plan omits new hiring and funding for BOEM and other permitting agencies, a major industry request. But this initial plan sticks within the administration's current authorization. A senior administration official there says there's to come, an ask to Congress for help bolstering government agencies and permitting in another multitrillion-dollar economic package the president is planning to lay out later this week.

Mar 29 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil slumped more than 2% after news from the Suez Canal that salvage crews have managed to move the giant container ship that has been clogging up the vital global trade passage for nearly a week.
- Gold prices inched lower as the U.S. dollar and global share markets firmed on the back of improving economic outlook, with elevated bond yields putting further pressure on the metal.
- London copper prices fell as a firm dollar made greenback-priced metals more expensive to holders of other currencies.  
- U.S. soybean futures fell to touch a 10-day low as a stronger U.S. dollar dented export prospects.  
- Arabica and robusta coffee futures on ICE were higher on Friday, buoyed partly by a broad-based rebound in financial markets, while raw sugar prices also rose.
- Malaysian palm oil futures fell for a fourth straight session, tracking weakness in rival oils in the United States and China, although production concerns lent some support.

Mar 26 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices reversed a sharp sell-off a day earlier to rise 1% on mounting fears that it could take weeks to dislodge a giant container ship blocking the Suez Canal, which would squeeze supplies of crude and refined products.
- Gold prices slipped towards a one-week low, on course for a first weekly decline in three, with bullion pressured by a rallying dollar following positive U.S. economic data and as vaccine roll-outs gathered steam.
- Copper prices rose, tracking gains in equities market buoyed by optimism over the global economic recovery on positive U.S. labour data and its faster-than-expected COVID-19 vaccination roll-out plans.  
- U.S. wheat futures edged lower to touch a near three-month low, as favourable weather across major producing regions pushed the market towards a weekly loss of nearly 3%.
- Raw and white sugar futures on ICE closed sharply lower on Thursday as rising COVID-19 cases in Europe prompted a broad-based selloff in wider financial markets.
- Malaysian palm oil futures extended losses, falling 4.5% to a three-week low, as it tracked weakness in rival oils in the United States and China.

Mar 25 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices fell more than 2% as fresh coronavirus lockdowns revived worries about demand for oil products, even as tug boats struggled to move a stranded container ship blocking crude oil carriers in the Suez Canal.
- Gold prices edged higher as surging COVID-19 cases across Europe fuelled concerns about the pace of economic recovery, although a stronger U.S. dollar curbed the metal's gains.
- Copper prices fell more than 1% to their lowest in nearly a week, as a stronger dollar made greenback-priced metals more expensive to holders of other currencies.
- U.S. soybean futures fell for the first time in five sessions, as a strong U.S. dollar weighed on export prospects.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE closed up for the first time in the last six sessions on Wednesday, edging away from the previous session's three-month low, while arabica coffee closed down.
- Malaysian palm oil futures inched down for a second straight session, as cheaper crude oil and soyoil contracts cancelled out optimism around improving March exports.

Mar 24 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- The safe-haven U.S. dollar approached a four-month high as concerns over a third COVID-19 wave in Europe, potential U.S. tax hikes and escalating tensions between the West and China sapped risk appetite.

- Oil prices steadied, following the previous day's slump, but the recovery was stunted by fears of a slow recovery in demand due to new pandemic lockdowns in Europe and a build in U.S. crude stocks.
- Gold prices rose as U.S. Treasury yields held close to a one-week low, with bullion shrugging off strength in the dollar following Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's reassurance that inflation would not spiral out of control.  
- Copper prices declined as concerns over coronavirus lockdowns in Europe pushed up demand for the dollar and dented the global economic recovery progress.
- U.S. soybeans futures edged higher as soaring demand for soyoil and U.S. President Joe Biden's green energy push lifted prices towards a two-week high.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE fell for the fifth straight session on Tuesday and hit their lowest since late December, weighed by risk-off sentiment in the wider financial markets and improved near term supply.
- Malaysian palm oil futures slipped 1%, as traders booked profit after two days of sharp gains, while demand concerns and expectations of higher production further weighed on the market.

Mar 23 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices fell 1% , hit by concerns that new pandemic curbs and slow vaccine rollouts in Europe will slow a recovery in demand, while producers cut prices in a sign of plentiful supply.
- Gold prices slipped as the U.S. dollar strengthened along with Treasury yields, while markets awaited comments on economic health from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen later in the day.
- Shanghai aluminium prices hit a more than one-month low, on fears that Chinese authorities might release ingots to the market, further pressing rising supply concerns in the world' top consumer of the metal.
- U.S. corn futures edged higher, as strong Chinese demand for U.S. supplies and concerns over the weather in South America supported gains.
- Raw sugar futures closed down for the fourth consecutive session on Monday, hitting the lowest price since Jan. 12, weighed by a mostly negative macroeconomic outlook for agricultural commodities.
- Malaysian palm oil futures climbed 3%, extending gains for a second session, as the market tracked a rally in soyoil fuelled by U.S. President Joe Biden's green energy push.

Mar 22 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices resumed their decline, edging lower on renewed concerns that European lockdowns may slow an anticipated recovery in demand for fuel products.
- Gold prices slipped as investors opted for alternative safe-haven assets such as the U.S. dollar and bonds after Turkey's abrupt decision to replace its central bank head with a critic of high interest rates sparked financial uncertainty.  
- Shanghai zinc prices jumped to their highest in more than three years, buoyed by prospects of demand improvement in top user China as the traditionally peak consumption season approaches.  
- Chicago wheat futures slid for a fourth consecutive session, with the market trading close to a three-month low hit in the last session as improved weather across the Northern Hemisphere boosted expectations of bumper supplies.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE hit their lowest since late January on Friday amid risk-off sentiment in wider financial markets and as concerns the COVID-19 pandemic is not under control made funds wary.
- Coffee and cocoa also fell.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose 1%, snapping a two-day decline, on an uptick in exports during March 1-20, although weakness in rival soyoil limited gains.

- Gold falls amid a strengthening USD after the Turkish government abruptly fired the nation's central bank governor. The sudden move has shocked financial markets and prompted traders to favor safe-haven currencies like USD and JPY, CMC Markets says. Spot gold is down 0.7% at $1,733.14/oz. The ICE USD Index is up 0.3% at 92.15.

- The most obvious way for BHP to offload its thermal- and lower-quality coking-coal operations would be to carve out the assets under a new company, a la South32, RBC Capital Markets says. BHP is looking at all options to jettison its BHP Mitsui Coal, New South Wales Energy Coal and Cerrejon interests over the coming 18 months, which could include a sale. But RBC envisages a new company valued around US$2.7 billion. "Both BMC and Cerrejon have JV pre-emption rights" and "while our base case is for ownership to remain as is, the demerger could provide a means for
all JV partners to exit," RBC adds.

- Iron-ore demand is going to increasingly pivot to high-grade fines--with circa 65% iron content--lump and pellets as Chinese steelmaking hub Tangshan clamps down on steel output to curb emissions, CBA says. The market is "likely going to show a preferential treatment for iron-ore products that reduce emissions," the bank says. Already, the premium for high-grade products is widening. On Friday, benchmark 62% iron-content fines traded at $160.20/ton while 65% product traded at $186.65/ton--a 17% premium. At the start of 2021, when the benchmark price was around similar levels, the premium for high-grade fines was 9%.

- A roughly 70% surge in molybdenum prices since August should be sustainable as long as a projected decline in byproduct supply eventuates, Macquarie reckons. "If it does not happen as projected (and byproduct supply is notoriously difficult to forecast) then this could take the pressure off prices," it says. Still, Macquarie is projecting a 9.6% annual fall in output of molybdenum as a byproduct in 2021, to 360 million pounds, as miners maximize copper production at the expense of molybdenum, used in alloy steels. That will be somewhat offset by a forecast strong rise in primary production, mostly in China, but should nevertheless be easily consumed by an expected 6.8% lift in annual demand, says Macquarie.

Mar 19 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices fell for a sixth day in a row, down nearly 9% for the week, as a new wave of COVID-19 infections in particular across Europe spurred fresh lockdowns and dampened hopes for an imminent recovery in fuel demand.
- Gold prices fell as the dollar held onto its gains from the previous session on the back of rising U.S. Treasury yields, while the U.S. Federal Reserve's forecast of a strong economic rebound further pressured the safe-haven metal.
- Copper prices slid as the dollar firmed on the back of rising U.S. Treasury yields, making greenback-priced metals more expensive for holders of other currencies.
- Chicago soybean futures were on track for their second weekly decline, as improved crop weather in South America and expectations for a large increase in U.S. planting this spring weighed on the market.
- Arabica coffee futures closed sharply lower on ICE on Thursday as worries about a slower than expected European recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, which could hurt coffee demand, weighed on prices.
- Malaysian palm oil futures fell to a two-week low and were set for a near 10% weekly decline, as expectations of increasing palm and rival soybean supplies weighed on prices.

Mar 18 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- The U.S. dollar was on the defensive after the Federal Reserve signalled it was in no hurry to raise interest rates through all of 2023 even as it saw a swift recovery in the world's largest economy.

- Oil prices dropped for a fifth straight day after official data showed a sustained rise in U.S. crude and fuel inventories, while the ever-present pandemic clouded the demand outlook.
- Gold prices rose to a more than two-week high after the U.S. Federal Reserve pledged to keep near-zero interest rates until 2023, although the safe-haven metal's gains were capped by the central bank's forecast of a strong economic rebound.
- Copper prices fell as rising global inventories and falling premiums in top consumer China stoked demand worries and offset support from a weaker dollar amid dovish U.S. central bank comments.
- Chicago soybeans slid for a second session as rains in parts of parched Argentina boosted expectations of supplies from the world's biggest exporter of soyoil and soymeal.
- Coffee and sugar futures closed down on Wednesday on ICE, weighed mostly by a negative macro sentiment during most of the trading hours before new projections about the U.S. economy were released by the Federal Reserve.  
- Malaysian palm oil futures slumped 3% to their lowest in two weeks as worries about slower demand this month and next, and higher production weighed.

- With millions of Americans still looking for work, the number of skilled trade jobs in the US is far outpacing the supply of qualified workers to fill them, TrueBlue says. The study shows the most in-demand skilled trade jobs are remaining unfilled the longest--roughly a month on average--due to the shortage of qualified workers. The skilled trades labor shortage is being driven by a mass exit of baby boomers retiring from the sector. Job postings for plumber apprentices have increased by 24% in the past month, and jobs are sitting unfilled for an average of 29 days. Postings for roofer apprentices are up 50% in the last month, sitting unfilled for 39 days. The median hourly rate for helper-level skilled trade jobs is $16 an hour, or roughly $33,000 a year, and can pay up to 50% higher with additional training.

- Pharmaniaga's earnings are likely to bounce back sharply this year as its drugs and medical supply businesses should benefit as demand from Malaysian government healthcare facilities normalizes, CGS-CIMB says. In addition, the government's rollout of the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine should start contributing to group earnings in 2Q. The brokerage upgrades the stock to add from hold, saying that the pharmaceutical company's recent share price retracement looks overdone. However, CGS-CIMB cuts the target price to MYR4.60 from MYR5.41 to reflect the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown in 1Q and a more gradual recovery in demand. Shares are 1.4% lower at MYR3.44.

- Japanese beer companies could see wider earnings disparity among themselves, depending on their ability to withstand changes in consumer demand caused by Covid-19, as well as product-mix improvements, Nomura says. Japan's on-premise beer market may recover to only 80% of its pre-Covid level in 2022, as many consumers are likely to carry on working from home even once the pandemic is over, Nomura adds. Kirin Brewery is one of its top picks for the sector, as the company is likely to increase its share of Japan's growing craft beer market. The brewery has been investing heavily in craft beer, it notes. Meanwhile, Asahi Breweries' plans to create a market for low-alcohol beer from this year will likely be closely watched, it adds.

- LG Display may gain from higher prices of its flat-screen panels through much of this year, Daiwa Capital says. The Japanese investment bank expects tight inventory and solid demand for liquid-crystal-display panels used in notebook computers and monitors, as well as organic light-emitting diode panels for televisions, to continue sending panel prices higher through 2Q and possibly 3Q. Daiwa forecasts the South Korean company to increase OLED TV panel shipments by 58% to 7.7 million units in 2021. Daiwa raises its target price by 8.7% to KRW25,000 and keeps its outperform rating. Shares are 0.2% lower at KRW22,100.

- Malaysia's latest economic stimulus is expected to widen the government's fiscal deficit to 6.1% of GDP this year, versus its 5.4% target, CGS-CIMB says. The estimates take into account the stimulus spending, a weaker GDP growth outlook and buffers from higher oil-related revenues. CGS-CIMB says a shift in the government's preference for more-targeted movement controls instead of broad-based lockdown should help limit the downside risk to economic growth. Malaysia unveiled a MYR20 billion stimulus package Wednesday, with fiscal injections accounting for MYR11 billion, which largely consist of extending subsidies and cash assistance.

- University of Michigan survey data from Monday showed median inflation expectations for those 55 and older have hit the highest level since May 2015 and have returned to levels preceding the 2014 oil-price shock, Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid says. But expectations for those 18-34 fell sharply in March, and show no upward drift since the Covid shock, he says. The differential is the highest on record, he says "So one can speculate that the elder group have experience-based adaptive expectations having seen the 'Great Inflation' in their formative years. Conversely the younger group have never known inflation above target."

- After US air travel hit a one-year-high 1.4M passengers last Friday, the flying market reached another pinnacle yesterday as passengers hit 1.1M, marking the highest daily total for a Tuesday since March 10, 2020. Those numbers, compiled by TSA, which counts how many travelers pass through its security checkpoints, are another good sign that business travel may be rebounding, although the flow is still less than half of comparable 2019 figures, and is probably this week also influenced by vacationing spring breakers and green beer-seeking St. Patrick's Day revelers.

Mar 17 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- The U.S. dollar held gains against major currencies as investors looked to the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy meeting for indications it could start rate hikes earlier or let bond yields rise further.

- Oil prices climbed as investors weighed a recovery in U.S. refinery activity as industry data showed U.S. crude stockpiles unexpectedly fell last week against concerns of rocky demand in Europe.
- Gold prices edged up to hover near their highest in more than two weeks on prospects of higher inflation, although trade was range-bound as investors exercised caution ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting outcome.
- London copper prices rose as a bright demand outlook and supply disruptions in some South American mines offset pressure from rising LME exchange inventories. Chicago corn futures gained for a fifth consecutive session as China's strong purchases of U.S. supplies underpinned the market.
- London cocoa futures dipped on Tuesday, with supplies deemed ample despite some short-term tightness that saw the March contract LCCH1 expire at a substantial premium to other positions.  
- Malaysian palm oil futures steadied after snapping their longest winning streak since June 2002 a day earlier, as traders weighed forecasts of an improvement in production against robust exports outlook.

- The pullback in prices in the latest global dairy commodities auction was not surprising given the China-demand driven surge that occurred in the previous auction in early March. Rabobank says there was more of certain products on offer, particularly whole milk powder, with its available volume up 20%. The whole milk powder price index fell 6.2% but average prices remained above $4,000/ton, which is about 46% higher than a year earlier. "The expensive cost of producing milk (and WMP) in China, overlaid with the complexity of global shipping disruptions, alongside modest global milk production growth lends itself to elevated WMP prices over the coming months," Rabobank says.

- Palm oil prices rise slightly in early Asian trade after a sharp fall in the previous session and are anticipated to trade sideways or higher today, says a Kuala Lumpur-based palm oil analyst. The edible oil's gains are capped by expectations for a sharp rise in palm production which will ease the current tightness in supply, he says. The benchmark contract for June delivery rises MYR4 to MYR3,901 a ton on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange.

Mar 16 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- The U.S. dollar clung to small gains as caution reigned in currency markets ahead of major central bank meetings, beginning with a two-day Federal Reserve gathering due to start later in the global day.

- Oil prices fell for a third straight day as rising stockpiles in the United States added to concerns about risks to demand as countries including Germany and France halt COVID-19 vaccinations.
- Gold prices were subdued as investors watched for a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting to tackle concerns over inflation and bond yields, although appetite for riskier assets grew on hopes of a swifter economic recovery.
- Shanghai aluminium prices hit a 9-1/2-year high, as supply concerns rose after an aluminium hub in top consumer China ordered power cuts and output curbs.
- Chicago corn futures edged higher to notch an eight-day peak after a U.S. government report showed that export demand for the grain remained high.
- Raw sugar prices slipped on Monday as the dollar strengthened, although near-term supply tightness limited losses. Coffee and cocoa also fell.  
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose for a 10th straight session, putting them on track for their longest winning streak since June 2002, as cargo surveyor data showed a fall in exports slowed down during March 1-15 and rival soyoil advanced.

Mar 16 - OVHcloud is currently evaluating potential technical and operational measures to bring solutions to all affected customers. All communication channels, including our incident tracking platform, can be accessed so that you can stay informed of developments in real time.

You can find the last update concerning our C3 SWAP server :

http://travaux.ovh.net/?do=details&id=49484


- SBG-1 Situation : 4 of 12 rooms were damaged
- Electrical restart : Temporarily repowered on 13th March and will be restored permanently on 16th March
- Network restart :
+ Backbone: temporary connection to SBG on 15th March
+ Internal network to be redeployed on 16th March
- Server restart : Provisional ETA: Monday, 22 March for gradual restart

Mar 15 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- The U.S. dollar held firm after bouncing off a one-week low last week, supported by a spike in benchmark Treasury yields to more-than-one-year highs as inflation fears continued to smoulder.

- Oil prices rose, with Brent heading toward $70 a barrel, as data showed China's economic recovery accelerated at the start of 2021, boosting the energy demand outlook at the world's largest oil importer.
- Gold prices erased early gains as hopes of a faster economic recovery got a boost from better-than-expected Chinese industrial output data, while a surge in U.S. Treasury yields kept bullion under pressure.
- Copper prices rose their highest in almost two weeks, building on last week's gains as industrial output growth in top metals consumer China accelerated faster than expected in January-February and concerns over global supply resurfaced.
- Chicago wheat futures lost more ground, with prices dropping to their lowest in more than a month as snowfall across key U.S. growing regions boosted expectations of a bumper crop.
- Raw sugar prices closed down amid risk-off sentiment in wider financial markets and a stronger dollar, though near term supply tightness limited losses.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rallied for a ninth straight session, lifted by a jump in prices of crude and rival edible oils following a tightening in global supplies.

- Asia became the top destination for US exports of liquefied natural gas last year, the EIA says, accounting for 3.1B cubic feet per day, or nearly half of the total US LNG exports of 6.6 bcf/d. The 67% year-on-year increase in US LNG exports to Asia was partly driven by rising exports to China, which lowered tariffs on US LNG to 10% from 25%. Europe had been the main destination of US LNG exports, and is now a strong second, rising 0.6-bcf/d last year to 2.5 bcf/d, or 39% of total US LNG exports, EIA says. The US also exports relatively small amounts of LNG to Latin America and the Middle East.

- New forecasts for US farmers planting crops have been released by agricultural research firm Allendale, showing that farmers may plant even more than previously predicted by the USDA. The firm forecasts farmers will plant 92.8M acres of corn, 90.3M acres of soybeans and 46.4M of wheat. That's up from the USDA's forecasts of 92M acres of corn, 90M acres of soybeans, and 45M of wheat provided by the agency in its Agricultural Outlook Forum released last month. Grains futures are mixed in trading on the CBOT Monday.

- Lean hog futures are down 1.5% to begin trading this week, which if it holds will make it the first session out of the last six that hog futures have finished lower. Fundamentally, hog futures have been elevated by indications of stronger demand, says StoneX. That may extend into this week due to a new influx of winter weather, says the firm. "We've got a couple doses of winter weather to contend with this week to perhaps limit this week's pace and keep product markets tight," says StoneX. Meanwhile, live cattle futures are 0.7% higher Monday morning.

- Natural gas continues to fall after declining each of the past three weeks, with the front-month contract for April delivery trading down 2.8% at a six-week-low $2.528/mmBtu. Although Colorado and Wyoming got hit by a demand-boosting snowstorm over the weekend, most of the country is experiencing relatively mild temperatures as winter ends and spring arrives. Analysts say EIA storage reports will soon start showing weekly injections of gas rather than withdrawals. At the same time, gas production in Texas has now fully returned to normal after a winter storm last month that knocked out output. Year-to-date, prices are only about 2% higher.

- Grain futures trading on the CBOT are mostly lower in pre-market trading, with corn futures down 0.1%, soybeans down 0.4%, and wheat unchanged. Most of the pressure is coming from an improved outlook to the South American crop, says Tomm Pfitzenmaier of Summit Commodity Brokerage. "Concerns about the South American crop are still there, but the trade, for the time being, seems content to consolidate and see what happens as harvest progresses and then wait for the US stocks and planting intentions reports due out on March 31st," says Pfitzenmaier. Rainfall is expected for dry areas in Argentina and Brazil throughout the week, according to DTN.

- Oil and mining shares decline as crude prices drop and metal prices trade mixed amid fresh economic caution. Markets in mainland China and Hong Kong closed lower despite better-than-expected Chinese industrial production and retail sales, as unemployment increased. "Impressive Chinese data provided little by way of upside for the region's stocks," says IG's Joshua Mahony. "With unemployment rising and fears of a pullback in Chinese stimulus, it appears we're seeing funds flee towards those nations with a greater recovery story ahead." Steel-maker Evraz, Rio Tinto, BHP Group, BP and Royal Dutch Shell are all among the biggest fallers in London's FTSE 100 Index as Brent crude drops 0.5% to $68.85 a barrel.

- US benchmark oil prices fall 0.6% to $65.19 a barrel in choppy trading, driven partly by a stronger dollar that's pulling down crude and other commodities that are priced in US currency. Oil saw sharp gains overnight and looked to be headed toward fresh highs not seen in nearly two years amid rising optimism that demand is rising and the pandemic is easing across most regions of the globe. But oil investors also can't shake their bearish concerns over the rising circulation of coronavirus variants in Europe, where Italy over the weekend announced more than half of its residents would be put back into a hard lockdown.

- Brazil's soybean harvest continues to be slowed in many areas by rains that complicate work in the fields and raise concerns about the quality of the oilseeds, according to agricultural consultancy AgRural. The group said harvesting had finished on 46% of the area planted with the crop as of March 11, up from 35% a week earlier but far behind the 59% that had been harvested on the same date a year earlier. Harvesting work is entering final stages in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil's biggest soybean producer, while in the state of Rio Grande do Sul harvesting is still in early stages, AgRural said. The crop in Rio Grande do Sul has good potential, but more rain in that area would be welcome, said the group, which forecasts a record soybean crop of 133 million metric tons for Brazil's 2020-2021 growing season.

- Having slipped continuously for the best part of two months, there are signs that gold's declines are abating, says Carsten Fritsch, a commodities analyst at Commerzbank. For one, price action has been reassuring, with the precious metal registering a weekly gain last week for the first time in four weeks, suggesting prices have bottomed out, he notes. Gold ETF outflows have also slowed, suggesting less pressure on prices going forward, he says. What's more, investors' long positioning in gold futures has dropped to its lowest level since May 2019. "Such low net long positions do reduce the risk of any further price slide because most weak hands will probably have already withdrawn from the market," he says. Gold is up 0.5% at $1,728.90 a troy ounce.

- Gold prices rise, recovering some of their lost ground from declines over recent months, as investors await the Federal Reserve's FOMC meeting on Wednesday. Comex gold futures are up 0.6% at $1,730.20 a troy ounce. Analysts say the precious metal has stabilized after recent losses driven by rising bond yields and outflows from gold exchange-traded funds. With the focus likely to remain on bond-market volatility, "Wednesday's FOMC is all that folks are talking about," says Stephen Innes, global market strategist at Axi. Since the Fed's last meeting, "the economic outlook has brightened considerably with evidence that the economy has emerged from winter stagnation," says Innes. That said, rising yields and inflation expectations are a reason for caution, he says.

- Palm oil pared gains in late trading. Prices rose as Malaysia inked a deal with Saudi Arabia to sell an additional 200,000 tons of the commodity to the Middle Eastern country, a Kuala Lumpur-based analyst says. This might help boost palm oil exports, which fell 4.6% on month in March 1-15, according to data from cargo surveyor AmSpec. The benchmark contract for May delivery closed MYR8 higher at MYR4,133 a ton on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange.

- Copper prices edge higher after better-than-expected data from top metals consumer China. Three-month copper on the LME is up 0.2% at $9,147 a metric ton. Demand expectations were given a boost after data showed China's industrial production rose 35.1% in the first two months of the year, compared with the same period last year. While the jump is large compared to the coronavirus-driven slump the nation experienced at the start of 2020, the gain is larger than the 30.5% rise economists had been expecting. Other metals also rise, with aluminum gaining 0.9% to $2,191 a ton and nickel adding 1.2% to $16,200 a ton.

Mar 12 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- The U.S. dollar climbed from a near one-week low as bond yields inched higher, but it looked set for its first weekly fall in three against a basket of its major rivals as riskier currencies drew support from calmer market sentiment.

- Brent crude prices eased but hovered near $70 a barrel as production cuts by major oil producers constrained supply, with optimism about a recovery in demand for the resource in the second half of the year also lending support.
- Gold prices retreated as firmer U.S. bond yields and a strong dollar weighed on the metal, but bullion was on course for its biggest weekly gain in seven.  
- London copper dipped as a rally that pushed prices to near a 10-year high ran out of steam amid signs of higher supply and weakening demand growth this year.
- Chicago wheat futures were little changed, with the market set for a second straight weekly decline as expectations of improved weather across the U.S. Plains weighed on prices.
- Arabica coffee futures on ICE closed higher on Thursday, boosted partly by a strengthening in Brazil's real currency, while sugar and cocoa prices also rose.
- An eight-session rally kept Malaysian palm oil futures on track for their best week in nearly five-and-a-half years, as tight inventories and strength in rival soyoil underpinned the market.

- $1,400 stimulus checks could hit bank accounts as soon as this weekend, White House says
White House Press secretary Jen Psaki said most Americans can expect to start seeing direct deposits from the recent COVID-19 relief package as early as this weekend.
"People can expect to start seeing direct deposits hit their bank accounts as early as this weekend," Psaki said at a press briefing shortly after President Joe Biden signed the$1.9 trillion "American Rescue Plan," into law on Thursday.

- Biden signs COVID-19 relief bill containing $1,400 stimulus checks
These payments include $1,400 direct payments to individual Americans making $75,000 or less.
Biden originally planned to sign the bill on Friday, but it arrived at the White House more quickly than anticipated.
"We want to move as fast as possible," tweeted White House chief of staff Ron Klain. He added, "We will hold our celebration of the signing on Friday, as planned, with congressional leaders!"
The signing came hours before Biden delivers his first prime-time address since taking office. He's aiming to steer the nation toward a hungered-for sentiment - hope - as he marks one year since the onset of the pandemic that has killed more than 529,000 Americans.
"This historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country," Biden said as he signed the bill in the Oval Office.
Besides the $1,400 direct payments to individuals, the plan includes money to help distribute coronavirus vaccines, provide relief to homeowners and renters, help reopen schools, provide aid to state and local governments, and an expansion of the child tax credit, among other features.

Mar 11 - Hosting company OVH data center SBG1/2 heavy outage .
The data center in Strasbourg mainly hosts web applications for companies. Our server supporting SWAP recalculation in SGB1 is safe. We have been extremely lucky. OVH advise full recovery by March 15th ! Let's hope so.

Mar 11 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- The dollar languished near one-week lows after benign data on U.S. consumer prices and a decline in Treasury yields led some investors to trim bets on a rapid acceleration in inflation.

- Crude oil prices rose as vaccine rollouts bolstered the economic outlook and U.S. fuel stocks fell sharply, although gains were capped by a surge in crude oil inventories after last month's Texas storm.
- Gold prices rose to their highest level in more than a week, after softer U.S. inflation data halted an advance in Treasury yields and the dollar.  
- Base metals prices rose as the United States moved to pass a $1.9-trillion stimulus bill in an effort to recover the world's biggest economy from COVID-19 pandemic slump.
- Chicago soybean futures dropped to their lowest in more than a week after a U.S. government report earlier this week failed to add bullish momentum to prices already hovering near multi-year highs.
- Robusta coffee futures on ICE rose on Wednesday, regaining some ground after their recent decline to a five-week low, while sugar and cocoa prices also gained.
- Malaysian palm oil futures snapped a six-session rally, hit by dismal partial March exports data, but falling inventories underpinned prices.

Mar 10 - L'hébergeur OVH a été victime d'un lourde panne cette nuit causée par un incendie au sein de son data center de Strasbourg.
Le data center de Strasbourg héberge majoritairement des applications Web à destination des entreprises. Et c'est précisément ces dernières qui ont été touchées par l'incendie. C'est le cas de notre serveur supportant tous les calculs des pages SWAP.

Mar 10 - Hosting company OVH was the victim of a heavy outage this night caused by a fire in its data center in Strasbourg.
The data center in Strasbourg mainly hosts web applications for companies. And it is precisely these who were affected by the fire. This is the case with our server supporting all calculations of SWAP pages. We apology for inconvenience and will let you know when service is restored.

Mar 10 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- The U.S. dollar rose, clawing back some of the losses sustained overnight, as U.S. yields found a floor following their drop from one-year highs.

- Oil fell for a third straight session as investors took profits while looking ahead to U.S. inventories data due later in the day for pointers on where prices will head next.
- Gold inched lower after posting its biggest jump in two months in the previous session, as firmer U.S. Treasury yields and dollar eroded the metal's appeal.  
- Copper futures advanced in London on hopes of rising demand, but prices in Shanghai fell on fears of policy tightening by top consumer China.
- Chicago wheat futures slid, taking a breather from a strong run-up in the last session, although the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) forecast for strong demand put a floor under the market.
- Raw sugar futures fell 1.8% on Tuesday, breaking the 16-cent support level, amid a weak Brazilian currency and news of falling consumption and imports in the United States.
- Malaysian palm oil futures were set to snap a five-session rally, dragged down by weaker rival oils and a slump in exports during the first 10 days of March.

- Democrats coronavirus stimulus 91 percent pork
  Democrats are poised to pass what the White House has declared “the most progressive bill in history,” where only 9% of the nearly $2 trillion in spending is dedicated to coronavirus relief and the other 91% goes to money for the arts, humanities, transportation, abortion, loan forgiveness for students and “socially disadvantaged farmers,” whatever that means.
  There’s little doubt House Speaker Nancy Pelosi feels good about the federal stimulus package, for it will erase the majority of San Francisco’s projected $650 million budget deficit over the next two years, saving her city from having to make fiscally responsible decisions.
  The $350 billion allocated for state and local governments — with California carving out $42.2 billion of the total sum — equates a blue-state bailout. States like Florida, which took early steps to reopen their economies, have lower unemployment rates compared to the national average. Of the 10 states with the highest unemployment rates, eight are run by Democrats, and many are still locked down. So basically, Floridians are on the hook to pay for California’s mistakes.
  What’s even more corrosive is state revenues across the country have been increasing. The Wall Street Journal reported California’s revenue for this fiscal year is almost $10 billion above projections. Blue states want these bailouts not because they need them for coronavirus relief, but to help pay for their budget deficits, fueled by their mismanaged pension systems.
  To dub this bill as “coronavirus relief” is erroneous — it’s mostly pork. There’s $270 million dedicated to the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities, $1.5 billion for Amtrak, $20 million to update the Affordable Care Act exchange technology and $35.5 billion for increased Affordable Care Act subsidies.
  And to what actually is dedicated for relief, more than one-third of that money won’t be spent this year. About $700 billion is allocated to be spent between 2022 and 2031, including 95% of the school reopening money. So much for an urgent need.
  Democrats are fully owning this bill — touting poll numbers that say the majority of Americans are in favor of it. Yes, the majority of Americans are looking forward to their $1.400 payouts — but think of it this way — if all of what Congress is spending went directly into their pockets, every American man, woman and child would be issued a nearly $6,000 check.
  Eventually, this fiscal irresponsibility will catch up to us — our children’s children will be on the hook for paying for this pork. Lawmakers simply cannot keep sending out free money without any costs in terms of inflation and high interest rates. The Federal Reserve says don’t worry about it, but many economists don’t have a clue about what’s coming next.
  As Bloomberg reports: “Democrats are closing their eyes and throwing the dice. Congress is passing President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill with shockingly little information about whether the U.S. economy can safely absorb it.”

Mar 09 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- The dollar held near a 3 1/2-month high against its rivals as higher bond yields and expectations of faster economic normalisation from the pandemic in the United States put the U.S. currency at an advantage.

- Oil prices fell , reversing earlier gains, on receding fears of a supply disruption in Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, after an attack on its export facilities, and on concerns a stronger U.S. dollar would crimp demand.
- Gold prices rose, as a pullback in U.S. Treasury yields added some lustre to the metal after it hit a nine-month low in the previous session.  
- London copper fell as a firm dollar made greenback-priced metals more expensive for holders of other currencies, but analysts were optimistic about the metal's outlook due to U.S. stimulus and upcoming strong demand season in China.  
- Chicago soybean futures rose for a fourth consecutive session as a widely watched U.S. report is expected to reduce forecast for world supplies amid adverse South American weather.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE closed down on Monday as the Brazilian real weakened against the dollar, but losses were limited as dealers remained mindful of tight near-term supplies.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose for a fifth straight session, tracking a rally in crude and soyoil futures, although expectations of rising palm supply put a lid on gains.

Mar 08 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- The dollar hovered near three-month highs after the U.S. Senate passage of a bumper stimulus bill sparked another sell-off in the bond market, while currencies of major commodity exporters pulled back as a broader risk-on trade lost momentum.

- Brent crude futures surged above $70 a barrel for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, while U.S. crude touched its highest in more than two years, following reports of attacks on Saudi Arabian facilities.
- Gold rebounded from a nine-month low hit last week, as bond yields retreated and the passage of a massive U.S. stimulus package boosted bullion's appeal as a hedge against inflation.  
- London copper prices fell, despite progresses made on a long-awaited U.S. stimulus bill, as investors stayed on the sidelines after a strong rally sent prices to multi-year highs last month.
- Chicago soybean futures climbed to their highest in almost seven years as dry weather in Argentina and excessive rains in Brazil stoked supply concerns, while broad-based gains in world markets on U.S. stimulus also buoyed sentiment.
- Coffee futures closed sharply lower on ICE on Friday, with both arabica and robusta prices falling to the lowest levels in almost two weeks.
- Malaysian palm oil futures climbed nearly 4%, buoyed by a rally in rival soyoil, crude and world markets on passage of a U.S. stimulus package, while investors also awaited the Malaysian Palm Oil Board data.

Mar 05 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- The dollar hit multi-month highs against the euro and the yen after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell did not express concern about a recent sell-off in bonds while sticking to his stance to keep interest rates low for a long time.

- Oil prices rose more than 1%, extending gains from the previous session, after OPEC and its allies agreed not to increase supply in April as they await a more substantial recovery in demand amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- Gold declined to a near nine-month low and was set for a third straight weekly decline, as the dollar and bond yields rose after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's remarks that the rise in yields were not "disorderly."
- Nickel prices were set for their worst week in 9-1/2 years in London and plunged in Shanghai on rising battery-grade supply outlook following a major supply deal.
- Chicago soybeans gained more ground, with the market on track for its fourth weeks of gains as dry weather in Argentina underpinned prices.
- Raw sugar prices on ICE recovered on Thursday after hitting a one-month low as the dollar held strong and funds continued to steer clear of buying the sweetener, having pushed it to four-year highs in late February.
- Malaysian palm oil futures climbed and were on track for a second consecutive weekly rise as a weaker ringgit and gains in rival soyoil eclipsed pressure from a forecast of higher February-end stockpiles.

Mar 04 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- The dollar hit a seven-month high against the yen as a more orderly rise in U.S. Treasury yields lent support ahead of a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell that may determine the trend for global bond markets and currencies.

- Oil prices rose for a second straight session, as the possibility that OPEC+ producers might decide against increasing output at a key meeting later in the day lent support, alongside a drop in U.S. fuel inventories.
- Gold prices hovered near a nine-month low hit in the previous session, as rising U.S. Treasury yields kept the non-yielding bullion under pressure.  
- Nickel prices hit a 10-week low in London and were set for their biggest drop in nine months in Shanghai after a major deal by Chinese firm Tsingshan eased worries of battery-grade nickel supply shortage.
- U.S. soybean futures edged higher, as adverse weather across South America ignited concerns about a short-term supply crunch of the oilseed.
- Arabica coffee futures on ICE closed down for the fourth consecutive session on Wednesday as the Brazilian real BRL= weakened and the market consolidated after last week's one-year high.
- London cocoa, meanwhile, hit a three-month peak.
- Malaysian palm oil futures jumped on the back of strength in rival soyoil, although gains were capped by expectations of a rise in February-end inventories.

- Palm-oil prices rise in early Asian trade after soybean oil closed higher on the Chicago Board of Trade, says Singapore-based Palm Oil Analytics co-founder Sathia Varqa. However, the upward momentum for prices is weak as soon-to-be-released data could show an increase in February stock level, while spot prices are already at an elevated level, he says. The benchmark contract for May delivery closed MYR39 higher at MYR3,717 a ton on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange.

Mar 03 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

-  The safe-haven U.S. dollar remained broadly weaker as Treasury yields retreated further, restoring some calm to global markets and reigniting demand for riskier assets.

- Oil prices rose, boosted by demand hopes on progress made in U.S. vaccine rollouts, while uncertainty over how much supply OPEC+ will restore to the market at its Thursday meeting and a big build in U.S. crude stocks capped gains.
- Gold prices slipped, falling for a sixth session in seven, as expectations that U.S. Treasury yields would move higher on further economic stimulus kept non-yielding bullion under pressure.  
- Shanghai aluminium prices rose to a near 9-1/2-year high, buoyed by concerns of supply cuts in China, the world's biggest user and producer of the metal.
- Chicago soybean futures slid, after notching strong gains in the previous session, although worries about excessive rains in Brazil and dry weather in Argentina limited losses.
- Arabica coffee futures fell on Tuesday for a third straight session on ICE, pressured partly by weakness in Brazil's real currency, which might trigger more producer selling in the world's top exporter of the commodity.
- Malaysian palm oil futures extended losses for a fourth straight session, dragged lower by expectations of higher stockpiles for end-February after exports dropped in the month.

- Dairy Price Surge All About China Demand, Rabobank Says
The big increases in dairy commodity prices in the global auction overnight was all about Chinese demand given that its domestic production is expensive right now due to high feed costs, says Rabobank. It sees the effects as transitory rather than a significant adjustment in the trajectory of China's domestic prices. Global whole milk powder rose 21% to $4,364 per metric/ton in the auction. Other factors--such as the Southern Hemisphere production season moving into quieter months along with global port congestion and customs delays in China--probably also played a role, the bank says. "It makes the scramble for dairy product highlighted ... overnight seem somewhat understandable, if not highlighting more volatility to come."

- President Biden's nominee to lead the SEC is worried that the business of executing small investors' stock orders has gotten too concentrated. Gary Gensler signals concern about the heft of one firm in particular--Citadel Securities--though he stops short of naming it outright. "Frankly, just a... handful of financial firms are buying most of the retail flow in America," he says in response to a question from Sen. Mark Warner. After noting how Facebook dominates the social-media space, Gensler noted that "one firm" handles between 40% and 50% of order flow from retail brokerages, in an apparent allusion to Citadel Securities. "So what does that do to pricing of capital in this country? I think there's important economic questions," Gensler says. Citadel Securities' role in executing small investors' orders has come under scrutiny in the wake of wild volatility in the price of GameStop stock earlier this year.

- President Biden's nominee to lead the SEC says he's concerned about trading apps with game-like interfaces that encourage investors to become active day traders. Asked about the recent frenzy in GameStop shares, Gary Gensler says that if confirmed as SEC chair, one of the questions he'd ask would be: "How to protect the investors using trading applications with behavioral prompts designed to incentivize customers to trade more?" Robinhood, the popular online brokerage, came under fire in the wake of the GameStop frenzy for features including exploding-confetti animations that reward users for executing trades.

- President Biden's nominee to lead the SEC is indicating that he will review the controversial practice of payment for order flow if confirmed. "It's important to look at... whether retail investors are getting best execution," he says at today's confirmation hearing, in response to a question from Sen. Jack Reed that cited the recent volatility in GameStop shares. Payment for order flow refers to the cash payments that electronic trading firms make to online brokerages like Robinhood, in exchange for the right to trade against customer orders.

- John Kerry, President Biden's special envoy for climate change, called on China, whom he said could be a "critical partner," and other major emitting nations to tighten goals ahead of global climate talks slated to be held in November in Glasgow. Despite US-China tensions in trade and other areas, Kerry noted that China is the largest emitter, followed by the US. "Climate crisis is not something that can fall victim to those other concerns and contests," Kerry says at CERAWeek by IHS Markit. "We will be pursuing a track on climate that does not get confused by the other items."

- Rohit Chopra, President Biden's pick to head the CFPB, tells Senate lawmakers he planned to scrutinize technology companies that have sought to play a bigger role in consumer banking. Testifying before the Senate Banking Committee, Chopra says it's "critical for the CFPB to take a hard look at how big tech companies are entering financial services," as well as their effect on consumer data and privacy.

- Employees at Kohl's distribution centers earn $15 an hour as do many full-time sales associates at its stores, although wages vary by region, according to the company. Kohl's says it's baking wage inflation into its guidance based on historical levels, regardless of what happens in Washington over the debate about raising the minimum wage. Walmart, Target and other retailers have recently pledged to raise their minimum wage to $15 and above.

- Chevron CEO Mike Wirth expects more regulation from the new administration on fugitive methane emissions from natural-gas production and transportation. But Wirth sees eliminating those emissions as an area of common ground between the industry and government, and says there needs to robust monitoring and reporting of methane emissions implemented. "We have to do everything we can to reduce or eliminate methane emissions," Wirth says at the CERAWeek by IHS Markit conference.

- Nearly 90% of US farmers report that their primary income does not come from their farm, says Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack during a virtual interview with the National Farmers Union-- something the USDA hopes to address in the course of the Biden administration. "If we're going to turn things around... we're going to have to work so farmers don't make money just off of the sale of commodities," says Vilsack. Other potential revenue streams that the agency wants to make available to farmers includes carbon sequestration and investing in new technology to monetize waste products like manure. "This is going to be a very proactive USDA," says Vilsack

Mar 02 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- The dollar stood firm against its low-yielding peers on bets of a faster economic recovery in the United States and expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will show greater tolerance of higher bond yields than other central banks.

- Oil prices slid more than 1%, extending losses that began last week, as expectations that OPEC would agree to raise oil supply in a meeting this week added to pressure and worries over slowing demand in China dampened sentiment.
- Gold prices slumped to their lowest in 8-1/2 months, as a stronger dollar and elevated U.S. Treasury yields eroded investor appetite for the non-yielding metal.  
- Copper prices fell for a third straight session, as signs of weakening demand in top consumer China weighed on a recent rally that boosted prices to multi-year highs.
- Chicago corn slid for a fourth consecutive session and hit its lowest in more than two weeks on fund selling, although tightening world supply is likely to curb losses.
- London cocoa futures on ICE rose to a three-month peak on Monday, boosted by fund buying driven partly by bullish price charts.
- Malaysian palm oil futures fell for a third straight session, slipping to a one-week low on expectations that inventories would rise due to a drop in exports and rising output

- Senate would vote this week for Joe Biden's stimulus plan
The U.S. Senate will vote 'this week' on president-driven economic stimulus plan, Joe Biden, announced yesterday Democratic majority leader Chuck Schumer. If the senators approve, the bill will return to the House of Representatives for one last vote.
The Lower House, also controlled by Democrats, on Saturday approved a $1.9 million plan, which includes a raise in the minimum wage.
The version examined this week in the Senate will not include that increase because of a matter related to the rules governing budget texts. Despite this setback, President Biden urged Congress to "quickly" adopt the rest of his project.
"If we act with determination, speed, and courage, we can finally master that virus, we can finally revive our economy," Biden said Saturday.
"The Senate will address the bailout plan this week," Schumer announced without specifying the date. "I'm waiting for a tough debate and a few long nights," he added.
After hours of debate, the bill was adopted Saturday in the House of Representatives by 219 votes, all Democrats, against 212 (including two Democrats). Republicans criticize the text because they consider its measures to be too costly and mis-focused.
"Around 2 a.m. on Saturday, House Democrats hastily embraced spending for the benefit of their party, which put them through a pandemic bailout plan," Republican minority chief Mitch McConnell criticized yesterday.
Democrats have 50 seats in the Senate, the same number as Republicans, but they can count on the suffrage of Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris, who can unpack the vote. Although the most progressive members of the ruling party regret the withdrawal of the minimum wage hike, it could facilitate the approval of the project.

Mar 01 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- The Australian dollar and other riskier currencies rebounded against the U.S. dollar, as a sell-off last week in global bonds on worries about eventual monetary policy tightening appeared to have eased for now.

- Oil prices rebounded more than $1 after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a huge stimulus package, although a drop in China's February factory activity growth capped gains.
- Gold prices rose more than 1%, recovering from a more than eight-month low touched in the previous session, as the dollar weakened and the United States passed a massive $1.9 trillion stimulus package.
- Shanghai copper prices fell, after ending February with their best monthly gain in nearly 12 years, as top consumer China reported subdued factory growth due to brief COVID-19-related disruptions.  
- Chicago soybean futures kicked off March on a bullish note, climbing 0.9% as delays in exports from Brazil boosted expectations of higher demand for U.S. supplies.
- Arabica coffee futures on ICE were lower on Friday, weighed down partly by weakness in Brazil's real currency BRL=, while raw sugar prices also fell ahead of the expiry of the March contract.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose to a seven-week high on the back of a rally in rival oilseeds, but cargo surveyor data showing a decline in February exports capped gains.

- The Democratic Republic of Congo's cobalt-mining sector will struggle to keep pace with global consumption in the coming quarters as the world's No. 1 producer of the metal contends with the continued closure of Glencore's idled Mutanda mine through 2021, Fitch Solutions says. Congo, which accounted for around 68% of the world's cobalt in 2020 despite Covid-19 disruptions, should post 12% growth in 2021, but the mine closure will drag on growth. Mutanda, which produced 27,000 tons of the metal that is crucial for the lithium-ion batteries batteries used in the fast-growing electric vehicle industry, has been closed since 2019.

- Gold has broken above a bearish trend line drawn from Feb. 25, showing more upside potential. In fact, it has returned to levels above both the 20-period and 50-period moving averages, while the 14-period RSI has climbed to the 60s, suggesting a bullish bias. Moreover, the MACD stays above its signal line and the 0-level, indicating continued upside momentum. Therefore, unless the key support level at $1,741.0 is violated, the precious metal is expected to rebound further to $1,767.0 and $1778.0 on the upside. Alternatively, a break below $1,741.0 would signal a loss of momentum and trigger a pullback to $1,732.0 on the downside. Spot gold is trading at $1,755.0 an ounce. [This piece contains the opinions of Trading Central and does not constitute personalized investment advice or form part of any invitation or inducement to buy or sell any security. The author has been prohibited by Trading Central from purchasing or otherwise directly or indirectly acquiring any direct or indirect beneficial ownership of any instruments or markets for which Trading Central or its affiliates issues recommendations.

- China will likely roll out various steel-production control measures from March onward as it looks to deliver on its carbon neutrality target, Citi says. The bank points out that Tangshan, the world's largest steel-producing city, plans to cut total emissions by 40% this year. This means that a large number of steel mills in the city will have to suspend production. Citing its extensive meetings with Chinese authorities and industry organizations, Citi says it believes more production curbs will be implemented in the next 1-2 months, which will reduce the overall steel supply from 2Hand support the commodity's prices.

Feb 26 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices dropped as a collapse in bond prices led to gains in the U.S. dollar and expectations grew that with oil prices back above pre-pandemic levels, more supply is likely to return to the market.
- Gold prices fell to a one-week low, and were headed for a second straight weekly and monthly decline as brighter economic outlook and inflation fears propped up U.S. Treasury yields.
- Copper prices fell, as a week-long rally in base metals ran out of steam, but the metal was on track for its best month since 2016 on low inventories and a bright demand outlook.
- Chicago soybean futures slid as U.S. weekly sales dropped after prices climbed to their highest in more than six years on the back of concerns over South American supplies.
- Cocoa futures on ICE closed sharply higher on Thursday, with New York hitting a two-month high, helped by a weaker dollar, while arabica coffee hit a fresh one-year high.
- Malaysian palm oil futures fell, a day after hitting a six-week peak, weighed by cheaper soyoil and slowing shipments outlook, although the benchmark contract was on track to clock a near-7% monthly gain.

- Asian markets drop as rate fears trump Powell reassurances
Asian markets suffered fresh losses Wednesday as concerns about rising inflation and frothy equity prices continued to sap confidence, with investors unmoved by reassurances from Federal Reserve boss Jerome Powell that officials would maintain record-low interest rates for as long as needed. Global stock indexes have cruised to all-time or multi-year highs in recent months thanks to government and central bank backing, the rollout of vaccines, easing of lockdowns, Joe Biden’s imminent stimulus and falling infection rates. But the rally is showing signs of fatigue as traders fret that valuations may have run ahead of themselves, while the yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury bonds — a key red flag on inflation — has spiked.
That has led to worries the Fed will have to lift borrowing costs more quickly than expected, removing a key pillar of support for stocks. Powell sought to soothe those concerns Tuesday in the first of two congressional testimonies, saying inflation was expected to pick up and be “volatile” this year as Americans begin to spend more but told lawmakers the increases were unlikely to be large or persistent. He pledged to keep the bank’s vast bond-buying scheme and low rates in place “until substantial further progress has been made toward our goals” of two percent inflation and full employment. He added that the rise in yields showed “confidence on the part of markets that we will have a robust and ultimately complete recovery”. US inflation had averaged less than two percent over the past 25 years, he said.

– ‘Balanced tone’ –

His comments helped Wall Street bounce off intra-day lows, with the Dow and S&P 500 ending slightly higher. But the Nasdaq fell as tech firms that rely more heavily on financing are most at risk from high interest rates.

Powell’s “success was striking a balanced tone”, said Axi’s Stephen Innes.
“Too dovish, and the chair risked exacerbating near-term inflation concerns, and too hawkish of a lean and the Street will increasingly price a withdrawal in liquidity. So overall, the balancing act seems mostly designed to keeping risk assets steering on an even keel.”
But he warned the fear about rates remained in place, “and despite some great news on vaccine and stimulus, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the yield reaction to the reflation theme will likely be the central narrative of 2021”.
Asia struggled, however, with Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sydney, Wellington, Taipei and Manila all seeing significant losses. Singapore, Seoul and Jakarta edged up.
“The mega-cap sectors and stocks that benefitted from the Covid-19 pandemic stay-at-home (SAH) environment, weak economic activity, and new lows in fixed income yields have been giving way” to the recovery theme, said Canaccord Genuity equity strategist Tony Dwyer, adding the selling could worsen.
On currency markets, the pound held on to gains to sit at levels not seen since April 2018 thanks to a strong rollout of vaccines across Britain that has allowed the government to set out a plan to reopen the country by the summer.

– Key figures around 0230 GMT –
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.8 percent at 29,923.82 (break)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.6 percent at 30,445.39
Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.7 percent at 3,612.26
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.4170 from $1.4106 at 2200 GMT
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.2156 from $1.2147
Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.79 pence from 86.08 pence
Dollar/yen: UP at 105.45 yen from 105.19 yen
West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.7 percent at $61.25 per barrel
Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.4 percent at $65.11 per barrel
New York – Dow: UP less than 0.1 percent at 31,537.35 (close)
London – FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 6,625.94 (close)

Feb 25 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices extended gains for a fourth session to reach the highest levels in more than 13 months, underpinned by an assurance that U.S. interest rates will stay low, and a sharp drop in U.S. crude output last week due to the storm in Texas.
- Gold eased as U.S. Treasury yields hovered near a one-year peak, tarnishing bullion's appeal, although a softer dollar and the U.S. Federal Reserve's commitment to an accommodative policy limited its fall.
- Shanghai copper prices leaped to a near 10-year high, while other base metals also gained as the U.S. Federal Reserve reaffirmed its loose monetary policy to support growth in the world's largest economy.
- Chicago soybeans hit their highest since mid-January, buoyed by expectations of a further delay in Brazilian shipments as heavy rains were forecast for crop-growing areas in the world's biggest exporter of the oilseed.
- Arabica coffee futures on ICE climbed to the highest level in more than a year on Wednesday before some profit-taking emerged, leading to a lower close.
- Malaysian palm oil futures jumped 2%, rising for a fourth session in five as rival soyoil and Dalian oil strengthened, though a slowdown in February exports so far limited gains.

- Biden revokes Trump's order preventing migrants from entering for "labor market risk"
U.S. President Signs Order to "Strengthen Supply Chain Resilience"
U.S. President Joe Biden has on Wednesday revoked an order from former President Donald Trump preventing migrants from entering the country's labor market and thus limiting the number of work visas for temporary foreigners in the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"The suspension of entry imposed in Proclamation 10014 (...) does not promote America's interests. On the contrary, it harms the United States, even preventing relatives of U.S. citizens and legal residents from joining their families here," the U.S. representative said in a proclamation on the revocation of this measure and spreading the White House.
Biden has also regretted that the order imposed by Trump in April 2020, and extended twice, "harms the country's industries that use talent from around the world" and "the people who were selected to receive the opportunity to apply for visas, and those they had received, through the 2020 Fiscal Year Diversity Visa Lottery."
The move has prevented people who had benefited from the visa lottery and relatives of legal residents and U.S. citizens from entering the country, which has in some cases caused "the delay and possible loss of their chance to receive diversity visas by 2020 and fulfill their dreams in the United States."
In addition to overturning Trump's order, Biden has ordered secretaries of State, Labor, and Homeland Security to review "any regulations, orders, policies, and any other similar actions taken pursuant to Proclamation 10014 and, as appropriate, issue revised guidance in accordance with the order published on Tuesday.

- Supply of "Critical" Products
On the other hand, this Wednesday Biden has signed an executive order that will help address supply chain "vulnerabilities" in "critical sectors," so that the United States "is prepared to withstand any crises."
Specifically, the order shows that the resilience of supply chains must be "strengthened" against "pandemics and other biological threats, cyberattacks, climate shocks and extreme weather events, terrorist attacks, geopolitical and economic competition, and other conditions that can reduce critical manufacturing capacity and the availability and integrity of critical goods, products and services."
It also indicates that the presidential assistant for National Security Affairs and the Economic Policy Assistant will coordinate the actions of the Executive Branch that are necessary to implement the order, for which external stakeholders, such as industries, trade unions or institutions, should also be consulted.
To advance this measure, a supply chain risk review is also defined within 100 days of the publication of the order for four "vital" products, semiconductors, minerals, and key materials -- rare earths--, pharmaceuticals, and advanced batteries -- such as electric vehicles--.
Second, this order initiates a long-term review of the industrial base of six sectors of the economy over the next year, as Biden has detailed.
"The American people should never face shortages of goods and services on which they depend, whether it's their car or their prescription drugs or food at the local supermarket," the president said of the order.
In this regard, he recalled that "horror stories of doctors and nurses carrying garbage bags on their robes have been heard because they had no more robes. And they were washing and reusing their masks over and over in the O.R.."
"That should never have happened. And it will never happen again in America. We shouldn't have to rely on a foreign country, especially one that doesn't share our interests or values, to protect our people during a national emergency," he added.
Biden has influenced that "resilient, diverse and secure" supply chains will help "revitalize our national manufacturing capacity and create well-paying jobs" and ensured that they will "stimulate new opportunities for small businesses, communities of color, and economically disadvantaged areas."
It has also ensured that it will drive "new investments in research and innovation and our workforce, investing in training and university associations that will lead to new technologies and new solutions".

Feb 24 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices fell after industry data showed a surprise build in U.S. crude stocks last week as a deep freeze in the southern states curbed demand from refineries that were forced to shut.
- Gold prices gained, hovering close to a one-week high hit in the previous session, as a weaker dollar and remarks by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell that the U.S. economy still needed support boosted bullion's appeal.
- Copper prices in London retreated from a 9-1/2-year high as investors exercised caution following a rally, which pushed prices up by 9.2% in just four days.
- Chicago soybean futures rose for a fourth consecutive session, trading close to their highest in more than five weeks, with shipping delays in the world's largest exporter Brazil supporting prices.
- Arabica coffee futures continued their impressive run on Tuesday, closing up for the sixth consecutive session and hitting the highest price in more than a year.
- Malaysian palm oil futures climbed for a fourth day, supported by a tight supply and tracking a rally in rival Dalian and Chicago Board of Trade soyoil.

- Asian markets sink as rate fears trump Powell reassurances
Asian markets suffered fresh losses Wednesday as concerns about rising inflation and frothy equity prices continued to sap confidence, with investors unmoved by reassurances from Federal Reserve boss Jerome Powell that officials would maintain record-low interest rates for as long as needed. Global stock indexes have cruised to all-time or multi-year highs in recent months thanks to government and central bank backing, the rollout of vaccines, easing of lockdowns, Joe Biden's imminent stimulus and falling infection rates. But the rally is showing signs of fatigue as traders fret that valuations may have run ahead of themselves, while the yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury bonds -- a key red flag on inflation -- has spiked.
- That has led to worries the Fed will have to lift borrowing costs more quickly than expected, removing a key pillar of support for stocks. Powell sought to soothe those concerns Tuesday in the first of two congressional testimonies, saying inflation was expected to pick up and be "volatile" this year as Americans begin to spend more but told lawmakers the increases were unlikely to be large or persistent. He pledged to keep the bank's vast bond-buying scheme and low rates in place "until substantial further progress has been made toward our goals" of two percent inflation and full employment. He added that the rise in yields showed "confidence on the part of markets that we will have a robust and ultimately complete recovery".
- US inflation had averaged less than two percent over the past 25 years, he said.

- 'Balanced tone' -
His comments helped Wall Street bounce off intra-day lows, with the Dow and S&P 500 ending slightly higher. But the Nasdaq fell as tech firms that rely more heavily on financing are most at risk from high interest rates.
Powell's "success was striking a balanced tone", said Axi's Stephen Innes.
"Too dovish, and the chair risked exacerbating near-term inflation concerns, and too hawkish of a lean and the Street will increasingly price a withdrawal in liquidity. So overall, the balancing act seems mostly designed to keeping risk assets steering on an even keel."
But he warned the fear about rates remained in place, "and despite some great news on vaccine and stimulus, it's becoming increasingly apparent that the yield reaction to the reflation theme will likely be the central narrative of 2021".
- Hong Kong led Asia's losses as it tanked three percent after the city's financial secretary said he would lift stamp duty on stock trades -- the first in 28 years -- in his budget as the government looks to tighten its belt. Bourse operator HKEx collapsed more than 12 percent at one point before slightly recovering.
- Tokyo, Shanghai, Sydney, Seoul, Wellington, Taipei, Jakarta, Bangkok and Manila all saw significant losses, with technology firms taking the brunt of the selling.
- London and Frankfurt fell at the open while Paris was barely moved.
"The mega-cap sectors and stocks that benefitted from the Covid-19 pandemic stay-at-home (SAH) environment, weak economic activity, and new lows in fixed income yields have been giving way" to the recovery theme, said Canaccord Genuity equity strategist Tony Dwyer, adding the selling could worsen.

- On currency markets, the pound held on to gains to sit at levels not seen since April 2018 thanks to a strong rollout of vaccines across Britain that has allowed the government to set out a plan to reopen the country by the summer.

- Key figures around 0810 GMT-
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 1.6 percent at 29,671.70 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 3.0 percent at 29,718.24 (close)
Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 2.0 percent at 3,564.08 (close)
London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.5 percent at 6,594.68
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.4177 from $1.4106 at 2200 GMT
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.2157 from $1.2147
Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.75 pence from 86.08 pence
Dollar/yen: UP at 105.55 yen from 105.19 yen
West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.3 percent at $61.47 per barrel
Brent North Sea crude: FLAT at $65.38 per barrel
New York - Dow: UP less than 0.1 percent at 31,537.35 (close)

Feb 23 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices jumped by more than $1, underpinned by optimism over COVID-19 vaccine rollouts and lower output as U.S. supplies were slow to return after a deep freeze in Texas shut in crude production last week.
- Gold climbed to a one-week peak, bolstered by a weaker dollar and a retreat in U.S. Treasury yields, while concerns of rising inflation further boosted bullion's appeal.
- Copper prices hit a 9-1/2-year high as tight supply and solid demand from top consumer China boosted sentiment.
- Chicago wheat futures slid, giving up some of last session's strong gains although the market is trading near its highest since late January on concerns over cold weather threatening the U.S. crop.
- Raw sugar and arabica coffee futures rose sharply on Monday amid broad gains in the commodities complex, with oil rising sharply, and falling Covid cases in several countries boosting optimism.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose 2%, tracking a rally in crude oil and rival edible oils, though expectations for improving production capped gains.

- Palm oil prices rose further in late trading following a rally in soy and crude oils, a Kuala Lumpur-based trader says. Palm oil is used as a substitute for soy oil in similar products, and it is used with crude oil in biodiesel mixes. Higher export  expectations could also support prices, he says. The benchmark contract for May delivery closed MYR126 higher at MYR3,670 a ton on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange.

- Australia recorded a goods trade surplus of $8.754 billion in January. Imports of goods fell 10%, while exports of goods fell 9%. The export drop was led by a 10% fall in iron ore exports. Despite the decline, exports of iron ore are the second highest on record, the Australian Bureau of Statistics says. Imports were hit by a 10% drop in arrivals of cars. A drop in global car manufacturing is leading to supply shortages, driven by imports of road vehicles from Japan and Thailand, the ABS says.

Feb 22 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices rose as the slow return of U.S. crude output cut by frigid conditions raised concerns about supply, just as demand recovers from the depths of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Gold prices inched higher after hitting a more than seven-month low in the previous session, as support from a weaker dollar eclipsed pressure from firmer Treasury yields.
- London copper prices extended gains to cross the $9,000-a-tonne level for the first time since September 2011, driven by a weaker dollar and hopes that demand in top consumer China will pick up after the Lunar New Year holiday break.
- U.S. soybean futures rose for a second consecutive session after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) projected that domestic supplies of the oilseed would remain tight into 2022, stoking concerns of global supply.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE rose to the highest level in nearly four years on Friday to post a 7.5% gain in the week, buoyed by tightening short-term supplies.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose for a second straight session, tracking higher rival soyoil and Dalian oils after U.S. soybean supplies were projected to rise only slightly in marketing year 2021-2022.

- The US dollar weakens 0.2% against the euro and 0.4% against the yen. The WSJ Dollar Index falls 0.2%. "The acceleration and broadening of the repricing of global fixed income, and its feedthrough into FX add to our belief that the USD is in a multi-month process of bottoming out," JPMorgan says. "Although the yield backup this week was more of a global synchronized event, our main scenario still expects yields to be led by the US this year, especially with the large fiscal US package likely to be finalized in the coming weeks." The bank adds that rising US bond yields are close to a threshold where they pivot from being an overall drag on the dollar to being a support.

Feb 19 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- The U.S. dollar paused after its biggest loss in 10 days as disappointing U.S. labour market data bruised optimism for a speedy recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

- Oil prices slid by up to 2% in early trade, adding to overnight declines, on worries that refineries will take time to resume operations after the big freeze in the U.S. South, creating a gap in demand, while OPEC+ supplies were expected to rise.
- Gold prices fell to their lowest in more than seven months, on course for their worst week since the end of November, as rising U.S. Treasury yields eroded the non-yielding bullion's appeal. Industrial metals rose across the board in London and Shanghai, with benchmark
- LME copper hitting a fresh nine-year high, underpinned by a weak U.S. dollar and tight supply concerns.
- Chicago wheat futures slid on Friday but were poised for their biggest weekly gain since late January, underpinned by potential crop damage from U.S. cold weather and a forecast of lower output in Russia.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE hit their highest in nearly four years on Thursday, buoyed by nearby supply tightness and rising energy prices.
- Malaysian palm oil futures extended early gains, paring losses from a sharp fall in the previous session, on bargain buying and strength in rival soyoil.

- Iron-ore futures in China are lower in early Asian trade, retreating from gains on Thursday as the market  reopened after the Lunar New Year holidays. Investors could buy any big dips, given the iron-ore market is set for tight supply due to recovering steel demand globally, Huatai Futures says. The most-traded May iron-ore contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange is 1.7% lower at CNY1,101 a metric ton.

- Palm oil rises slightly in early trade, as dwindling supply of the commodity continues to support prices. However, as Malaysia has raised its reference price for March's palm oil export tax, this might weigh on demand, a Kuala Lumpur-based trader says. The benchmark contract for May delivery gains MYR11 to MYR3,500 a metric ton on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange.

- After months of investigating a mystery-seed saga that gripped the world last summer, USDA has launched a website with guidance to help online buyers and sellers of agricultural material better comply with US laws and protect the environment. The site lays out the steps e-commerce participants must take, like obtaining import permits and phytosanitary certificates, which were missing from the thousands of unsolicited seed packages that appeared in mailboxes worldwide last year. E-commerce companies Amazon and Wish have barred the foreign sales of seeds into the US, and USDA says it has been working closely with online companies to remove sellers illegally peddling seeds and to ensure the companies themselves comply with US import rules.

- The US dollar weakens against most major currencies, sending the WSJ Dollar Index 0.3% lower. The dollar softens 0.4% against the euro and 0.2% against the yen. Claims for unemployment benefits rose to a worse than expected 861,000. The dollar index rose following the news but didn't hold onto gains. TD Securities says the dollar is now positively correlated with the US stock market's performance compared with the MSCI global equity index, after moving in separate directions since the beginning of 2H. The firm says this may indicate that the idea the US economy will outperform might gain momentum and lift the dollar.

- US farmers will enter this upcoming spring with strong prices for agricultural goods and strong export demand for crops--making the outlook generally positive for farmers this year. "The ag economy has entered this year with one of the strongest financial outlooks in years," says Nathan Kauffman, vice president with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Speaking virtually at the USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum, Kauffman says that farm income and farm loan repayments have sharply risen in the latter half of 2020-- making credit conditions in agriculture better. According to USDA data, net cash income for farms is expected to rise 5.5% in 2021, although overall net income is expected to be down due to a sharp decline in direct government payments expected this year.

- Livestock futures trading on the CME finished mostly lower -- with live cattle futures dropping 1% to $1.22925 per pound while lean hog futures were virtually unchanged at 84.925 cents per pound. The drop in prices comes even as cold weather continues throughout the US Midwest, where temperatures are below zero degrees Fahrenheit. Boxed beef prices are currently not reflecting much in the way of a pinch in prices for cuts of beef, with these prices generally flat today, according to USDA data. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)

- Natural gas prices end lower after three straight sessions of increases, finishing down 4.3% at $3.082/mmBtu on concerns of warmer weather on the horizon. A weekly storage report was bearish compared to expectations added to the selling. EIA reported a 237B cubic feet withdrawal in storage last week, which was much higher than normal but below forecasts in a WSJ survey for a 215-bcf decline. The data left total storage at a 3% surplus to the five-year-average. Investors also sold the commodity as weather forecasters said chances for warmer-than-normal temperatures in the coming weeks seem to be outweighing cold chances.

- Mosaic may shut a Louisiana fertilizer plant for a few days due to cold weather, CEO Joc O'Rourke says on an earnings call. The plant, which makes phosphate fertilizer, has had problems with freezing, O'Rourke says, while the movement and unloading of the company's ships in the Gulf of Mexico have also been affected. The likely closure adds to the mounting toll of severe winter weather on the agriculture sector, though O'Rourke said the company is well equipped to deal with extreme weather events, comparing the disruption to slowdowns forced by annual hurricanes. Mosaic sinks 7.9% to $28.02.

- Continued tough winter weather in US wheat-growing areas is providing support for US wheat futures Thursday, with the most-active contract up 2.2% midday. Temperatures in the Midwest are expected to stay below seasonal averages through the weekend, according to DTN. With snow and temperatures below zero degrees Fahrenheit, winterkill concerns remain elevated among farmers and grains traders. During a presentation at the USDA's Agricultural Outlook Forum this morning, the USDA confirmed that it expects US wheat planting to rise slightly off of the 100-year low in planting seen last year -- but cautioned that adverse weather conditions could affect farmers' ability to plant.

Feb 18 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- The dollar held its ground after its first back-to-back gains in two weeks as upbeat data bolstered expectations that the U.S. economy would recover from the coronavirus pandemic faster than most of its peers.

- Oil prices rallied again to hit 13-month highs as concerns that a rare cold snap in Texas could disrupt U.S. crude output for days or even weeks prompted fresh buying.
- Gold prices clawed back from a 2-1/2-month low marked in the previous session, as U.S. Treasury yields retreated, lifting the non-yielding bullion's appeal.
- Copper prices jumped to their highest in nearly a decade as top metals consumer China returned from a week-long Lunar New Year holiday, with brightening demand prospects and supply concerns underpinning the market.
- Chicago wheat futures slid for a second straight session as concerns eased about crop losses from recent cold weather across the United States.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE hit their highest in nearly four years on Wednesday, with the front-month reaching a contract high, buoyed by optimism in the wider financial markets and by nearby supply tightness.
- Malaysian palm oil futures fell nearly 2%, reversing some of the previous session's gains despite a rally in rival oils, on fears of lower demand and as Malaysia raised its reference price for March export tax.

Feb 17 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- The dollar held the upper hand against low-yielding currencies, hitting a five-month high against the yen as U.S. bond yields jumped on the prospects of further economic recovery and a possible acceleration in inflation.

- Bullish oil prices marked time, as support from supply disruptions in the U.S. south caused by an Arctic blast was offset by expectations that OPEC+ producers may ease their output curbs after April.
- Gold prices extended losses for a fifth straight session, slipping to near two-week lows as soaring U.S. Treasury yields and a firmer dollar dented the bullion's appeal.
- Benchmark LME copper edged higher, hovering around 2012 highs on optimism about a global economic recovery that bodes well for metals demand, against the backdrop of tightening supply.
- Chicago wheat ticked lower as market participants took a breather after a more than 3% rally in the previous session, driven by cold weather across the U.S. grain belt which stoked concerns about crop losses.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE were higher on Tuesday, buoyed partly by further gains in global equity markets on sentiment that the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines could lead to a durable economic recovery.
- Malaysian palm oil futures climbed 3%, extending gains into a third session, as rival Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) soyoil rose and the ringgit weakened.

- January retail numbers show the last round of stimulus went further than expected, Capital Economics says. "The 5.3% m/m surge in retail sales in January completely smashed our own and the consensus expectation of a more modest 1% gain and highlights how quickly reopenings and the $600 stimulus checks have translated into stronger spending," CE says. It now believes 1Q GDP growth could be stronger than its 6% forecast, even though the research firm expects retail sales to fall back this month. "We are still comfortable with our forecast for 6.5% GDP growth in 2021, which is well above consensus."

- With the impeachment trial behind them, the Senate will get back to advancing President Joe Biden's nominees next week, including his pick to be deputy Treasury secretary. The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing to consider the nomination of Adewale "Wally" Adeyemo Feb. 23, according to a person familiar with the matter. Adeyemo, who would serve as Secretary Janet Yellen's right hand, served as deputy director of the National Economic Council and was a former international economic adviser during the Obama administration. He worked most recently as the president of Obama's foundation, and has previously worked at BlackRock.

Feb 16 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- The dollar fell to a three-week low, sterling hit an almost three-year high and commodity currencies rose as vaccination progress added to investors' recovery hopes.

- Oil prices rose as a cold front shut wells and refineries in Texas, the biggest crude producing state in the United States, the world's biggest oil producer.
- Platinum prices soared to their highest in nearly 6-1/2 years, fuelled by expectations that a rebound in the global economy would stoke demand for the metal used in autocatalysts.
- Copper prices advanced to their highest level in nearly nine years, boosted by optimism about a global economic recovery that bodes well for metal demand while supply is expected to remain tight.
- Chicago wheat futures rose to a one-week high, gaining more than 2%, as frigid temperatures in key U.S. growing areas raised worries about global supplies.
- White sugar futures on ICE rose on Monday, boosted by gains in global equity markets and crude oil, while London cocoa prices also climbed.
- Malaysian palm oil futures climbed more than 2% , extending gains into a second session on the back of cargo surveyor data showing higher exports, while stronger rival soyoil on the Chicago Board of Trade also lent support.

Feb 15 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- The dollar started the week pinned near two-week lows as traders questioned whether the recovery from the pandemic in the United States would be as fast as expected.

- Oil prices soared to their highest in about 13 months as fears of heightened tensions in the Middle East prompted fresh buying, while hopes that a U.S. stimulus and an easing of lockdowns will buoy fuel demand provided support.
- Platinum prices extended a rally to scale their highest in more than six years on firmer investor expectations that an economic recovery would boost demand for the auto-catalyst metal and lead to a supply shortfall.
- Benchmark copper leapt to its highest level in more than eight years, building on last week's solid gains driven by expectations of stronger demand and tight supply.
- U.S. wheat futures rose on Friday, supported by concerns that Arctic temperatures in key growing areas could damage the dormant crop during the weekend, traders said.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE closed down on Friday, extending a retreat from a near four-year peak set earlier in the week while white sugar also fell with the spot contract expiring and traders reporting a large delivery.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose over 2%, bouncing back from last session's losses and reaching their highest in more than a month, as a spike in crude oil prices made the vegetable oil a more attractive feedstock option for biodiesel.

- Biden's climate plan could boost the stock market, analysts say
Once the US Congress votes on a pandemic stimulus bill in March, the next item on president Joe Biden’s list of spending priorities is a $2 trillion infrastructure spending bill aimed at supporting an economy-wide transition away from fossil fuels. On Feb. 11, Biden met with congressional leaders in the Oval Office to chat about the bill, which his campaign has called the “largest mobilization of public investment since World War II.”
That plan, though costly, will likely benefit some of the country’s biggest companies, Bank of America analysts wrote in a research note on the same day. Big spending on things like home efficiency retrofits, renewable energy systems, and electric vehicle charging stations will mean bigger profits for companies in the industrial and raw materials sectors of the S&P 500, the country’s biggest companies by market cap. That’s good news for investors, the analysts wrote; they project that the infrastructure bill will boost the country’s GDP 1.9-8.6%, and notes that historically each percentage of GDP growth has translated to a 3-4% bump in overall S&P earnings.
For the Biden administration, the trick will be supporting the right kinds of construction activity. The industrial sector, which includes companies that supply building materials, build highways, produce heavy machinery, and similar activities, is a leading source of carbon emissions within the S&P 500.

Feb 12 - Today is New Year for many Asians:

Happy Losar to Tibetan friends; Happy Tet to Vietnamese friends; Happy Seollal to Korean friends; and Happy Lunar New Year to Chinese friends. Wish you all a prosperous year 2021.

Feb 12 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- The dollar headed for its first losing week in three as new signs of weakness in the U.S. jobs market dented investor expectations about the pace of economic recovery from the pandemic.

- Oil prices fell a second day, extending losses after OPEC cut its demand forecast and the International Energy Agency said the market was still over-supplied.
- Gold eased as the dollar and Treasury yields edged higher, but prices were on course for their best week in three as hopes of more U.S. stimulus underpinned the metal.
- London zinc was set to round out its best weekly performance since November on prospects for strong steel demand after the Lunar New Year, even though the holiday break in China drained volumes from the market.
- U.S. corn futures edged higher but the grain was poised to record weekly losses of 1% amid forecasts for bigger global supplies than previous expected.
- Raw and white sugar futures on ICE closed down on Thursday with heavy spreading activity, after hitting contract highs in the previous session amid nearby supply tightness.

- Twitter Market Value Surges To $50 Billion Despite Trump Ban, And Shares Could Run Another 25%
Shares of Twitter are surging to a seven-year high Wednesday after the social media giant reported fourth-quarter earnings Tuesday after the close that blew past analyst expectations, tempering concerns on Wall Street that the firm's recently booming growth may "implode" as a result of the platform's decision to ban former President Donald Trump.
As of 11:15 a.m. Eastern, shares of Twitter were surging nearly 9% on Wednesday, tacking on to highs reached in early February and boosting the firm's market cap to $51.5 billion–a level unseen since the firm’s early days as a public company in January 2014.
In a note to clients Wednesday morning, Pivotal Research analyst Michael Levine boosted his price target on Twitter shares to $77.25, giving the stock about 25% upside to current levels as a result of "meaningful acceleration" in advertising revenues of $1.2 billion last quarter–nearly 12% more than analysts expected.
The firm's total revenue of roughly $1.3 billion also eclipsed analyst expectations, climbing about 30% year over year and coming in 10% above average analyst expectations; earnings per share of 38 cents were nearly 25% higher than the average forecast.
A slew of other analysts, hailing from firms including MKM Partners, JP Morgan and KeyBanc reiterated their buy or overweight ratings on Twitter stock Wednesday, but the firm's average price target of $50 (from 36 analysts issuing such guidance) is still about 30% shy of current prices hovering around $65.

Nota from Twitter CFO: Trump Won’t Ever Be Allowed Back — Even If He Runs Again In 2024 (Forbes)

- Forced Sale of TikTok's US Operations Shelved as Biden Reviews Security
The US has indefinitely shelved the forced sale of TikTok's US operations to a group that includes Walmart (WMT) and Oracle (ORCL), The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. President Joe Biden is reviewing efforts by his predecessor Donald Trump to confront potential security issues from Chinese tech companies, the news outlet said.
Discussions on national data security and privacy between US officials and TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, have not led to a decisive plan to address the concerns, The Wall Street Journal said.

Feb 11 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- The dollar was pinned near two-week lows through a holiday-thinned Asia session, after soft U.S. inflation and another Federal Reserve promise to keep rates low reinforced expectations of meagre returns from the reserve currency.

- Oil prices fell, giving up some of the recent strong gains on profit-taking and speculation that the market's strength could tempt producers like Saudi Arabia to reduce output by less.
- Gold edged lower as the dollar's recovery from a two-week trough hit in the previous session and a softer U.S. inflation data dampened bullion's appeal.
- London copper prices fell, slipping from an eight- year high hit in the previous session, as data showed soft U.S. inflation while trading was tepid during a major holiday in top consumer China.
- Chicago corn futures fell 1.4%, dropping to their lowest level in more than two weeks, as a smaller-than-expected decline in stocks weighed on the market for a second session.
- Raw and white sugar futures on ICE closed up on Wednesday, with front-month positions for both commodities hitting contract highs, buoyed by a supportive macroeconomic backdrop and nearby supply tightness.
- Malaysian palm oil futures fell 2% and snapped a five-day rally, tracking U.S. soyoil, as traders booked profits ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.

Feb 10 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- The dollar hit two-week lows as demand for safer assets ebbed on Wednesday, with traders looking ahead to an expected recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic this year, driven by massive fiscal and monetary stimulus.

- Oil prices rose again, extending their more than week-long rally after industry data showing a fall in U.S. crude oil stocks added to optimism about an expected rise in global fuel demand.
- Gold rose, hovering near a one-week peak hit in the previous session, as a weaker dollar and rising hopes of a U.S. stimulus elevated bullion's appeal as a hedge against inflation.
- London copper prices hit a near eight-year high, while Shanghai prices also rose, as tight inventories and hopes for more U.S. stimulus boosted sentiment.
- Chicago corn futures fell 0.8% after the U.S. Department of Agriculture pegged its end of season inventory estimates above market expectations.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE closed up on Tuesday, buoyed by a more supportive economic backdrop and positive short-term fundamentals.
- Malaysian palm oil futures reversed early losses, extending a three-day climb to hit a near one-month high, lifted by a jump in exports during Feb. 1-10.

- US benchmark oil price rise a slight 0.1% to $58.42 a barrel after the EIA reports a third straight week of declines in US oil inventories that leaves total stockpiles at 469M barrels, the lowest since mid March and just 2% above the five-year average. But the same report also shows US gasoline stockpiles jumped by 4.3M barrels last week as gasoline demand stayed below 8M bpd for a third straight week, a sign coronavirus is still hurting demand. Also, US oil production increased for the first week in nearly three months, rising 100k bpd to 11M bpd. If that turns into a trend, oil prices could turn south.

- Livestock futures trading on the CME are a mixed picture, with live-cattle futures declining 1% while lean-hog futures gain 1.5%. While yesterday's Wasde forecast higher livestock slaughters and production in 2021, the decline seen in grains futures has provided some support for livestock futures, as evident in hogs. Also supporting hog futures is an uptick in cutout prices. "Spot markets were both quoted solidly higher yesterday afternoon, the cutout back above $85 [per hundredweight] and the national base cash hog market up $3+ and back above $64 for the first time in four months," StoneX says.

- Platinum prices jump to a six-year high after Johnson Matthey says a deficit of the metal deepened last year. Comex platinum futures are up 5.1% at $1,256 a troy ounce--their highest level since January 2015. Platinum supply exceeded demand by 390,000 tons in 2020 compared with 301,000 tons in 2019, the company says. For 2021, Matthey expects supply and demand to return to pre-pandemic levels, with a recovery in car-making and stricter emissions standards expected to lift demand. For investors "there may be potential for further buying, in response to platinum's large discount to gold, and the prospect of additional use in gasoline autocatalysts and fuel cells," Rupen Raithatha, market research director at Johnson Matthey, says.

- Grain futures trading on the CBOT are down this morning, with traders opting to take profits from high prices in reaction to a muted movement in stockpile figures by the USDA. "The WASDE numbers triggered a round of profit taking that continued into the overnight trade last night," says Tomm Pfitzenmaier of Summit Commodity Brokerage. "The USDA numbers were nowhere near what trade has been assuming given the export sales reports recently and given the crop reports out of South America, so it looks like we are going to have a little readjustment period and then have to wait for the March report." Overnight, corn futures fell 1.8%, soybean futures dropped 1.3%, and wheat futures fell 1.5%.

- Bunge CEO Greg Heckman says the global agriculture industry will be dealing with a tighter supply of grains and oilseeds for some time. A monthslong buying spree among Chinese grain importers and tough growing conditions for some South American farmers have sent crop prices surging, and boosted profit margins for Bunge's business trading and processing those crops. "This isn't going to solve itself with one crop in South America," Heckman says. For companies like Bunge, "the overall environment is definitely better than we've seen for years."

- Heavy crop sales from South American farmers helped propel Bunge's big 4Q, but the company doesn't expect that to necessarily repeat as 2021 unfolds. Farmers in Brazil heavily marketed crops in recent months as dry South American weather helped ignite a global rally in grain markets, and boosted Bunge's operations in the southern hemisphere, but that's declined, and Bunge says it isn't counting on the same situation playing out in the months ahead. "That's not likely to happen the same way," says CEO Greg Heckman.

- WTI oil prices rise 0.6% at $58.69 a barrel, which is a nearly 13-month-high and puts the market on course for an eighth consecutive increase. Driving this morning's bullish momentum is a report late Tuesday from trade group API that showed US oil inventories fell last week by 3.5M barrels. This could mean the official EIA data at 10:30 am ET will also show a decline, although analysts surveyed by WSJ were forecasting a small, 100k-barrel increase. A decline would mark a third straight week of decreases and would reinforce the view that global supplies are tightening as OPEC, the US and other top producers keep a lid on production.

- Natural gas prices are slightly lower, down 0.4% at $2.823/mmBtu as investors weigh the potential for a warming trend in late February against current, frigid temperatures that are causing demand to spike and are significantly reducing long-bloated storage levels. Kevin Sakofs at S&P Global Platts says tomorrow's storage report alone may show a large enough decline in inventories for a 1.5% surplus compared to a year ago to flip to a small deficit for the first time since 2019. He adds that the 8% surplus compared to the five-year average could be whittled away over the coming weeks.

- US stock futures climb as investors continue to sift through quarterly results. Bunge up 4% in premarket trading as the agricultural commodities company posts a larger-than-expected 4Q profit and raises yearly guidance. Ride-hailing company Lyft up 12% after posting a narrower annual loss even as the coronavirus pandemic slammed its business. Uber Technologies, scheduled to release results after the market closes, is up 7% premarket. Twitter rising 7% after the social-media company added users through the holiday quarter and said it continued to add more in January. Cisco drops 5% after it said F2Q revenue and profit declined. Later this morning January CPI is forecast to rise 0.3%. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell speaks at an Economic Club of New York event this afternoon. S&P futures are up 12 points.

- Palm oil prices gained in late trade on higher exports, a Kuala Lumpur-based trader says. The latest data released by cargo surveyor AmSpec showed exports for Feb. 1-10 rose 47% on month, indicating recovering demand. Lower production of the edible oil amid floods and foreign labor shortages in Malaysia also likely supported prices, he adds. The Malaysian Palm Oil Board indicated that production in January fell 15.5% on month. The benchmark contract for April delivery closed up MYR54 at MYR3,626 a ton on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange.

- Gold edges higher, caught between inflation expectations and the global coronavirus vaccination campaign. Comex futures are up 0.4% at $1,845.20 a troy ounce. After ending 2020 on a strong note, the metal has mostly trundled lower this year, as it faces conflicting pushes and pulls, Standard Chartered says. The rollout of vaccines in the U.S. could push the dollar higher, which would weaken gold, while an economic recovery could see the Fed pull back on the easy monetary policies that have supported markets. However, President Biden's stimulus package is likely to drive up inflation and the fiscal deficit, bolstering the case for gold. Nonetheless, Standard Chartered expects real bond yields will remain low or negative, and suggests dips below $1,800 an ounce make attractive buying opportunities.

- Thyssenkrupp posted a decent set of results for the first quarter of its fiscal year and showed a strong earnings recovery, analysts at Citi say. According to the analysts, EBIT came in positive for the German industrial company after three consecutive quarters with EBIT losses. "While the ongoing recovery in the auto sector in Europe was expected to drive stronger results, we note that positive EBIT in steel Europe is notable, given the full impact of higher steel prices is likely to come from 2Q FY21 onwards," they say. Shares in Thyssenkrupp trade 5.4% higher at EUR10.48.

Feb 09 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- The dollar slumped to its lowest in a week as investors began entertaining doubts about the scale of a recent rally driven by expectations of a faster pandemic recovery in the United States than elsewhere.

- Oil prices edged up to their highest in 13 months as supply cuts by major producers and optimism over fuel demand recovery support energy markets.
- Gold prices rose to a near one-week high as the dollar faltered and expectations firmed that a massive U.S. fiscal stimulus to revive the world's largest economy will soon be passed.
- Copper prices advanced as a weaker dollar made greenback-priced metals on the London Metal Exchange more appealing to holders of other currencies.
- Chicago corn futures gained more ground, rising to their highest since June 2013 on expectations that a widely watched U.S. report is expected to show tightening global supplies.
- White sugar futures on ICE rose to their highest in nearly four years on Monday, buoyed by physical supply tightness that has spurred interest in the front-month March contract ahead of this week's expiry.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose 3% to hit a near one-month high, boosted by demand optimism and strength in rival Dalian and soyoil ahead of a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report that is pegged to show tighter global supplies.

Feb 08 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- The dollar steadied against most currencies as traders awaited more data on the U.S. economy after a disappointing jobs report last week slammed the breaks on a rally in the greenback.

- Oil prices rose to their highest in just over a year, with Brent futures nudging past $60 a barrel, boosted by supply cuts among key producers and hopes for further U.S. economic stimulus measures to boost demand.
- Gold prices edged higher, as softer U.S. jobs data cemented hopes of further fiscal stimulus and pressured the dollar, although bullion's gains were capped by higher Treasury yields.
- Copper prices rose as optimism around a U.S. stimulus raised hopes of better demand for metals and a recovery in the world's biggest economy.
- Chicago soybean futures rose, gaining for three out of four sessions, boosted by expectations of strong demand led by top buyer China.
- White sugar futures on ICE rose to their highest level in nearly four years on Friday with the market buoyed by the strength of front month March in the run-up to next week's expiry.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose for a third straight session, lifted by expectations of weak January stocks and lower production while tracking higher rival Dalian and soyoil prices.


- The December Caixin China general services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) was 56.3. The reading, while lower than November’s 57.8, was still one of the highest over the past decade, said Caixin. “The fall is in line with the decline in the official non-manufacturing PMI for the services sector, released earlier, as sporadic Covid-19 outbreaks domestically forced some local governments to tighten social distancing requirements and stalled (or even reversed) the services sector recovery,” wrote Nomura in a research note. “The unfavourable base effects from high services PMI readings in previous months could be another factor for the December decline.”

- China’s December foreign exchange reserves were close to $3.217tr, showing a $38bn monthly increase, according to the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (Safe). The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has set its working goals for 2021, which include making “prudent monetary policy more flexible and targeted”. It also plans to better monitor and regulate financial institutions and financial activities by internet platforms. The central bank said it will increase the connectivity of bond market infrastructure, and improve the mechanism to deal with domestic defaults, with harsher punishment for fraudulent issuance of bonds.

- The forex regulator Safe has also set itself some targets for this year. Among them is a move to push forward private equity funds’ cross-border investment trials, reform the foreign debt registration and management system, and ease cross-border investment and financing rules. The PBoC and Safe decided to lower the “macro-prudential adjustment parameter” for Chinese corporations from 1.25 back to the pre-Covid-19 level of 1, following a similar adjustment for financial institutions in December. The move is expected to help China manage foreign debt risks, given it means that Chinese corporates and financial institutions can borrow 25% less foreign debt. The parameter, raised to 1.25 from 1 last March, is one of three factors in a formula used by the two regulators to calculate the maximum amount of outstanding foreign debt a Chinese issuer can have.

- China has extended its relief policy for inclusive financing for small and micro-sized enterprises (SMEs) to March 31, after current support measures expired at the end of 2020. Lenders have been told to extend repayments of SME loans due between January and March “if they should be extended”.

- The Ministry of Finance has revealed new benchmarks for the performance evaluation of Chinese commercial banks. Lenders used to be evaluated by their profitability, business growth, asset quality and solvency ratios. The new criteria will be based on their performance in four areas: their ability to serve the development goals of China and the real economy, the quality of their own development, their ability to control and prevent risks, and their operational efficiency.

- The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) published guidance to help mitigate risks at village and town banks. Chinese banking regulation requires the largest shareholder in these lenders to be a bigger bank, with a minimum 20% equity interest. The bank parents are encouraged to inject capital into village and town banks and help dispose of their non-performing assets. Other measures proposed by the CBIRC include mergers and acquisitions among village and town lenders and the introduction of strategic investors.

- Foreign holdings in Chinese bonds through the China Central Depository & Clearing Co (CCDC) jumped 53.7% year-on-year in December to Rmb2.9tr. In December, 468 overseas institutional investors participated in the China interbank bond market (CIBM) through the CIBM Direct scheme, and 625 through Bond Connect, said the China Foreign Exchange Trading System (Cfets). These included 15 new investors, 13 of which entered through Bond Connect. Net inflow in the CIBM was Rmb1.75bn last month. The monthly trading volume dropped 10% compared to November to Rmb784.8bn, according to Cfets.

- Standard Chartered expects Rmb1.3tr-Rmb1.5tr of foreign capital inflow into China’s bond market in 2021, and overseas holding of onshore bonds to rise to Rmb4.5tr-Rmb4.7tr from Rmb3.1tr at the end of November 2020, the bank said in a report.

- Six Chinese regulators, including the PBoC and Safe, published a 15-point regulation on cross-border renminbi business to support foreign trade and investment. The new rules simplify the settlement process, optimise the management of cross-border RMB investment and financing, and facilitate the use of RMB settlement accounts for non-Chinese institutions. The regulations also allow domestic Chinese banks to open RMB settlement accounts for Hong Kong and Macau residents with a Rmb80,000 daily personal limit.

- The Shanghai municipal government plans for 10 state-owned companies to list on the Star market by 2022, as part of a new three-year plan for the reform of local state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Shanghai said it will introduce strategic investors to listed SOEs with large government shareholdings. It also plans to focus the reform on innovative areas including integrated circuits, biopharmaceuticals, artificial intelligence and digital city.

- US President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning transactions with eight Chinese software applications on national security concerns. These include Alibaba’s Alipay, as well as messaging app Tencent QQ, QQ Wallet and WeChat Pay. The apps can access personal electronic devices, including smartphones and computers, and collect “personal and proprietary information” of Americans. This would “permit China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, and build dossiers of personal information”, the order said. A Chinese Ministry of Commerce (Mofcom) spokesperson said Trump’s order is “a deviation from the principle of fair competition” and violates international economic and trade rules. It not only damages the rights and interests of Chinese companies but also that of consumers including American users, as well as confidence of international investors in the business environment in the US, the Mofcom added.

- China Huarong Asset Management Company’s chairman Lai Xiaomin was sentenced to death by a Chinese court. Huarong is one of the country’s biggest state-owned bad-debt managers. Lai Xiaomin was convicted by the Secondary Intermediate People’s Court of Tianjin of bribery, corruption and bigamy. The court sentence stated that Lai received or sought Rmb1.788bn in bribes between 2008 and 2018.

Feb 05 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- The dollar headed for its best weekly gain in three months, lifted by growing confidence that the U.S. economic recovery will outpace global peers.

- Oil prices climbed to their highest levels in a year, extending a run of strong gains on signs of economic growth in the United States and a continued commitment by producers to hold back crude supply.
- Gold inched up, recovering from a more than two-month low hit in the previous session, but the precious metal was set for its biggest weekly drop since end-November pressured by a firmer dollar.
- London copper prices edged up, but the contract was on track for a second week of losses due to a firm dollar and demand worries from top consumer China.
- U.S. corn futures edged lower, although confirmation of soaring demand from China kept prices at a more than seven-year high.
- White sugar futures on ICE closed slightly up on Thursday as the market consolidated from a nearly four-year peak hit earlier this week, with continuous support from short-term supply tightness.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose for a second day, lifted by stronger rival Dalian oils and industry forecasts pegging a decline in January production, but the contract is set for a 3.5% weekly decline.

- The S&P has its best week since early November as investors continue to bet on a fresh coronavirus-relief package following another downbeat monthly jobs report. The Senate approves a budget plan that advances the reconciliation process necessary to get President Biden's aid plan approved with a simple majority. Johnson & Johnson gains 1.5% after it asked US regulators to authorize the emergency use of its Covid-19 vaccine. DJIA gains 92 points to 31148, the S&P 500 adds 15 to 3886, and the Nasdaq rises 78 to 13856. The S&P and Nasdaq mark new all-time highs.

- Base metals jump as investors' appetite for riskier assets returns amid hopes for the U.S. economy and stimulus measures. Three-month copper on the LME rises 1.3% to $7,912 a metric ton, aluminum gains 0.8% to $2,011 a ton and nickel rose 1.7% to $17,905 a ton. Global markets see riskier assets--such as stocks, oil and base metals--rising in tandem. "Risk appetite continued to surge in response to more vaccines being available in the U.S. and better-than-expected initial unemployment claims," says TD Securities. Investors are also hopeful that the Biden administration can pass another round of stimulus measures, providing extra support to the U.S. economy.

- Australian shares look set to open strongly following a positive lead from US stocks, which gained amid cautious optimism about Covid-19 vaccine rollouts and economic recovery. ASX futures are up by 1.0%, pointing to a resumption of the S&P/ASX 200's recent gains. The benchmark slipped 0.9% Thursday after rising 3.3% across the previous three sessions. The S&P 500 rose 1.1% and closed at a record. The DJIA also rose 1.1%, while the Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.2% to a fresh record. Ahead of the local open, News Corp reported a 40% rise in 2Q segment Ebitda, while REA said 1H underlying profit rose 13%.

Feb 04 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- The dollar edged toward its strongest in more than two months against the euro and the yen as pessimism about the U.S. economic outlook receded before the release of important data on the jobs market.

- Oil prices extended gains after the OPEC+ alliance of major producers stuck to a reduced output policy, and as crude stockpiles in the United States fell to their lowest levels since March last year.
- Gold and silver prices fell as a firmer dollar dented their appeal, while investors look forward to the passage of a massive stimulus package in the United States and the Bank of England's interest rate decision.
- Copper prices rose boosted by easing liquidity worries in China and as solid economic data and progress on stimulus in the United States raised hopes of a global economic recovery.
- U.S. corn futures edged higher, hovering near a more than seven-year high, as the market awaited data expected to confirm strong Chinese demand for U.S. supplies.
- White sugar futures on ICE closed slightly lower on Wednesday, easing back after reaching a near four-year peak in the prior session, while New York cocoa futures lost 2.8% amid a negative market outlook.
- Malaysian palm oil futures snapped two sessions of losses to trade more than 1% higher, as traders anticipated further inventory declines in January.

- Rep. Peter DeFazio, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, says he has doubts about requiring Covid-19 tests before all domestic flights. CDC officials have said they're actively considering such a policy, but DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat, says there is not enough testing capacity to implement that and says he questions whether such a requirement would be effective. Airlines are adamantly opposed to a requirement that passengers on domestic flights be tested for Covid-19, saying it would crush travel demand.

- As many as 13,000 American Airlines workers could be furloughed once federal aid runs out at the end of March, the airline says, as the hoped-for travel recovery remains elusive. Airlines including American recalled laid-off workers after receiving $15B in federal aid in December. "We fully believed that we would be looking at a summer schedule where we'd fly all of our airplanes and need the full strength of our team. Regrettably, that is no longer the case," the airline's top executives tell employees. The airline says it will begin issuing formal notices required under US law on Friday. The airline cites slower-than-expected vaccine distribution and new testing requirements for international travel as factors that have dampened demand. Unions that represent flight attendants have started asking for another $15B to cover airline workers' salaries through the end of September.

- Gen. John Raymond, the Pentagon's chief of space operations, has given his most detailed explanation of why the military seeks closer collaboration with NASA and how that will benefit the US. He tells reporters cooperation is expected to ramp up under the Biden administration and save taxpayers money, adding that the goals include improving the safety of all US space assets and establishing international rules of behavior beyond the atmosphere. As part of the new initiatives, the Space Force also is looking to benefit from commercial-space programs including small satellites, small rockets and other new technologies. As the latest official member of the country's intelligence community, the year-old Space Force is looking at ways to take advantage of commercial-space advances to enhance ground and space surveillance.

- Capri Holdings, the parent of Versace, Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo, expects to take a 1% hit from higher transportation costs and potential tariff hikes this year, Finance Chief Thomas Edwards says. At issue are record-high freight rates as retailers race to restock and the Biden administration's to-be-determined trade-policy actions. Capri has benefited from a trade program called the Generalized System of Preferences, which provides low or no tariffs for certain countries exporting into the US. The program has yet to be renewed since its termination at the end of 2020. "In the past it has been renewed," Edwards says, "but as we all know there are a lot of different priorities right now for Congress..."

- Monthly FBI background checks passed 4M for the first time in January, climbing more than 60% from a year ago and continuing the bull market driven by fears over civil unrest and the pandemic. Executives at Olin, which produces Winchester-brand ammo, note at an investor event that there are an estimated 2.5 times more active shooting sports participants than golfers in the US. The 4.32M background checks are a proxy for industry sales, and Olin's ammo business more than doubled in 4Q and is expected to rise sequentially from that record through the rest of the year, says Fermium Research, which hosted the event.

- Even before President Biden nominates a new NASA administrator, government and industry officials expect the agency to make a policy and public relations shift emphasizing that space exploration will help scientists better understand climate change back on earth. The new justification is expected to help shape future budgets and reset NASA's relations with Congressional leaders, according to these officials. Already, NASA's acting chief has appointed a prominent agency scientist and climate expert as the primary in-house official responsible for advocating earth science research. Major NASA contractors anticipate that the goals of many human and robotic space exploration projects will be reframed to stress ultimate benefits to climate change studies.

- Comcast says this week it's upping the speed for its "Internet Essentials" package meant for low-income customers. Comcast will now offer 50-megabits per second of download speed at $9.95 a month to qualified customers, up from 25mbps. The move, which comes without a price increase, is occurring after local politicians called for Comcast to improve low-income internet packages during the coronavirus pandemic when millions have been working and learning from home.

- Georgia Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, fresh off their victories in two Senate runoff elections last month, are both set to join the Senate Banking Committee, with broad oversight of financial services and housing policy, according to people familiar with the committee membership in the new Congress. Under the chairmanship of Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio), the panel is expected to focus on housing and banking services for low-income Americans. Brown also plans to hold a hearing the trading mania around shares of companies like GameStop.

Feb 03 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- The dollar traded near a two-month high versus the euro as investors looked to a widening disparity between the strength of the U.S. and Europe's pandemic recoveries.

- Oil prices rose in Asia after hitting their highest in about a year in the previous session, supported by an unexpected draw in U.S. crude stockpiles and an OPEC+ estimate of a global oil market deficit this year.
- Silver prices rebounded after an over 8% plunge in the previous session prompted investors to buy in, although the social media-driven rally that started last week appears to have run out of steam.
- Copper prices in Shanghai hit their lowest in eight weeks, while prices also fell in London, dragged down by demand concerns ahead of a major holiday in top consumer China.
- U.S. corn futures edged lower for a second consecutive session as prices retreated from a more than seven-year high, though losses were checked by strong demand.
- White sugar futures on ICE hit their highest in nearly four years on Tuesday, boosted by talk of strong physical demand and supply tightness linked to shipping container shortages.
- Malaysian palm oil futures plunged more than 3%, tracking deep losses in rivals Dalian and soyoil, as fears of continuing weak exports after top buyer India imposed higher taxes weighed on sentiment.

- The US food system is due for a supply-chain upgrade, according to President Biden's pick for USDA secretary. Tom Vilsack envisions a system in which farmers can sell their products into local food hubs, providing farm goods raised nearby to schools, universities or prisons. A new and improved food supply chain would address current conditions that require farmers to spend money to process their goods for distribution at local food banks, and boost the capacity of food banks to collect, store and refrigerate their donations. "There's an entire supply chain program here that needs to be put in place," Vilsack said. "USDA can affect every aspect of that."

- The Biden administration appears to have eased its policy of rejecting certain permits that allow pipelines across federal acreage, ConocoPhillips Chief Executive Ryan Lance says. The administration's 60-day federal permitting freeze had included a pause on easements, which could deter some drilling on state or private land surrounded by federal acreage. "We're already starting to see, frankly, a bit of loosening up of that," Lance says. "Some permits [are] getting approved that they said even during this moratorium wouldn't get approved." Lance says he expects the Biden administration will allow oil companies to "get back to business as usual or at least something close to it," following the temporary moratorium.

- Markets, markets, markets. Tom Vilsack, President Biden's pick for Agriculture secretary, says the way to stabilize the US farm economy is to expand farmers' access to new markets both at home and abroad. "Stable, secure trade policies that don't create havoc and put us at a competitive disadvantage would be helpful," says Vilsack, adding that southeast Asia and Africa are promising markets for US farm goods, and that competitors already are making inroads in those places. Boosting domestic markets for smaller agricultural producers and creating novel markets for climate-friendly practices and agricultural waste are also high priorities, Vilsack says.

- A once-obscure Depression-era program is in the spotlight as USDA nominee Tom Vilsack asks Congress for flexibility to tap the Commodity Credit Corp. for use encouraging farmers to adopt climate-smart practices on their land. The CCC, which permits borrowing of as much as $30B from the Treasury to finance its activities, has long been used to fund farm programs, typically authorized through the farm bill. Congress had restricted use of the CCC during Vilsack's previous tenure, and such restrictions were lifted during the Trump administration, allowing it to fund billions of dollars of payments to farmers to help cushion the blow from trade disputes and the coronavirus pandemic. "Secretary Perdue had great flexibility under the current Covid situation and I would ask for the same opportunity to use it," Vilsack says.

- Cattle ranchers have long complained that decades of meatpacker consolidation has left them with few buyers for their livestock, and Tom Vilsack, the Biden administration's nominee to head the USDA, agrees. Vilsack goes further in his confirmation hearing before the Senate agriculture committee, saying Covid-19 has shown the need for more options for slaughtering and processing livestock. "When one or two processing facilities shut down during Covid, it created havoc in the market," Vilsack says. "We need alternative processing facilities."

- In the US farm belt, carrots will work better than sticks to get farmers and ranchers on board with the Biden administration's plans to achieve net-zero US carbon emissions, says Tom Vilsack, President Biden's nominee to head the USDA. "If it's voluntary and incentive based, you will see farmers and ranchers cooperate extensively," he says at his nomination hearing. Vilsack suggests putting together an advisory group of farmers who would help the agency structure a carbon sequestration effort that could compensate farmers for capturing greenhouse gases in soil.

- Tom Vilsack, President Biden's pick for Agriculture secretary, pledged to address racial discrimination across USDA, speaking to concerns raised about how much he would do to advance the cause of minority farmers and ranchers. Vilsack said there would be zero tolerance for discrimination within his agency and opportunities to "lift the burden of those most in need." John Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association, said that while Black farmers enjoyed some legislative successes during Vilsack's previous tenure at USDA, not enough was done to address the agency's long legacy of discrimination against Black farmers. "Today our members face enormous challenges - including a system that disproportionately leaves them behind during a pandemic," he said.

- Century Aluminum is praising President Joe Biden's last-minute decision to maintain a 10% tariff on raw aluminum imported to the US from the United Arab Emirates. "This action is an important step towards maintaining this essential US supply chain capability and for keeping our diverse workforce employed in family-supporting jobs," says CEO Michael Bless in a statement. Chicago-based Century has been one of the leading proponents of the aluminum duty. Former President Donald Trump decided to lift the duty on UAE aluminum shortly before leaving office and replaced it with a quota on all imports of aluminum from the UAE. Century jumps 9.6% while rival Alcoa gains 2%.

Feb 02 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices rose around 1% after major producers showed they were cutting crude output in line with their commitments on restraint, supporting a market thrown out of kilter by weak demand during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Silver dropped more than 2%, retreating from a near eight-year peak it hit in the previous session, as a margin hike by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange prompted investors to lock in profits.  
- Base metals prices mostly fell, as investors were cautious about a major-holiday-led drop in demand and volumes in top consumer China.
- U.S. corn futures fell for the first time in seven sessions, weighed by a stronger U.S. dollar , although strong demand for supplies kept prices near a more than a seven-year high.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE were higher on Monday, boosted by nearby supply tightness in the physical market, while arabica coffee and cocoa prices also advanced in a positive day for most commodities and equities.
- Malaysian palm oil futures fell as a steep drop in January exports stoked demand concerns, while an additional tax imposed by top vegetable oil importer India also weighed on sentiment.

- President Biden has tasked Tom Vilsack, his nominee to head the USDA, with helping the US agricultural sector reduce carbon emissions. But as Vilsack's nomination hearing begins in Washington, Sen. John Boozman (R., Ark.) warns the once and potential future USDA secretary against overreach. "Heavy-handed, one-size-fits-all regulations simply will not work," Boozman says, urging Vilsack to advocate for farmers' environmental work up to this point in his dealings with the White House and other agencies. Fears of stricter environmental regulations were a major factor in US farmers' solid support for former president Donald Trump, who generally opposed such measures.

- Boston Fed leader Eric Rosengren said that in the current effort to lift the U.S. economy out of the coronavirus pandemic, "I don't want to say that the burden is all on monetary policy, I actually think most of the burden is actually on fiscal policy when interest rates are as low as they are." New research from the San Francisco Fed backs that view up. "Research suggests that expanding government spending is not very effective at stimulating an economy in normal times," writes Regis Barnichon, Davide Debortoli, and Christian Matthes in a paper made public by the bank Monday. "However, in deep downturns when monetary policy is constrained at the zero lower bound, public spending is more potent and can become an effective way to escape a recession," they wrote.

- The meatpacking industry's management of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the response of federal workplace safety authorities, is under review by the House of Representatives' coronavirus subcommittee. Congressional members are seeking information from meat giants Tyson Foods, JBS USA and Smithfield Foods over their responses to outbreaks among plant workers, and want the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to turn over data on workplace Covid-19 complaints and inspections by Feb. 22. Spokesmen for JBS and Smithfield say they welcome the opportunity to outline coronavirus mitigation efforts, including barriers between work stations, distancing in break rooms, new ventilation systems and testing.

- One of the pressing issues awaiting President Biden's Pentagon appointees is how to increase cooperation with allies regarding joint space operations, defending in-orbit assets and reducing the extent of classified material in this new warfighting domain. Last year, then-Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett told a government-industry symposium that "no kidding," allies had to understand that more joint space operations and information-sharing were essential. To reach that goal, she said, it was "time for us to take another look at" how much information about space capabilities is classified. Divulging more information publicly, she and others have argued, could actually deter foes by revealing the extent of US space capabilities. The same point has been made by other Pentagon leaders, pushing for broader international collaboration by potentially adding some Asian allies to existing cooperative arrangements with Australia and several European countries.

- The Trump administration's highest-profile shift in space policy was creating the Space Force. But perhaps as important, aerospace industry leaders and government officials say, were policies creating what has been called a "whole-of-government" approach promoting US space dominance. The strategy was memorialized in a flurry of White House directives and policy pronouncements issued days before President Biden's inauguration. The outgoing White House team emphasized that by promoting collaboration between the Pentagon and civilian agencies such as NASA, it "successfully aligned space policies, programs and budgets with enduring national interests" related to space. Now, the Biden team is mulling its own path to benefit from such partnerships to counter Chinese and Russian space ambitions.

Feb 01 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Commodities, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- The safe-haven dollar found support at the start of a new week with traders remaining wary amid the battle on Wall Street between hedge funds and retail investors.

- Oil prices rose after a weak start, adding to the gains of the last three months, although patchy coronavirus vaccine rollouts, new infections and the discovery of new variants are casting a shadow over the outlook for demand.
- Silver rallied for a third straight session, soaring as much as 7.4% to a near six-month peak, after social media posts since last week called for retail investors to flood into the market.
- Copper prices edged higher as investors were relieved that China, the world's biggest metals consumer, might not be tightening credit as much as expected.
- U.S. corn futures rose more than 1% to hit a six-year high, driven up by strong Chinese demand.
- Cocoa futures settled higher on Friday after hitting a two-week low in the previous session, bolstered by stockpile data and stronger equities performance.

- The Trump administration's highest-profile shift in space policy was creating the Space Force. But perhaps as important, aerospace industry leaders and government officials say, were policies creating what has been called a "whole-of-government" approach promoting US space dominance. The strategy was memorialized in a flurry of White House directives and policy pronouncements issued days before President Biden's inauguration. The outgoing White House team emphasized that by promoting collaboration between the Pentagon and civilian agencies such as NASA, it "successfully aligned space policies, programs and budgets with enduring national interests" related to space. Now, the Biden team is mulling its own path to benefit from such partnerships to counter Chinese and Russian space ambitions.

- European pharmaceutical companies with a large U.S. presence--such as Roche--are now facing higher risks to drug pricing following the election of Joe Biden and the Democrat's razor-thin majority in the U.S. Senate, analysts at Moody's say. "While net prices have been declining in Europe for some time, risks mostly come from the U.S., where pricing is typically the highest globally," they say. Under Moody's environmental, social and governance risk analysis, drug pricing and policy is considered a social risk for pharmaceutical companies.

Jan 09 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- U.S. oil prices hit their highest since 2015 again as speculators bet on further price rises amid OPEC-led production cuts and a dip in American drilling activity, though some warned the rally could run out of steam.
- Gold prices inched down amid expectations for more U.S. interest rate hikes this year.
- London copper inched up in early trade as an advancing U.S. dollar lost steam, while Shanghai copper recovered from a drop in the previous session to trade marginally higher.
- Chicago wheat fell for a fourth consecutive session with prices pressured by improved weather conditions in the U.S. southern Plains although a lack of protective snow cover kept a floor under the market.
- The yen jumped after the Bank of Japan trimmed its buying of long-dated Japanese government bonds in market operations, helping to stoke speculation about a future exit from its massive stimulus policy.   
- As a result of tax reform, Visa is improving 401(k) benefits for its U.S.-based employees, according to a company spokeswoman. Visa will increase its 401(k) match beginning in February. Currently Visa contributes $2 for every $1 an employee contributes, up to 3% of base pay. Visa will raise that to 5% of base pay. The company is also "exploring other global employee benefits and investments...which [it] hope[s] to unveil in the near future," says a spokeswoman.
- Former lawmakers urged President Donald Trump to preserve Nafta, citing withdrawal from the trade agreement as the fastest way to undermine any tax benefits or regulatory relief farmers might otherwise see from his administration. As Mr. Trump addressed farmers at an annual meeting in Tennessee, former Senators Max Baucus (D., Mont.) and Richard Lugar (R., Ind.), now co-chairs of a non-profit organization advocating for free trade for farmers, warned that withdrawing from Nafta would be akin to levying a new tax on farmers. They cautioned that U.S. farmers would suffer retaliatory action if the U.S. imposes tariffs on its trading
partners and said American growers already are disadvantaged since Trump pulled the U.S. from a key Pacific trade agreement.
- President Trump used a speech to farmers to highlight benefits of the GOP's tax overhaul, tout his deregulatory agenda and sign executive orders aimed at improving broadband access across rural America. Addressing farmers at an annual convention of the American Farm Bureau Federation, Trump called the recently-passed tax cut "historic relief for farmers," saying family farms would be spared from a "deeply unfair estate tax," and told a welcoming crowd that he was "putting an end to the regulatory assault on your way of life." Signing two orders to expand internet connectivity in rural areas, he said: "You are going to have great, great broadband."
- United Natural Foods CFO Mike Zechmeister says the tax policy changes are impacting how it assesses returns on potential investments. The natural foods distributor saw a four percentage point difference in returns on a recent investment before and after the tax bill, for example. "The tax savings are real," Zechmeister tells investors gathered at the annual ICR Conference. "You could take a project that may be unattractive in the past or one you would have passed on, and it becomes a project you could go forward with."
- US auto industry stands to benefit from the recently passed tax legislation, which will likely boost earnings per share by an average of 5%-6%, Barclays estimates. The tax reforms are expected to cut nominal tax rates for most US auto manufacturers and parts suppliers, even though the reduction in actual taxes paid will be "slightly less impacted" due to widespread use of losses carried forward, Barclays says. Auto parts suppliers domiciled overseas for tax purposes, such as Adient, Aptiv and Delphi Technologies, won't gain much from lower US corporate tax rates, but also may face lower risk from another part of the tax legislation--a hike in levies targeting unremitted foreign earnings, it says.
- United Natural Foods, up more than 5% as its CFO outlines "significant" financial benefits from the tax bill. The Providence-based natural food distributor expects the taxes it pays overall to fall to around 28% in its 2019 fiscal year from 40% currently. CFO Mike Zechmeister tells investors gathered at the annual ICR Conference that the reduced corporate tax will result in around $17M in savings during its current fiscal year, and it will also benefit from a one-time boost on deferred liabilities. The company expects an aggregate rate reduction of as much as 17 percentage points this year, and 13 percentage points in 2019. "That is a meaningful increase to our free cash flow," Zechmeister says.
- Changes to the US tax code could help push Caterpillar's stock price to $200 by the end of the year, JPMorgan analyst Ann Duignan says. The recently passed federal tax law's provision allowing 100% depreciation on new and used equipment will likely prolong the replacement cycle in US construction, she says. That's in addition to a lower corporate tax rate that will boost free cash flow. "As a result of our analysis, we believe that the stock remains undervalued, despite the significant outperformance last year," she said in a note. Caterpillar stock was up about 70% in 2017. Caterpillar shares were up 2.6% to $166.13.
- USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue touted accomplishments of the Trump administration and his own agency ahead of a planned presidential address to farmers at an annual trade convention. Perdue listed what he sees as trade victories, including opening China to American beef and rice, for farmers worried about the fate of Nafta. Speaking at a meeting of the American Farm Bureau Federation, he said USDA has begun rolling back burdensome regulations, targeting 27 rules that will save $56M annually, and urged farmers to flag the "silliest, most onerous rules" they think should be ditched. As for farmers' tax burden, Perdue tells the crowd that thanks to Trump's recent tax overhaul, "Help is not only on the way. It's already here."
- The parent of Alaska Airlines, like Southwest Airlines, American Airline and JetBlue Airways before it, said it plans to award $1,000 bonuses later this month to 23,000 employees, in celebration of the new federal tax bill. The corporate tax-cut windfall will reduce the tax rate to 21% from 35%, effective this year, which should save millions in tax liabilities and allow airlines to invest more in planes, products and their employees, although some of the savings may also go toward share buybacks. Alaska Air shares are down 1% to $72.97.
- Former Navy acquisition chief and acting Navy secretary Sean Stackley joins L3 Technologies, complementing the deal-hungry defense company's M&A team and continuing the run of Obama-era Pentagon officials who've popped up on corporate boards and management teams. Former defense secretary Ash Carter joined the Delta Air Lines' board while his deputy, Bob Work, is now a Raytheon director. Ex-Air Force secretary Deborah Lee James is now on the Textron board while Leidos added former Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall to its director roster, with his deputy Katharina McFarland joining Engility.
- Eli Lilly (LLY) CEO David Ricks said the U.S. tax overhaul will cause American companies to make investments based more on business factors than taxes. "On the next decision you face it really re-balances the calculus on where to build a plant or make hires," he tells the WSJ on sidelines of JP Morgan healthcare conference in San Francisco. He expects Lilly to have "more infrastructure" in the US within the next 7 years as a result of the overhaul. In September the drug maker announced plans to cut 8% of its work force including many jobs in its home state of Indiana. Ricks also sees the mix of Lilly acquisition targets shifting to more US companies than foreign firms. Though Lilly already had a lower tax rate than the former top US corporate rate due to operations abroad, he sees Lilly's total tax bill coming down.
- J.P. Morgan says the introduction of the U.S. tax reform has done very little to lift the market's downbeat view of potential U.S. growth," which is expected to be smaller compared with other countries or areas around the world. This explains why the U.S. dollar hasn't benefited much from either the introduction of the tax reform or from good economic data, it says. "The global economic activity surprise index is at a post-GFC high," J.P. Morgan says, highlighting eurozone, as well as German growth, which for the first time ever "outpaced the U.S. for four consecutive years." J.P. Morgan adds: "This lack of economic exceptionalism ... is turning out to be more of a drag on the currency."