Forex & Commo Market News

Aug 06 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices were mostly flat, as a boost from lower-than-expected U.S. crude stocks that lifted the market to five-month highs in the previous session gave way to fuel demand concerns amid rising coronavirus infections.
- Gold steadied after hitting a record high in the previous session as dismal U.S. jobs data hammered the dollar, while increasing worries about a recovery in the pandemic-ravaged global economy kept demand solid for the metal.
-Several Shanghai base metals gained sharply in the morning session, after hitting multi-month highs overnight, as demand in top consumer China strengthened and investors worried about coronavirus-led disruptions at overseas suppliers.
- Chicago soybeans slid for a third consecutive session, weighed down by expectations of a bumper U.S. harvest as rains are forecast in key growing regions.
- Arabica coffee futures on ICE closed slightly up after a very active session on Wednesday when prices went up as much as 5% earlier in the day and then dropped into negative territory, before reversing course.
- Malaysian palm oil futures inched up, lifted by bargain-buying and expectations of a plunge in July stockpiles and output.

- Defense contractors' efforts to recover $10B-plus in pandemic-related costs from the Pentagon may have hit a snag. Companies have submitted their requests to OMB and Pentagon leaders have discussed various options for reimbursement, but Congress hasn't appropriated funds and contractors aren't holding their breath. Huntington Ingalls CEO Mike Petters says on an investor call that there is "no clear path" to reimbursement, even if the Pentagon's intentions remain 'favorable.'

- Strengthening demand for iron ore should trump concerns around rising supply as the global economy recovers from the shock of the coronavirus pandemic, Citi says. Data points suggest steel consumption in China is expanding, on an improvement in housing starts and swollen order books for infrastructure contractors. Also, Chinese steel mills operating Basic Oxygen Furnaces are making US$100/ton profit margins despite high iron-ore prices while scrap is relatively unattractive, Citi says. On the supply side, Vale's iron-ore exports are likely to rise over the next two years, but are likely to be taken up by the recovery in steel production outside of China, the investment bank adds.

- More than 60 senators support an effort to extend federal funds for airlines to keep paying workers through next March in order to avoid furloughs, says Sara Nelson, head of an influential flight attendants' union that has been one of the driving forces advocating for more aid. Getting the funds still depends on lawmakers agreeing on a broader framework for another round of coronavirus stimulus, something that has been difficult to achieve so far. More than 220 House members signed a letter last month in support of offering more funds for airlines to cover payroll costs and avoid layoffs and furloughs, and 16 Republican Senators came out in support of the effort today.

- Re-upping aid for airlines to keep workers employed through next March is gaining traction among Republican senators--a key hurdle bringing the extension closer to fruition. Sixteen Republican senators signed a letter to leadership Wednesday in support of a "clean extension" of the $25B in payroll support passenger airlines received under the broad economic stimulus package passed in March. The senators also said Congress should consider provisions to "support and provide flexibility," for other businesses that have been affected as the coronavirus pandemic has decimated demand for air travel.

- Securities and Exchange Commission nominee Caroline Crenshaw cleared the Senate Banking Committee in a voice vote alongside current commissioner Hester Peirce, whose term expired this year. Ms. Crenshaw was chosen by Senate Democrats and nominated by President Trump in June to fill the sole vacancy on the five-member commission, which by law cannot include more than three members of the same party. A US Army Reserve with an undergraduate degree from Harvard College, she currently works as a senior council at the SEC.

- Securities and Exchange Commission nominee Caroline Crenshaw cleared the Senate Banking Committee in a voice vote alongside current commissioner Hester Peirce, whose term expired this year. Ms. Crenshaw was chosen by Senate Democrats and nominated by President Trump in June to fill the sole vacancy on the five-member commission, which by law cannot include more than three members of the same party. A US Army Reserve with an undergraduate degree from Harvard College, she currently works as a senior council at the SEC.

- Health-insurance stocks "look rather compelling," SVBLeerink's Stephen Tanal says. Big providers Cigna and CVS have fallen 14% year to date. Tanal blames the electoral cycle, as investors worry that a potential Biden administration could be bad for the industry. "People worry that will weigh on demand for the stock," he says. But Tanal thinks most of the downside risk is already priced in, so he's bullish. Other factors, such as the effect of Covid-19 pandemic on the industry, "will be very positive," he says.

- Livestock futures on the CME are slightly higher, with live cattle futures up 0.1% and lean hog futures up 0.4%. This quiet movement is expected to end soon, with the market becoming volatile once again heading into the election season. "With the election in November and the Chinese virus still dominating the headlines I would expect the cattle futures to gain some volatility," says Jeff French of Top Third Ag Marketing.

- Sinclair Broadcast's advertising revenue dropped during 2Q due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to economic uncertainties. Companies often pull back on advertising during tough economic times. Sinclair's ad revenue fell to $208M in 2Q, 34% lower than $315M in the same period last year. CFO Lucy Rutishauser says Wednesday political advertising partially offset the loss, and ad market trends improved through June and July. Sinclair shares are off 7% in early trading.

- China could retaliate against US app developers should Washington follow through on a ban of TikTok, digital trade experts and industry lobbyists warn. While Beijing has already limited US firms' access to the Chinese market, it could take further steps to curtail companies that make apolitical apps, such as games. The big question is whether Microsoft--or another suitor--is able to close the deal for TikTok. "This isn't new with China," said Nigel Cory, associate director for trade policy at the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, a Washington think tank. "What is new is that China is on the receiving end of this treatment."

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

- Oil prices fell for the first time in four days, slipping from as much as five-month highs as mounting coronavirus cases worldwide and in the United States undercut market confidence about a potential pickup in fuel demand.
- Safe-haven gold scaled an all-time peak, extending a record run above the $2,000 mark on a weaker dollar and bets for more stimulus measures to revive a pandemic-ravaged economy.
- Copper prices declined, as rising production in top producing countries Chile and Peru pressures prices that rallied to multi-year highs last month.
- Chicago corn and soybean futures ticked higher as both the contracts recovered from sharp declines in the previous session, although expectations of bumper U.S. production curbed gains. 
- ICE coffee futures in New York and London rallied on Tuesday, driven by worries over tightening supplies of exchange-deliverable arabica beans and fears that a coronavirus outbreak in Vietnam could hit robusta output.
- Malaysian palm oil futures snapped a four-day winning streak, dragged down by lower rival soyoil, but losses were limited by expectations of a plunge in July inventories.

- China could retaliate against US app developers should Washington follow through on a ban of TikTok, digital trade experts and industry lobbyists warn. While Beijing has already limited US firms' access to the Chinese market, it could take further steps to curtail companies that make apolitical apps, such as games. The big question is whether Microsoft--or another suitor--is able to close the deal for TikTok. "This isn't new with China," said Nigel Cory, associate director for trade policy at the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, a Washington think tank. "What is new is that China is on the receiving end of this treatment."

- A potential Donald Trump victory in November's U.S. presidential election would have negative implications for currencies of Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, Rabobank FX strategist Piotr Matys says. "His second-term could be far more damaging to emerging markets than the first four years of his presidency," Matys says, adding that "Trump could intensify pressure on China as he will have nothing to lose as he can't be re-elected for the third term." For emerging markets to perform well, the global economic outlook needs to be "relatively positive," which won't be the case if two largest economies remain involved in a bitter trade conflict, he says.

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

- A rebound in the dollar faltered on Tuesday as political wrangling over a U.S. relief plan and the gloomy economic outlook kept investors shy of the currency.

- Oil prices slid amid concerns that a nascent recovery in fuel demand could stall as a fresh wave of COVID-19 infections around the world sparks tighter lockdowns just as major producers ramp up output.
- Gold held steady near record highs as worries over global economic fallout from mounting COVID-19 cases offset an uptick in risk sentiment driven by positive U.S. economic data. 
- London copper prices edged lower, extending a narrow-range trading pattern as investors weighed bullish and bearish factors following a rally over the past few months.
- Chicago soybean futures slid for the first time in four sessions, as near-perfect weather across the U.S. Midwest boosted expectations of a bumper harvest.
- Cocoa futures in New York and London rose sharply on Monday as dealers see a more positive outlook for the chocolate-making raw material. 
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose for a fourth straight session, tracking gains in Dalian palm and rival soyoil.

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

- Oil prices fell on oversupply concerns as OPEC and its allies wind back production cuts in August and a rise in worldwide COVID-19 cases points to a slower pick-up in fuel demand.
- Gold prices surged to an all-time high as fears about the economic fallout from rising COVID-19 cases boosted demand for the safe-haven metal, although gains were capped by an uptick in the U.S. dollar.
- London copper fell to a three-week low, as a slightly stronger dollar and fears over the spreading coronavirus weighed on prices even after a survey showed China's factory activity expanded at the fastest pace in almost a decade last month.
- U.S. wheat futures fell as much as 1% as ample supplies and concerns over international demand weighed on prices.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE climbed to a 4-1/2 month high on Friday supported by a diminishing outlook for production in Thailand and gains in many other dollar-denominated commodity markets driven partly by the weakness of the U.S. currency.
- Malaysian palm oil futures surged as much as 3%, mirroring solid gains in Dalian palm oil and rival soy oil, with better July exports also aiding sentiment.

- The FTSE 100 is expected to open 9 points lower as U.S.-China tensions mount and oil prices fall on worries about a supply glut and of rising global coronavirus cases hitting demand. "In the U.K., the downside correction in oil could be a threat for the appetite and limit the topside near 6000," Swissquote Bank analyst Ipek Ozkardeskaya says. Concerns about U.S.-China tensions rise after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that President Donald Trump will take action in coming days on Chinese software companies that are feeding data directly to the Chinese government. Meanwhile, investors will closely monitor the final U.K. manufacturing purchasing managers' index survey for July at 0830 GMT on Monday.

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

- Oil prices recovered further ground, after touching three-week lows in the previous session, responding to a record decline in U.S. growth as the coronavirus ravaged the world's biggest economy and oil consumer.
- Gold rose en route to its best month in nearly 4-1/2 years as the dollar slid further after dismal U.S. data added to doubts about a swift recovery from the pandemic-induced economic slump, driving investors towards the safe-haven metal.
- London copper was on course for a fourth consecutive monthly rise, buoyed by a sliding dollar and better-than-expected factory activity in top consumer China.
- Chicago corn futures rose but are poised for their first monthly loss in three months with crop-friendly weather across the U.S. Midwest expected to result in a bumper harvest, outweighing strong demand from China.
- Robusta coffee hit a fresh 7-1/2 month peak Thursday on worries supplies could be hit by a new coronavirus outbreak in Vietnam, the world's top producer of the bean, while arabica coffee surged more than 3%.

- Members of the US Hemp Roundtable sat down with representatives of government departments like the Office of Management and Budget, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Department of Health and Human Services this afternoon, in hopes of persuading the Trump Administration to quickly release guidance on major retailers selling CBD products on their shelves. "As an industry, we're really struggling due to regulatory uncertainty," says Jonathan Miller, general counsel for the US Hemp Roundtable. The group hopes the FDA will soon provide guidance to stores, giving them the OK to stock their shelves with CBD products as they would dietary supplements. Officials provided no timetable for when such guidance may be released, Miller says.

- Northrop Grumman is expecting continued emphasis on national security among US government ranks despite fiscal pressures, Chief Executive Kathy Warden says. "We believe our portfolio will remain well aligned to our customers' highest priority investments," Warden says on a conference call. "Defense spending is largely threat-driven, and the threat environment warrants a strong defense." The company raises its financial outlook for 2020, citing year-to-date performance and assuming the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic has passed in 2Q. Shares rise 3.5%.

- Major indexes are paring declines after reports Republican senators including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell say November's presidential election date is set in stone, easing investor concerns following President Trump's tweet earlier today floating the idea of a postponement. Only Congress can change the date of the election. The Dow is now down about 300 points, or 1.1%, after earlier falling nearly 550 points. The S&P slides 0.7%, while the Nasdaq is down less than 0.1%. US crude-oil futures are down 3.3% at $39.91 after earlier falling more than 6%.

- The U.S. gross domestic product's contraction at a record 32.9% annual rate last quarter and a rise in weekly jobless claims to 1.43 million add pressure on U.S. officials to agree on extending government stimulus measures such as unemployment benefits that expire on July 31, says Rupert Thompson, chief investment officer at Kingswood. "Today's data can only increase the pressure on the Republicans and Democrats to reach an agreement on extending the government stimulus measures which expire tomorrow," he says. Yet the path of the economy hinges on the course of the virus and economic recovery has already shown signs of slowing significantly in response to the recent surge infections and re-imposition of social distancing measures, he says.

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

- The dollar was mired at a more than two-year low, as investors grew increasingly worried about the economic drag of surging coronavirus cases in the United States, and looked to a fiscal rescue package stalled in Congress for another stimulus hit.

- Oil prices were little changed, restrained by concerns that surging coronavirus infections could jeopardize a recovery in fuel demand just as major oil producers are set to raise output.
- Gold eased after the U.S. Federal Reserve's vow to support the coronavirus-ravaged economy buoyed risk sentiment, with market expectations for prices to breach the $2,000 level facing resistance in the short term.
- Shanghai aluminium prices touched a more than two-year high, fuelled by a better-than-expected recovery in top consumer China and hopes of sustained demand in the next few months.
- Chicago corn futures rose for the first time in five sessions with bargain buying supporting prices, although gains were curbed by expectations of a bumper U.S. harvest.
- Arabica coffee prices on ICE hit three-month highs on Wednesday as the Brazilian real strengthened and concerns grew over prospects for Central American output, while robusta coffee hit a seven-month top amid a coronavirus outbreak in Vietnam.
- Malaysian palm is set for its biggest monthly jump in seven months as futures tracked costlier rival oils to trade slightly higher, although the anticipation of exports data by cargo surveyors capped their rise.

- An upwards correction of the dollar is possible in coming weeks if risk-sensitive assets tumble or U.S. President Donald Trump gets a bump in the polls for November's presidential election, TD Securities says. A rise in U.S. coronavirus cases has "undermined the U.S. growth story" but the market has now "overpriced this dynamic," TD analysts say. "While the relative Covid-19 response and management have pushed our dashboard of macro momentum towards Europe and Asia, our short-term models imply an overshot in terms of near-term USD weakness," they say. "We would welcome a short-term bounce in the weeks ahead to position for the anticipated significant drop in the subsequent months and quarters." The dollar index falls 0.2% to 93.2540.

- Stock futures are extending their drop after President Trump tweets that mail-in voting will result in a fraudulent election and says, "Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???" S&P 500 futures extend their drop to 1.2%, while Dow futures are also down 1.2%, with losses deepening after the tweet and 8:30 a.m. ET second-quarter GDP and weekly jobless claims figures that highlighted the fragile state of the economy. Oil prices also extend declines, with U.S. crude futures sliding 2.6%. Many investors also remain concerned about election uncertainty and the prospect that the election might not be decided on schedule.

- U.S.-China tensions place doubt on the dollar's status as the world's reserve currency, Commerzbank says. Corporations could increasingly abandon the dollar for fear of U.S. economic sanctions or even decide to exit the U.S. market entirely, Commerzbank's Thu Lan Nguyen says. "The latter applies in particular to Chinese companies." Another concern is the U.S. current account and budget deficits as China has been a reliable source of finance for U.S. debt in the past, she says. "It is by no means our assumption that the dollar will lose its status as the world's reserve currency any time soon; but [coronavirus] and the U.S.-Chinese conflict have sown sufficient doubt to justify an increased risk premium for the dollar."

- More than two dozen national and regional environmental groups sue the Trump administration over its overhaul of rules tied to the National Environmental Policy Act. In two separate suits, the groups say the administration failed to meet legal requirements for explaining the rule changes--including by properly addressing public comments--and violated NEPA itself by failing to consider fully the environmental ramifications, among other issues. Groups headlining the suits include the Environmental Defense Fund and the National Wildlife Federation, and Defenders of Wildlife in a separate suit with mostly regional groups. The new rules establish new timelines for environmental-impact statements, exclude more projects like pipelines from the most stringent reviews and put parameters on environmental reviews likely to limit how much climate change can be considered. White House officials say the changes are important to cut red tape and speed up infrastructure development.

- Speaking to reporters Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the government response to the pandemic isn't over. "I think in the broad scheme of things that there will be a need" for more monetary policy and fiscal policy support. He adds that even in a recovery there will be displaced workers who will need support, and they should get that help.

- Unions representing transportation workers petition the Department of Transportation to require passengers wear masks on planes, trains and buses. Airlines have made facial coverings mandatory, but unions and some executives have said rules would be easier to enforce if there was more government backing and in a filing today the consortium of unions say the patchwork of guidelines from companies, cities and states haven't been enough. "We believe strongly that DOT has the broad authority to take this action to improve workforce health and safety for thousands of workers," the AFL-CIO's Transportation Trades Division writes in its petition.

- President Martin Vizcarra pledges to increase healthcare spending in next year's budget to about $5.7B, the highest ever and up from approximately $5.2B this year, as the country grapples with the coronavirus pandemic. Vizcarra says in his annual address to Congress the government would also work on unifying different public health services, known as EsSalud and SIS, so that all Peruvians will have access to healthcare. The increased health spending will involve expanding access to health posts and increasing the number of beds in hospitals. "Peru must come out of this pandemic with a new and solid health system," Vizcarra says.

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

- Oil prices were mixed as record increases in COVID-19 infections in some U.S. states raised concerns about fuel demand in the world's biggest crude user, wiping out earlier gains after a surprise drop in U.S. crude inventories.
- Gold retreated as the dollar briefly halted its slide and investors booked profits after prices hit a record high in the last session, ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's monetary policy decision.
- London copper slipped as coronavirus cases in top consumer China rose the most since April and as six U.S. states set one-day records for COVID-19 deaths, while other metals climbed ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy decision.
- Chicago soybean futures lost more ground to trade near a two-week low, weighed down by expectations of a bumper U.S. harvest this autumn.
- Raw sugar futures closed down on ICE on Tuesday, with profit- taking after a rally linked to a pick-up in physical demand and the possibility that adverse weather could curb production in major exporter Thailand.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose after two straight sessions of sharp falls, although gains were capped by cheaper rival oils, expectations of higher production, and a potential demand slowdown from top buyers India and China.

- 3M, which makes many products typically bought each fall during back-to-school season, says it's increasing inventory and expects to see some related revenue gains as schools reopen in the coming months. The question of whether to start an in-person school year remains hotly debated in communities across the country as the coronavirus continues to spread. "Our retail partners are planning for back-to-school," CEO Mike Roman says. "There's a lot of uncertainty around it. It's another one of those things that's almost day by day." Shares fall 5.3%.

- The euro could extend gains against the dollar due to improved risk appetite, the U.S. Federal Reserve's actions and U.S. political uncertainty, UBS Global Wealth Management says. "We expect dollar weakness to persist into year-end, due to prolonged Federal Reserve easing, a waning interest rate differential, and political uncertainty as we head into the U.S. [presidential] election," UBS analyst Mark Haefele says. Increased optimism over the global economy's recovery from coronavirus should also weigh on the dollar, while the EU's recovery fund has boosted confidence in the sustainability of the union and the euro, he says. EUR/USD falls 0.4% to 1.1705 after reaching its highest level since September 2018 at 1.1782 on Monday, according to FactSet.

- Efforts to extend funding to cover payroll for airline employees are gaining steam in the House of Representatives, with 223 members signing a letter in support of extending the funding another six months. Aviation unions have pushed for Congress to re-up the $32 billion in aid that passenger airlines, cargo carriers, andcontractors received to cover payroll costs through the end of September. Some carriers have warned of the potential for steep job losses when the current round of aid expires at the end of September.

Jul 28 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices were steady, erasing gains earlier in the session, as rising coronavirus cases dampened the outlook for demand and countered optimism over more U.S. stimulus.
- Gold pared gains after a record run as the dollar regained some ground, although U.S.-China tension and bets for the U.S. Federal Reserve to reiterate a dovish policy stance underpinned the metal's safe-haven appeal.
- London copper advanced after U.S. Senate Republicans proposed a $1 trillion coronavirus aid package, lifting risk sentiment. 
- U.S. soybean futures fell as much as 1.5% to hit a 12-day low after the U.S. Department of Agriculture said the condition of crops were well ahead of market estimates, reinforcing expectations for a sizable U.S. harvest.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE surged to the highest level in more than two weeks on Monday as crop concerns in Thailand and demand from China and elsewhere helped tighten supplies, while New York cocoa prices also rose sharply.
- Malaysian palm oil futures fell for a second straight session, tracking cheaper rival oils on the Dalian Commodity Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade, and as production recovered.

- Travel stocks are in the red after the U.K. government imposed a 14-day coronavirus-related quarantine on travelers from mainland Spain, while Ryanair Holdings swung to a first-quarter net loss and failed to give any guidance for 2020/21. TUI is the sector's biggest faller, down 13%, while easyJet, IAG and cruise operator Carnival also drop. Ryanair shares are down 8.7%. "We think the sudden change in U.K. government policy could have severe implications for customer booking confidence, which could lead to a weaker 2020 summer 'lates' market and delayed booking cycle for 2021," say analysts at Jefferies.
- The House Antitrust Subcommittee said it would hold its planned hearing with the CEOs of U.S. tech giants on Wednesday at noon eastern time. The videoconference hearing will look at the market power of Big Tech. Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook Inc., Tim Cook of Apple Inc. and Sundar Pichai of Alphabet's Google are expected to take part. The high-profile hearing had been scheduled for Monday but was moved to avoid a conflict with memorial ceremonies for the late Congressman John Lewis.

Jul 27 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices edged lower as rising coronavirus cases and tensions between the United States and China pushed investors toward safe-haven assets.
- Gold prices jumped to record highs as an intensifying U.S.-China row hammered the dollar and cemented expectations that central banks would continue pumping out stimulus to ease the economic pain from a worsening coronavirus pandemic.
- London copper rose as investors hope the U.S. Congress would soon agree on a coronavirus relief deal, while the U.S.-China tensions and slowing demand in China capped gains.
- Chicago soybean futures slid for a second session as rising U.S.-China tensions are likely to derail North American bean exports to the world's biggest importer of the oilseed.
- Raw sugar futures closed down more than 2% on Friday as Brazilian production jumped 55% in July, keeping the world's largest producer on track for a record season. 
- Malaysian palm oil futures were set to end a three-day rally, slipping from their highest in more than five months, as its price discount with rival soy oil increasingly narrows.

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

- Sterling is a "very vulnerable" currency as the outlook for the U.K. economy looks bleak, Rabobank says. Hopes that the U.K. will secure a trade deal with the EU are "wearing thin," Rabobank's Jane Foley says. "In addition, increased [U.K.] tensions with China, an acknowledgement by the [U.K.] government that a trade deal with the U.S. this year is unlikely, continued criticism of its handling of the Covid-19 crisis, increased talk of another push potential push by Scotland towards independence, not to mention recession and lingering fears of negative interest rates all paint a bleak picture of U.K. fundamentals." Rabobank expects EUR/GBP to rise to 0.92 within three months, from 0.9106 currently.

- Oil prices rose on the back of a weaker U.S. dollar, although demand concerns stemming from rising coronavirus cases and escalating U.S.-China tensions kept a cap on prices.
- Gold was headed for its biggest weekly gain in more than three months, steadying near a nine-year high, as it benefited from a weak dollar and inflation expectations, fuelled by stimulus for virus-battered economies.
- London copper prices were on track for their first weekly loss in 11 weeks on escalating tensions between the United States and China, the world's two biggest economies.
- Chicago soybeans rose for a third consecutive session and were poised for a second week of gains on the back of strong Chinese demand.

- London cocoa prices closed up on Thursday amid increased political risk in top producer Ivory Coast, while arabica coffee scaled a fresh two month peak only to slip back as the Brazilian real weakened.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose to a five-and-a-half-month high, tracking rising soyoil prices, while underlying expectations of output drop due to heavy rains continued to boost sentiment.

- Gold is rising and attempting to breach the key psychological level of $1,900 a troy ounce. The recent spike in U.S.-China tensions is adding some support to gold's rally, but the key driver remains expectations of rising inflation and record low real yields on Treasury bonds, says Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank. New York futures are up 0.3% at $1,894.80 an ounce. Hitting the key psychological level could drive extra buying as short-term speculative investors seek to get in on the rally, Fritsch says. But this itself is a risk for gold: if short-term investor interest wanes prices could drop sharply, he says. "If prices keep increasing at the current pace, there will be a clear risk that price moves become disorderly."
- Volatility in the currency market is likely to rise in August when many investors take their summer holiday, Societe Generale says. "With fewer active market participants, volumes tend to decrease, and this reduced liquidity can exacerbate market moves," SocGen analyst Olivier Korber says. "Since 2001, 79% of the years have seen an increase in volatility this month, including consecutively from 2013 to 2019." SocGen also expects higher foreign exchange volatility by year-end due to "market complacency" over the "numerous uncertainties that lie ahead" including the risk of a second wave of coronavirus cases, the Brexit transition period ending on December 31, November's U.S. presidential election and U.S.-China tensions.
- Oil is falling after China told the U.S. to close one of its consulates in retaliation to the closure of Beijing's Houston consulate. Brent is down 0.6% at $43.06 a barrel while WTI is 0.7% lower at $40.77 a barrel. That adds to Thursday's declines after an unexpected rise in U.S. jobless claims sparked concerns over the strength of the economic recovery. Both varieties lost about 2% in the prior session after the data showed weekly unemployment claims rose for the first time in four months. "Struggling employment metrics are perhaps the most poignant reality check for oil markets," says Stephen Innes at AxiCorp. "Even an extension of U.S. unemployment benefits may only paper over the cracks."
- USD/SGD nudges lower as markets shrug off rising U.S.-China tensions, analysts say. Earlier in the session, Beijing ordered the closure of the U.S. consulate in Chengdu, retaliating against Washington's decision to shut down the Chinese consulate in Houston. "China reprisal was fully expected," says Stephen Innes, chief global-market strategist at AxiCorp. So far, follow-through position adjustments in the financial markets haven't been too severe, Innes adds. USD/SGD is down 0.1% at 1.3847.

- With the Pentagon castigating the Kremlin for conducting another alleged weapons test in space, US government and aerospace industry officials increasingly worry about potential threats to commercial and military satellites. The head of the Space Force sees the July 15 test as "further evidence of Russia's continuing efforts to develop and test space-based systems" intended to "hold US and allied space assets at risk." For years, the Defense Department has eyed smaller, more nimble spy and communications satellites better able to fend off potential attacks. Commercial operators for some time also have been mulling various ways to protect their current and future fleets--especially communication satellites used by the Pentagon--and Russia's latest move is bound to heat up those discussions.
- The Trump administration's latest plan for eventual commercial exploration of the moon, Mars and beyond envisions a government-wide effort to bolster and partly finance such ventures. In addition to support from NASA and the Commerce and Space Departments, the report calls for the Pentagon's recently created Space Force to provide the security and some of the necessary technology for US commercial endeavors. While the Space Force "does not have a direct role in the civil exploration and development of space per se," according to the report, it is responsible for promoting "space transportation and logistics, power, communication, navigation, and space domain awareness." The report doesn't spell out specifics of how the military can accomplish those goals.
- Former New York Fed leader William Dudley says on Bloomberg TV he's not too worried about Judy Shelton, nominated by President Trump to be a Fed governor. He expects her to be one voice among many and not in the driver's seat, saying rate policy would be thoroughly under Chairman Jerome Powell's control. Shelton has confounded observers' attempt to figure out what sort of central banker she'd actually be. Her massive ideological flip flops on the gold standard, and her suggestion to hold large events at a Trump hotel, have left many wondering what she really believes, and whether she'd be too close to the president.

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

- The dollar crept off milestone lows against other majors, and held on to gains against the yuan, as heightened Sino-U.S. tensions kept currency markets cautious.

- Oil prices edged higher, although gains were capped by a surprise build in U.S. crude oil inventories, while a persistent surge in new coronavirus cases continued to dampen a recovery in fuel demand.
- Gold eased as investors booked profits from a strong rally, but held on to a near nine-year high due to U.S.-China tensions and bets on more global stimulus to support pandemic-hit economies, which could fuel inflation.
- Copper prices fell on rising tensions between the United States and China, sparking concerns of further retaliation between the world's two biggest economies.
- Chicago soybeans slid as mounting diplomatic tensions between Beijing and Washington stoked fears over China's demand for U.S. supplies.
- Robusta coffee prices on ICE hit their highest levels in nearly six months on Wednesday, driven by talk of the economic downturn's prompting a shift in consumption toward cheaper, instant coffee blends.
- Malaysian palm oil futures eased as rival soyoil prices fell, but supply concerns limited losses as heavy rains hit top producers Indonesia and Malaysia.

- The euro should extend gains against the dollar as the eurozone has been better at managing coronavirus than the U.S., TD Securities says. "The 'one step forward, three steps back' style of U.S. reopening has exposed those weaknesses to the market, undermining the USD," TD FX analyst Mark McCormick says, referring to reimposition of lockdown measures in some U.S. states following a rise in coronavirus cases. Meanwhile, the EU recovery coronavirus fund approved by the bloc's leaders on Tuesday "lays the groundwork for a fiscal union," he says. TD expects EUR/USD to rise to 1.20-1.25 by mid-2020. The pair rises 0.6% to 1.1595 after hitting a 21-month high of 1.1602, according to FactSet.
- A likely delay to a fresh round of U.S. fiscal stimulus serves as another short-term blow to the dollar, ING says. U.S. Republicans and Democrats on Tuesday continued to disagree over how much to spend on further coronavirus stimulus measures. That compares to the "meaningful action" from the EU with its recently approved recovery fund and budget, ING analysts say. "This adds to the difference between the relatively stable Covid-19 situation in Europe and the clear deterioration in the U.S.," they say. "While the U.S. fiscal stimulus is likely to be passed eventually, short-term this adds to an uninspiring USD outlook." EUR/USD rises 0.4% to 1.1572 after reaching its highest level since October 2018 at 1.1585 earlier, according to FactSet.

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

- The euro's rise above $1.15 for the first time since January 2019 reflects the fact that outlook for the eurozone currency looks better than for the U.S. dollar, Commerzbank says. Following the approval of an EU coronavirus recovery fund, the market has "overcome a major risk factor for European cohesion, the European economy and the euro," Commerzbank's Antje Praefcke says. The U.S. has started discussing further fiscal stimulus amid rising coronavirus cases in the country but it's "not yet certain" whether the package will be passed in Congress before the summer recess, she says. EUR/USD rises 0.1% to 1.1538 after hitting a one-and-a-half year high of 1.1549 earlier, according to FactSet.

- Oil prices fell as industry data showed a bigger-than-expected inventory build in the United States, where climbing coronavirus cases may further dent fuel demand in the world's biggest oil consumer.
- Gold jumped more than 1% to its highest in nearly nine years, driven by a weaker dollar and as expectations of more stimulus to revive pandemic-hit economies lifted the metal's appeal as an inflation-hedge.
- Copper prices rose as a weaker U.S. dollar made the metal more attractive, and as the European Union's massive stimulus program lifted market sentiment.
- Chicago soybeans futures bounced back, rising for six out of seven sessions while corn gained ground on strong Chinese demand.
- Coffee futures closed sharply higher on Tuesday, boosted by broad-based gains in commodity and equity markets linked to positive news about coronavirus vaccine trials and a European Union stimulus deal.
- Malaysian palm oil futures climbed more than 2%, hitting their highest level in over five months, as heavy rains in top producers Indonesia and Malaysia fuelled concerns of lower July output.

Jul 21 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- The euro marked a fresh four-month high and commodity currencies found support, after European countries agreed on a rescue package for the bloc's coronavirus-hit economies

- Oil prices were little changed, trapped in the narrow trading band of the past three weeks as investors gauged hopes for a recovery in oil demand against fears of new lockdowns due to a growing number of coronavirus cases.
- Gold held firm near a nine-year peak as expectation of higher inflation from increased stimulus countered the resultant gain in risk appetite, while silver breached the $20 level for the first time since September 2016.
- Copper prices rose as the European Union leaders clinched a "historic" stimulus deal and as data from coronavirus vaccine trials boosted hopes for a swifter global economic recovery.
- Chicago corn and soybean futures slid after a better-than-expected U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report on the condition of both crops.
- Arabica coffee futures closed sharply down on Monday on ICE, erasing the large gains seen on Friday as fears about a cold front over Brazilian coffee fields dissipated.
- Malaysian palm oil futures recovered from early falls to hover near a five-month high hit in the previous session on supply worries due to lower production forecast.

Jul 20 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- The dollar held onto gains against most currencies as worries that a resurgence in the coronavirus is starting to curb economic activity drew safe-haven flows into the U.S. currency.

- Oil prices edged lower, with trading marked by growing uncertainty about global recovery in fuel demand as new COVID-19 cases surge in several countries just as major producers get set to loosen production curbs.
- Gold steadied near the $1,800 level after a sharp fall in the previous session, as worries over surging coronavirus cases and U.S.-China tensions underpinned its safe-haven appeal, although a stronger dollar capped gains.
- London copper was poised for its first weekly fall in nine weeks, hit by worsening U.S.-China relations and rising coronavirus infections that could dampen economic growth and demand for metals.
- U.S. corn futures rose nearly 1% on Thursday, as signs of strong Chinese demand supported prices, although the grain was on course to end the week lower on expectations of ample global stocks.
- Wheat rose on concerns over global supplies. Soybeans rose nearly 0.5%.
- London cocoa prices on ICE hit their lowest in nearly two years on Thursday as data showed sharp falls in demand in Europe in the second quarter and as dealers bet on a rebound in supply next season.
- Malaysian palm oil futures climbed more than 2%, set for a 6.7% weekly gain, tracking overnight strength in rival soyoil and on prospects of lean output from major producers Indonesia and Malaysia.

- Mask wearing as a means to reduce the threat of illness by the coronavirus is on the rise, according to a report by the Cleveland Fed. "We found that the vast majority of respondents, almost 90%, reported having worn a mask the last time they went out in public to an indoor space, even though not all were required by state or local ordinance to do so," the report says. It adds official mandates to wear masks would be seen favorably by respondents. Dallas Fed leader Robert Kaplan has spoken out forcefully in favor of mask wearing as a strategy to deal with the pandemic and many areas of the country are requiring them, but some areas, notably in the South, are rejecting these official mandates.
- The US will work with the United Nations Security Council to extend the Iran arms embargo indefinitely, "until the sovereign Republic of Iran changes its ways," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says. "We hope we can solve it diplomatically," he says, but if diplomacy fails, the US will take unilateral action. The embargo is set to expire on Oct. 18.
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that the story that has been reported about Russia having offered to pay Taliban militants to kill American service members "doesn't reflect accurately on what has transpired." Pompeo, speaking at an Economic Club of New York event, says the Trump Administration handled it "in a way that is completely appropriate. The information that we had got to all the right people." Pompeo didn't specify who was informed. The administration had downplayed the intelligence and President Trump at one point called it a "hoax." A top US military official this month said there was no evidence the proposed payment scheme resulted in any US troop deaths.
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the "tide has turned" when it comes to China, pointing to recent decisions in the U.K. and India. "We are watching the world unite to come to understand the threat from the Chinese Communist Party," Pompeo said, speaking at an Economic Club of New York event on Wednesday. "I think we are watching American businesses understand the political risks of operating in places like Hong Kong," he said, referring to the former British colony that had been treated separately from mainland China since Beijing took control in 1997. Asked about Taiwan, Pompeo said: "There are a set of commitments that the United States has made ... we'll continue to live up to those."

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

- The dollar found support as simmering Sino-U.S. tensions and weak Chinese consumption data knocked investors' faith in a fairly swift global economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

- Oil prices eased after OPEC and allies such as Russia agreed to taper record supply curbs from August, though the drop was cushioned by hopes for a swift U.S. demand pick-up after a big drawdown from the country's crude stocks.
- Gold prices held steady near a nine-year peak, as concerns over rising coronavirus cases and simmering U.S.-China tensions offset some silver linings from Chinese economic data.
- Base metals fell, with London copper extending losses into a third session, as U.S.-China tensions, rising COVID-19 cases and doubts over the durability of China's economic recovery dimmed prospects for demand rebound.
- U.S. wheat futures eased from a near three-month high touched in the previous session, as traders locked in profits, though reports that China stepped up purchases of U.S. supplies limited losses. Corn rose nearly 1%, while soybeans climbed nearly 0.5% on the back of strong Chinese demand.
- Sugar futures closed sharply higher on Wednesday, with raws recovering from the previous session's six-week low as crude oil and global equities headed higher, while cocoa hit a more than 1-1/2-year trough.
- Malaysian palm oil futures extended gains to hit their highest level in nearly five months, on expectations of lower production in top producers Malaysia and Indonesia.

- President Trump said in a new interview that the stock market would be higher but for the prospect that former Vice President Joseph R. Biden will defeat him in the November election.
"The possibility that Joe Biden gets elected — that's a huge downward pull on the stock market," Mr. Trump said in an interview that aired Wednesday on "CBS This Morning." "The stock market would be much higher, except for the fact that if he got in, the stock market will crash."
Mr. Trump said he was en route to an easy win before the coronavirus pandemic hit.
"We were sailing right into a win — we had the greatest economy ever for our country and for the world," he said. "I've done a great job, and now I have to do it again."

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

- The euro rose to a four-month high against the dollar on hopes European Union leaders may agree on stimulus and deepening fiscal integration to shield the economy from the pandemic.

- Oil prices rose following a sharp drop in U.S. crude inventories, with the market waiting for next steps from a meeting later in the day on the future level of output cuts by OPEC and its allies.
- Gold prices edged higher to hold firm above the psychological level of $1,800, as worries over surging coronavirus cases and simmering U.S.-China tensions cemented demand for the safe-haven metal.
- Copper prices advanced on solid demand in top consumer China and supply worries in Chile, the world's biggest producer of the red metal, though gains were limited on rising U.S.-China tensions and COVID-19 cases globally.
- U.S. soybeans edged higher for a second consecutive session, as concerns about the condition of crops in the United States dented expectations of ample global supplies.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE slid to a six-week low on Tuesday while cocoa and coffee also fell, as soft commodities continue to suffer amid expectations for lower demand overall.
- Malaysian palm oil futures extended gains for a fourth straight session, hovering near a four-month high hit in the previous session, on stronger crude oil, hopes of better exports and lower July production forecast.

- Banks' financial results remain in focus for European credit markets and larger-than-expected loan loss provisions could again challenge hopes of a sharp bounce back in economy activity, Commerzbank says. Following JPMorgan and Wells Fargo Tuesday, Goldman Sachs provides the next insights from U.S. banks while Handelsbanken and SEB will open the reporting season for European banks, the German bank notes. Geopolitical tensions should also remain in the spotlight with U.S.-Chinese relations experiencing further strain after President Donald Trump's removal of Hong Kong's specials status and the U.K. effectively banning Huawei from its 5G network rollout Tuesday, the bank adds.
- Gold prices tick higher, benefiting from a weaker dollar and tensions between the U.S. and China. The precious metal is up 0.2% at $1,816.50 a troy ounce in the New York futures market, taking its advance over the past month to 5.1%. A weaker dollar typically boosts commodities that trade in terms of the U.S. currency by making them cheaper for investors overseas. "Gold is also finding support from geopolitical tensions that continue to simmer," Carsten Fritsch of Commerzbank says. President Trump on Tuesday signed into law a bipartisan bill to sanction Chinese officials over Beijing's crackdown on Hong Kong. Elsewhere in metals, three-month copper forwards edge down 0.2% to $6,485.50 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange.
- FEMA's contract obligations in response to the coronavirus pandemic totaled about $1.6 billion as of May 31, with medical and surgical equipment, like reusable surgical gowns and N95 respirators or masks for medical professionals, accounting for a big portion of that, according to a Government Accountability Office report. New contracts--rather than contracts established before the pandemic, which typically allow for a faster response--accounted for about $1.4 billion of the contract obligations, Congress's nonpartisan watchdog said. FEMA had obligated about $5.8 billion for the response as of May 31, GAO said. In all, 57 major disaster declarations were issued during the pandemic for all U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories--the first time in history that happened.
- FEMA's potential challenges in responding to a pandemic and other significant biological events--from contract transparency and coordination with state and local officials to medical supply acquisition and distribution--may be worsened by the recent rise in Covid-19 cases and an expected increase in the fall, Congress's nonpartisan watchdog said. A Government Accountability Office report, published Tuesday, also outlines some areas that need further review, such as concerns about the distribution, acquisition, and adequacy of supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile. GAO said it had requested information on the national stockpile inventory before the pandemic along with the types and amounts of supplies requested by states and what was actually distributed but said that as of June 12 it hadn't received that information. A GAO representative couldn't be reached for comment as to whether that information had been since provided. "Unlike other disasters where we can only look back at the response, we are still responding to the pandemic and will be for a while," said Chris Currie, director of the GAO team that wrote the report.
"We have a unique ability in this case to make course corrections now."

- Investors raised their cash holdings in July as worries about the economic fallout from coronavirus dampened appetite for risk, a Bank of America survey shows. Cash levels rose to 4.9% of investors' portfolios in July from 4.7% in June due to caution over coronavirus, the economic outlook and November's U.S. presidential election, according to the monthly BofA global fund manager survey. Just 14% of respondents expect the economic recovery will be
V-shaped, a sharp downturn followed by a swift rebound. Some 44% predict a U-shaped recovery, meaning the economy will take longer to recover, while 30% see a W-shaped recovery--a double-dip recession.

Jul 14 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices fell more than 2% on worries that new clampdowns on businesses to stem surging U.S. coronavirus cases could threaten fuel demand recovery and expectations that OPEC+ might ease output cuts from August in an upcoming meeting.
- Gold prices slipped below the key $1,800 level, as the U.S. dollar strengthened, although worries over surging coronavirus cases globally and Sino-U.S. tensions put a floor under bullion prices.
- Copper prices declined as mounting Sino-U.S. tensions sparked fresh worries of economic retaliation between the world's two biggest economies, though the correction could be short-lived given the upbeat demand in top consumer China.
- U.S. corn futures edged lower as weather forecasts turned favourable, though losses were checked by a widely watched report that showed the condition of U.S. corn crop was worse than anticipated. 
- Raw sugar prices on ICE hit a two-week low on Monday as supply tightness in refined white sugar continued to ease, a sign of physical demand weakness.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose for a third straight session, lifted by supply concerns and a weaker ringgit while investors waited for export data from cargo surveyors.

- The dollar was marginally higher in narrow ranges against most currencies as renewed concerns about diplomatic tension between the United States and China and rising coronavirus cases put a dent in risk appetite.

Jul 13 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil slipped nearly 1% as traders eyed an OPEC technical meeting this week which is expected to recommend an easing in supply cuts that have been propping up crude prices.
- Gold prices rose, holding ground above the key $1,800 per ounce level, as a weaker dollar and worries over surging COVID-19 cases around the globe kept the safe-haven metal underpinned.
- Shanghai copper hit its highest level in more than two years, while London copper scaled a 24-month high on supply worries, amid a potential mine strike in Chile and flooding in China.
- U.S. corn futures fell as much as 2.5% to hit a near two-week low, as heavy rains across the key growing Midwest region eased fears that yields could be stunted.
- Soybeans fell more than 0.5% to hit their lowest level since July 1, while wheat fell 1.5% as the weakness in corn weighed on prices.
- London cocoa futures edged further away from this week's 20-month lows on Friday on lingering worries that potential political upheaval in top producer Ivory Coast could pose risks to production.
- Malaysian palm oil futures reversed early losses, hitting their highest level in nearly three weeks as gains in rival oils and global equities lifted market sentiment.

- The U.S. dollar edged down in Asian trade as investors looked to looming economic data from around the world and U.S. corporate earnings to gauge whether the markets' guarded optimism on the economic outlook is justified.

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

- Oil prices fell, adding to steep losses from the previous session, and were headed for weekly declines on worries that renewed lockdowns following a surge in coronavirus cases in the United States and elsewhere would suppress fuel demand.
- Gold was set for a fifth straight weekly gain as worries over a spike in U.S. coronavirus cases kept the safe-haven metal near the technical $1,800-per-ounce threshold.
- London copper traded steady but looked set to post its eighth straight weekly gain on resurgent demand in top consumer China and concerns over coronavirus-related disruptions to mine supply.
- Concerns about global supply set U.S. wheat futures on track for a weekly gain of more than 6%, though the grain dipped as traders squared positions ahead of a widely watched government report that is expected to trim output estimates.
- London cocoa futures recovered on Thursday from the prior session's 20-month low, though fears over a looming market surplus persist.
- Malaysian palm oil futures fell due to weaker crude prices and expectations of lower exports from July 1 to 10, ahead of the release of the country's official supply and demand data during the midday break.

- The yen rose to a two-week high and risk-sensitive currencies slid after a surge in new coronavirus infections in the United States further undermined the case for a quick turnaround in the economy.

- Lots of equity investors are trying to think through what could happen to equities should former VP Joe Biden win the election later this year versus President Trump. Nick Frelinghuysen, managing director working on client equity portfolios at Chilton Trust, says he thinks investors have already pretty much absorbed that outcome should it come to pass. "I personally think the market is sort of mostly there on discounting what a Biden presidency could potentially mean," he tells WSJ. The election may have consequences for corporate tax rates, health insurance and a host of other issues.
- The U.S. dollar's dominance would become endangered if the Trump administration undermined the Hong Kong dollar's peg to the U.S. currency, Commerzbank says. President Donald Trump's top advisors reportedly considered proposals to strike against the Hong Kong dollar's peg by limiting the ability of Hong Kong banks to buy the U.S. dollar. "A step of this nature would jeopardize the dominance of the USD in cross border payments and capital movements--in particular if it happens at a time when the eurozone is not being plagued by fears for its survival, so that the euro would be available as an alternative," Commerzbank's Ulrich Leuchtmann says. However, the U.S. government is unlikely to go down that route, he says.

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

- Oil prices were little changed as concerns about renewed COVID-19 lockdowns in the United States outweighed signs of a recovery in U.S. gasoline demand.
- Gold steadied above the key $1,800/oz level, as worries over mounting COVID-19 cases offset hopes of a swift global economic recovery.
- Concerns over copper supply from top producer Chile sent Shanghai prices of the metal to their highest in more than 16 months, while London copper scaled a near six-month peak.
- U.S. wheat futures edged higher as the prospect of a hit to global supplies due to lowered production estimates in countries from France to Argentina pushed prices to a one-month high.
- London cocoa futures fell to the lowest level in more than 20 months on Wednesday, as production looks promising while demand suffers globally.
- Sugar and coffee also closed down.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose on higher soyoil prices, with investors on the wait for upcoming supply and demand data, although weaker crude prices capped gains.

- The dollar fell against most currencies as a rally in riskier assets such as global equities and commodities put a dent in safe-haven demand for the U.S. currency.

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

- Oil prices dipped after industry data showing a build in U.S. crude stockpiles added to worries about oversupply, but hopes for a swift economic recovery in China limited losses.
- Gold held steady near a more than eight-year high, with investors hitting pause on a rally fuelled by a surge in coronavirus cases and hopes of more stimulus measures from the U.S. Federal Reserve.
- Shanghai copper prices hit their highest in more than six months on worries of supply disruptions from top producer Chile, though a spike in COVID-19 cases globally capped gains.
- U.S. soybean futures fell as concerns over adverse weather in the United States eased, pushing prices to a six-day low.
- Corn fell as conditions indicated that the hot, dry weather across the U.S. Midwest would not be as severe as initially feared, while wheat edged higher.
- Raw sugar prices edged up on Tuesday after hitting a one-week low, even as oil prices slumped on fears about surging coronavirus cases.

- Arabica coffee recovered some of its sharp losses from the previous day.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rebounded from a sharp decline in the previous session, in line with stronger soyoil on the Dalian and helped by a weaker ringgit.

- The dollar held onto gains as a resurgence of the coronavirus in the United States and the return of lockdowns in some countries boosted safe-haven demand for the U.S. currency.

- FBI Director Christopher Wray singles out Chinese counterintelligence and economic espionage as the greatest long-term threat to US economic security and, by extension, national security. Speaking at an event hosted by conservative think tank Hudson Institute, Wray says almost half of the nearly 5,000 active FBI counterintelligence cases are linked to that country. "We've now reached the point where the FBI is opening a new China-related counterintelligence case about every 10 hours," he says, adding economic espionage cases linked to China have surged by roughly 1,300% over the past decade.
- The Chinese yuan is likely to weaken against the safe-haven dollar as November's U.S. presidential election draws closer, Unicredit analysts say. The analysts recommend taking a long position in USD/CNY--bets the exchange rate will strengthen--as the pair approaches 7.0. USD/CNY is last up 0.1% at 7.0229, having earlier reached its lowest point since March at 7.0083, according to FactSet. "We would handle the USD/CNY retreat below 7.02 with caution," Unicredit analysts say. "The slide has certainly been helped by strong Chinese stocks, but we still see pressure on the Chinese unit resuming as the U.S. presidential race heats up in the coming months."

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

- Oil prices fell, erasing earlier gains, on concerns that the surge in coronavirus cases in the United States, the world's biggest oil user, will limit a recovery in fuel demand.
- Gold prices held steady near an eight-year high as investors weighed a spike in COVID-19 cases around the world against a survey showing a rebound in U.S. services industry activity and expectations of a revival in China's economy.
- Copper prices rose to a five-month high as hopes of an economic recovery in China and supply fears underpinned sentiment.
- U.S. soybeans edged higher on Monday as traders were worried that adverse weather conditions could threaten yields, pushing prices to a near four-month high, though a widely watched report provided a ceiling to gains.
- Arabica coffee futures closed sharply lower on Monday as U.S. traders returned from the long Fourth of July holiday and fears of damages from a cold front in Brazil eased.
- London cocoa prices hit 1-1/2 year lows earlier on Monday, but recovered a bit to close up.
- Raw sugar fell.
- Malaysian palm oil futures extended gains as it tracked soyoil's advance overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT), with a stronger ringgit limiting the rise.

- The dollar found some traction, as risks from rising coronavirus cases offset strong economic data and kept a lid on confidence in an economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jul 06 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- U.S. markets were closed for the Independence Day holiday.

- Gold prices eased as risk sentiment improved ahead of U.S. services sector data, although losses were capped by worries over surging coronavirus cases in some U.S. states.
- Oil prices offered up a mixed market snapshot, with Brent crude edging higher, supported by tighter supplies, while U.S. benchmark WTI futures dropped on concern that a spike in coronavirus cases could curb oil demand in the United States.
- London copper prices rose, helped by hopes of further stimulus programmes to sustain a nascent recovery in the global economy ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, and as risks of supply disruptions grew in the world's top producer Chile.
- U.S. soybeans rose more than 1%, as concerns about hot and dry weather in a key growing region in the United States pushed prices to a more than a four-month high.
- Corn rose 1.5%, recouping all the losses from the previous session, while wheat firmed nearly 1%.
- London cocoa prices on ICE hit 1-1/2 year lows on Friday as further signs emerged that the coronavirus pandemic has battered demand for the chocolate ingredient.
- Malaysian palm oil futures jumped more than 1%, underpinned by forecasts of lower June stockpiles, and as rival soybean oil prices advanced to a four-month high.

- The dollar held steady against most currencies as investors awaited data expected to show the U.S. services sector stopped contracting, which would further lift hopea for an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

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

- Oil prices fell, reversing earlier gains, as the resurgence of the coronavirus globally and in the United States, the world's largest oil consumer, stoked worries that a fuel demand recovery could stall.
- Gold was flat, trading in a narrow $4 range, as worries over surging coronavirus cases globally and lingering trade tensions between the United States and China overshadowed strong U.S. jobs data.
- London copper prices were poised for a seventh consecutive weekly gain to notch up their longest winning streak in nearly three years, despite a slight easing on the day after top supplier Chile assured traders of a steady output.
- Arabica coffee futures on ICE closed down on Thursday, ending a four-day rally that led the beans to the highest price in more than a month.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose for a third straight session as China's factory activity picked up and job growth in the United States accelerated.

- The dollar was hemmed in a narrow range, supported by safe-haven flows as a resurgence of the coronavirus in the United States discouraged some investors from taking on excessive risk.

- Trump touts 'historic' June jobs report, but the labor market is still grim: The jobs report is great, but the labor market is still grim.
President Donald Trump touted the record job gains in June Thursday, saying the U.S. was “roaring back” as the economy attempts to crawl out of a crater left by the coronavirus pandemic. “This is the largest monthly jobs gain in the history of our country," Trump said in a press conference Thursday morning following the Labor Department’s monthly U.S. employment report. “Today’s announcement proves that our economy is roaring back," Trump said, adding that the government’s response to the pandemic was "working out very well."

The monthly job gains in May and June are historic, but the labor market is still facing a net loss of 14.7 million job losses from the coronavirus recession.
- Jobs report: 4.8M jobs added and unemployment falls to 11.1% as more states reopen after COVID-19 shutdowns
- Layoffs: 48M Americans filed jobless claims in 15 weeks
- About 2.7 million jobs were added in May and 4.8 million positions were added in June -- both a record. However, they came after an unprecedented 22 million job losses in March and April.

- Economists and analysts anticipate that the job figures will be volatile until a vaccine for the virus is developed.
“It remains too difficult to call this trend with any real confidence as we continue to see-saw between lockdown tightening and lockdown loosening,” Shane Balkham, chief investment officer at financial advisor Beaufort Investment, said in a note. “Instead, it’s the revision to these numbers in the next set of data that will prove most revealing."
The further reopening of the economy in June ushered back more temporarily laid off workers. The job gains were concentrated in industries that have been hammered by the pandemic, including leisure and hospitality, health care and retail.
- Service-sector employment rose to 4.2 million in June, building upon the 2.5 million rebound in May. However, the two-month rebound of 6.8 million jobs only recovers 36% of the positions lost in March and April, according to Oxford Economics.
President Donald Trump speaks during a news briefing at the White House on Thursday, July 2, 2020, in Washington.
- The data was collected in mid-June before a recent surge in virus cases. And layoffs have remained high since then as more states across the U.S. have paused plans to reopen following a resurgence in cases, forcing more business to shutter.
- Separate data released Thursday showed about 1.43 million workers filed first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, the Labor Department said, with more than 48 million Americans seeking initial jobless benefits in just 15 weeks. The total of those receiving benefits for consecutive weeks turned higher last week, rising by 59,000 to 19.29 million.
- Last week, initial claims for state unemployment benefits jumped by 24,033 in Indiana. In Washington and Virginia, claims rose by 8,110 and 7,769, respectively. And Kentucky saw benefits spike by 5,600. Claims in Oklahoma, however, dropped by 41,933 while Maryland fell by 10,620.
“As long as there is no final resolution of the pandemic, the economy might face a prolonged situation of moving back and forth in terms of lockdown measures,” Christian Scherrmann, U.S. economist at asset manager DWS Group, said in a note. “It is likely some businesses will not survive such a bumpy ride.”

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

- Oil prices dipped after the United States recorded its biggest one-day spike in coronavirus cases and California reimposed some lockdown measures, stoking worries a resurgence in COVID-19 cases will stall a recovery in fuel demand.
- Gold edged lower, easing from a near eight-year peak hit in the last session, as solid U.S. manufacturing data and promising results from a COVID-19 vaccine trial revived hopes for a quick economic recovery, denting demand for safe havens.
- Shanghai copper prices touched a more than six-month peak, supported by mounting supply risks in top producer Chile and upbeat manufacturing data in major economies.
- Chicago corn futures fell for the first time in five sessions as a decline in demand due to the pandemic outweighed support from smaller-than-expected plantings of the grains.
- Soybeans climbed for a fourth consecutive session, while wheat declined after three days of gains.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE closed up on Wednesday, boosted partly by gains in crude oil, while cocoa prices slumped to 15-month lows weighed by concerns about weak demand.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose for a second straight session due to costlier rival oils and stronger crude prices, although concerns over a spike in coronavirus infections in the U.S. capped gains.

- The dollar was on the defensive against more growth-sensitive currencies, following upbeat U.S. and European economic data, though worries about the coronavirus blunted more aggressive risk taking ahead of upcoming U.S. jobs figures.

- Trump Administration Preparing China Sanctions Over Xinjiang Rights Violations
The US is preparing to impose sanctions on Chinese officials over human rights violations against Muslims and minorities in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The people refused to disclose the targeted Chinese officials, but they said the sanctions will likely be on Communist Party officials involved in the alleged forced detention and mistreatment of minorities in Xinjiang.
US President Donald Trump signed the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act in June but the sanctions put off due to an ongoing trade deal with China that time, the report said. The White House is imposing the sanctions under the 2016 Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act that allows the US to penalize foreign officials for human rights abuses, according to the report.

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

- Oil prices rose more than 1% after data showed crude inventories in the United States fell much more than expected, suggesting demand is improving even as the coronavirus outbreak spreads around the world.
- Gold prices firmed near an eight-year peak as the metal's safe-haven demand was boosted by worries about the global economic impact of surging coronavirus infections around the world.
- Shanghai copper hit its highest in five-and-a-half months as better-than-expected manufacturing data from China boosted hopes of an improvement in demand for the metal.
- Chicago corn futures rose for a fourth consecutive session to their highest in more than three months, underpinned by lower U.S. planting during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Soybeans and wheat rose for a third straight session.
- Arabica coffee futures closed up on ICE on Tuesday, extending the prior session's steep advance, boosted by short covering triggered both by concerns about cold weather in top producer Brazil and more supportive price charts.
- Malaysian palm oil futures snapped a five-day losing streak, tracking overnight soyoil gains on the Chicago Board of Trade and higher crude oil prices.

- The dollar held steady against the euro ahead of data expected to show U.S. manufacturing activity and hiring continued to recover from the economic shock caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

- American Airlines's plan to stop leaving empty seats on flights for social distancing is a source of "substantial disappointment," CDC Director Robert Redfield said during a Senate committee hearing Tuesday. "We don't think it's the right message," Redfield said in response to questions from Sen. Bernie Sanders. Some airline executives have said that keeping middle seats open is not an effective form of social distancing, and airlines have said that they've focused on mask requirements and thorough cleaning to keep infections from spreading in flight. United Airlines and other carriers such as Spirit Airlines have been filling flights to capacity, while Delta, Southwest and JetBlue have been keeping some seats open to give passengers more space.
- Major airlines are considering checking passengers' temperatures before boarding as they try to get people more comfortable traveling amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, says Nick Calio, chief executive of airline trade group Airlines for America. Airlines have pushed for TSA to take on this screening, but with no final decision, some carriers are considering taking matters into their own hands, Calio said during a call with reporters. "We continue to believe that's a government function," he said. On the same call, TSA Administrator David Pekoske the matter is still under discussion, and noted that scanning passengers for fevers wouldn't catch asymptomatic carriers of Covid-19 and that multiple federal agencies would have to be involved.
- Airlines are hopeful that the EU and US governments will work out a solution allowing some travel between the US and Europe to resume, says Nick Calio, chief of the airline lobbying group Airlines for America. Speaking on a call with reporters, Calio said carriers are disappointed with the decision to continue restricting American travelers from entering Europe, but said the group is aware of discussions between the US government and the EU on additional screening measures such as temperature checks that might allow transatlantic travel to resume.
- In addition to updating financial models, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva points to lessons learned thus far. For example, she says at an Economic Club of New York event, initially officials expected the pandemic to end and for a big economic recovery to follow. That's no longer in the cards, she says, adding that officials now expect a partial recovery but also have learned that "there's a set of actions that have proven to work in terms of protecting lives and protecting livelihoods." But, she said, what's missing is the discipline of applying those actions relentlessly and the recognition that policymakers need to be more agile as more is learned.

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

- Oil prices slipped as traders took profits after sharp gains in the previous session and Libya's state oil company flagged progress on talks to resume exports, potentially boosting supply.
- Gold held close to a near eight-year peak en route to its best quarter in more than four years, as worries over rising cases of the novel coronavirus and its economic fallout boosted safe-haven demand.
- London copper prices were on track for their best quarter in a decade, on optimism about a recovery in China's demand, massive global stimulus and tight supplies.
- Chicago soybean futures edged higher with strong demand from top importer China setting the market on course to end June in positive territory after three months of losses.
- Corn eased for the day, but prices were headed for their second monthly gain in a row, while wheat was set to fall in June.
- London cocoa futures on ICE hit their lowest level in more than a year on Monday amid escalating demand worries and signs of ample supply, while arabica coffee surged with reports of a cold front moving into top producer Brazil.
- Malaysian palm oil futures snapped four straight sessions of decline to rise, buoyed by stronger prices of rival soyoil and tracking cheer in Asian markets on positive economic data from China.

- Safe-haven currencies were on the backfoot as hopes of an economic turnaround boosted riskier assets like the Aussie and yuan, although worries about a blowout in British public spending kept the pound under pressure.

- IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, speaking at an Economic Club of New York event, says to avoid massive bankruptcies and unemployment, financial support needs to be offered "for as long as it takes" and pointed to how a tightening of the banking sector supervision following the financial crisis that began in 2007 helped the banking sector become an anchor in the recovery this time around.
- IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, speaking at an Economic Club of New York event, says the IMF expects a protracted, uneven recovery, but points to policy action by central banks and others in placing a floor under the world's economy. Based on IMF's latest figures, global output is projected to contract by 4.9% in 2020, 1.9 percentage points below the IMF's April forecast, followed by a partial recovery with growth at 5.4% in 2021, and the IMF projects a cumulative loss to the global economy over that two-year period of more than $12 trillion.
- The top Treasury Department official overseeing the US banking system is leaving the Trump administration. Bimal Patel, the assistant Treasury secretary for financial institutions, is stepping down from his post at the end of this week, barely a year after his confirmation in June 2019, according to a person familiar with the matter. Patel is the latest Trump administration economic official to leave in recent weeks, following the departure of White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett and Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Tomas Philipson.
- Non-US citizens seeking to work in the US now face the added challenge of the Trump administration's suspension of certain work visas through the end of the year. Securing such visas, typically the H-1B, have been challenging even in past administrations, and startup founders seeking to operate their businesses in the US have had to make concessions, says Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley-based immigration lawyer. Alcorn says she has seen cases in which a founder reduces their stake in the company to be viewed as an employee in the eyes of immigration authorities, as work-visa regulations require holders to have an employer-employee relationship. "Nobody can depend on this visa consistently," Alcorn says of the H-1B, citing increased hurdles in visa applications in recent years.

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

- Oil prices slid for a second straight session as coronavirus cases rose in the United States and other places, leading some countries to resume partial lockdowns that could hurt fuel demand.
- Gold prices rose as worries over a surge in COVID-19 infections globally dented optimism about a swift economic rebound, driving investors towards the safe-haven metal.
- Shanghai copper prices hit a more than five-month high on supply risks in top producer Chile, while a weaker U.S. dollar boosted prices of the red metal in London.
- Chicago corn futures rose, with technicals supporting prices, although expectations of a bumper U.S. harvest limited gains. Wheat edged higher while soybeans eased.
- London and New York cocoa futures closed sharply lower on Friday amid demand worries, sliding back toward a more than one-year low set early this week.
- Malaysian palm oil futures fell for a fourth consecutive session, as cheaper rival oils and a stronger ringgit made the edible oil less attractive to foreign buyers.

- The dollar struggled to make headway, and riskier currencies inched ahead, as investor sentiment swung between hopes for a global economic recovery and fears that a fresh wave of coronavirus cases could undermine the revival.

- On June 12, the Facebook page Ridin' With Biden stated, "We can't take 4 more years of Trump's 'winning,'" then listed some of President Donald Trump's "accomplishments" while in office:

- Did Trump add $5.2 trillion to the debt ?
The $5.2 trillion in additional debt was reported by Newsweek on May 14. The report referenced data released by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a nonpartisan fiscal watchdog firm that charts government spending.
The national debt rose from more than $19.9 trillion from Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017, to more than $25.2 trillion in May, Newsweek reported. The Peterson Foundation cited a gross federal debt of $23.7 trillion at the end of March in a June 5 report. By June 9, gross federal debt surpassed $26 trillion, according to the foundation.
USA TODAY confirmed a total national debt over $19.9 trillion on inauguration day and $25.2 trillion on May 14 was recorded by the Treasury Department.
The total national debt is comprised of accumulated deficits — the difference in tax revenue and congressional spending — and off-budget surpluses. The sale of Treasury bills, notes, bonds and savings bonds to the public is also factored into the debt, according to the Treasury Department.
The Peterson Foundation attributed an accumulation of $1 trillion in gross federal debt in just a month to the coronavirus pandemic. In early March, policymakers passed $8.3 billion in emergency funding for public health agencies and vaccine research, the foundation reported.
Most of the national debt is owned by the public, according to The Wall Street Journal. Foreign countries, including China, Japan and the U.K., own nearly 30% of U.S. debt. The Federal Reserve owns almost 12%, which is mostly attributed to Treasury securities bought by the agency to stabilize interest rates during the 2008 financial crisis, the WSJ reported.
The statement that $5.2 trillion has been added to the debt is true.

- Has the Dow experienced the 10 biggest drops in history during the Trump administration?
Fox Business News reported that 10 of the Dow's biggest single-day losses have occurred under the Trump administration. The Dow's worst day since "Black Monday" in 1987 happened on March 16, when the Dow lost 2,997 points. Historical losses were also charted this year on March 5, 9 and 12; June 11; Feb. 24 and 27; and in 2018 on Feb. 5 and 8, and Oct. 10, according to Fox Business News. However, eight of the biggest point gains have also happened within the last two years, Fox Business News reported. By percentage rather than point loss, none of the top 10 biggest losses occurred during the Trump administration, according to financial advisory news outlet InvestmentNews.

- Is the nation experiencing the highest unemployment since the Great Depression under the Trump administration?
The unemployment rate fell to 13% in May from 14.4% in April, The Pew Research Center reported. But it is still up by 9.8 percentage points from February, according to a report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of unemployed people reached 15.2 million between April and May, a reflection of efforts to contain the COVID-19 epidemic, according to the BLS. Prior to the epidemic, the United States experienced one of the lowest unemployment rates (3.8%) since the post-World War II era, Pew reported. The research firm also stated that unemployment during the "COVID-19 recession" is comparable to rates during the Great Depression of the 1930s, when the unemployment rate reached 25%.
It is true that the nation is at its highest unemployment since the Great Depression.

- Does Trump have the lowest approval rating of any president in modern history?
Presidents Harry S. Truman and George W. Bush had the lowest Gallup presidential job approval ratings of any president in the post-World War II era, Gallup reported in 2019. Truman's historically low rating dropped to 22% in early 1952. Bush bested Truman by 3%; his lowest approval rating was 25% in late 2008, according to Gallup. The most recent job approval rating recorded for Trump from May 24-June 8 is 39%, according to a report released by Gallup. It is lower than the average recorded for U.S. presidents from 1938-2020. At 32% and 37% respectively, Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush had lower job approval ratings than Trump in June of their fourth year in office, Gallup reported. So it is false to say Trump has the lowest approval rating of any president in modern history.

- Did Trump end Obama's bull market ?
In 2018, Business Insider called the ongoing bull market, which began a few months after Obama's inauguration, "the longest ever." March 6, 2009, marked the end of the stock market decline during the Great Recession of 2007. The S&P 500 gained about 306% since the March 2009 low, Business Insider reported.
The Dow experienced an all-time closing high of 29,551 points this February, Forbes reported, but fell by 20.3% the following month, "officially ending the bull market," according to Forbes.
Forbes' Chuck Jones said the Dow and S&P 500 lost over half their gain under Trump. "The Dow entering Bear territory is the second fastest in history, after the one day decline in October 1987 of 23%," Jones wrote.
Jones also reported that the Dow and S&P 500 both rose 28% since Trump's election. However, with Obama, the Dow increased 35% from his election and 64% from the February 2009 low, and the S&P 500 rose 36% from his election and 103% from the low point in March 2009. The bull market that began during Obama's presidency did end while Trump was in office.

- Has America become the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic ?
In May, Politico Magazine reported that usage of the term "epicenter" does not reflect the nature of a viral spread.
“I think the problem with ‘epicenter’ is a connotation that there is a singular location that is seeding cases to the rest of the world,” Alison Galvani, a professor of epidemiology at Yale University, told Politico.
“It is particularly problematic if it leads to a sense that control measures are only necessary at the ‘epicenter.’ The entire country should be exercising caution and limiting interaction as far as possible,” Galvani said.
Moreover, recent reports suggest that Latin America has claimed the "epicenter" mantle due to a shortage of tests and inadequate government response, CNN reported in May.
"This is the new epicenter," Dr. Marcos Espinal, director of communicable diseases at the Pan American Health Organization, told CNN in May.
The BBC reported that, though they are fewer confirmed cases of COVID-19 cases in Latin America than the U.S. or Europe, testing for the disease is not as widespread and deaths from the disease may be underreported.
The U.S. has 2.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, more than any other country in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. Over 125,000 Americans have died of the disease; about 68,000 more than Brazil, the country with the second-highest death count.

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

- Oil prices rose, extending gains from the previous day on optimism about recovering fuel demand worldwide, despite a surge in coronavirus infections in some U.S. states and indications of a revival in U.S. crude production.
- Gold prices were headed for their third consecutive weekly gain on worries about rising global cases of the novel coronavirus, although prices see-sawed after a firm dollar and a gain in equities countered safe-haven demand.
- Copper prices extended gains and they were set to post their sixth consecutive weekly rise, on concerns about disruptions in supply from key producing countries as coronavirus cases surge.
- Chicago corn futures edged higher for the first time in five sessions, though the market is poised for a weekly decline with crop-friendly U.S. weather lifting expectations of a bumper harvest.
- Cocoa futures closed sharply higher on Thursday on ICE futures as chocolate makers appeared to have taken the opportunity to position themselves in the market after recent lows, despite little hope for improving fundamentals.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose, tracking higher crude and soybean oil prices, but the contract was still on track to snap its sixth straight week of gains.

- With the White House pushing to accelerate U.S. efforts to land astronauts on the lunar surface, experts inside and outside the National Aeronautics and Space Administration question the proposed 2024 timetable. House Democrats are raising funding and political challenges to such projections, while some agency officials privately express doubts the current strategy is likely to meet that goal. NASA's leaders already have abandoned initial hopes of establishing full-blown lunar outposts until late in the decade. The new head of the agency's human exploration programs has acknowledged "we're going to try" to meet the 2024 date, explaining that ambitious goals are a way to raise the likelihood of success. But NASA officials remain reluctant to fully sketch out obstacles and the probable schedule.
- The judge deciding whether Venezuela's opposition leaders can nullify $1.7B in bonds asks the US government for its views. Judge Katherine Polk Failla seeks an opinion from the Manhattan US Attorney's Office on the opposition government's efforts to walk away from the bonds, which are backed by a majority stake in Houston-based Citgo Petroleum. The fate of the company, Venezuela's largest foreign asset, depends on what happens in the litigation. Creditors are trying to seize the collateral after they weren't paid last year. The opposition says the bonds were issued illegally be Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and can't be enforced.
- California hasn't even begun to enforce its landmark privacy law passed in 2018, yet advocates this week pushed stricter proposals onto the November ballot. The California Privacy Rights Act would align state law closer with Europe's General Data Protection Regulation. Firms are now exploring how to comply with the new rules in anticipation that voters approve them, says Mike Hintze, partner at Hintze Law PLLC. Local businesses could face the most hurdles. "Companies that have done GDPR are going to be in a much better position," Hintze added.

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

- Oil prices dipped further after tumbling more than 5% in the previous session, as a record build in U.S. crude inventories and a rapid resurgence in COVID-19 cases cast doubts on fuel demand recovery.
- Gold edged lower, easing off a near eight-year high hit in the last session, as a selloff in equity markets driven by a surge in coronavirus cases prompted some investors to dump assets.
- Copper prices advanced, helped by lower inventories and as a resurgence of COVID-19 cases among workforce in the top-producing region highlighted supply risks.
- Chicago corn futures slid for a fourth consecutive session as a near-perfect weather across the U.S. Midwest lifted hopes of bumper production.
- ICE raw sugar hit a one-week low on Wednesday as tightness in the refined white sugar market continued to ease, while concerns escalated in wider markets about a second wave of coronavirus infections.
- Coffee and cocoa were little changed.
- Malaysian palm oil futures fell for a second straight session, after crude prices plunged overnight and as investors awaited export data.

- The dollar held the upper hand as an increase in coronavirus cases in the United States and fresh trade tensions undermined hopes for a quick global recovery and prompted investors to trim bets on riskier currencies.

- In what would be his first foreign trip since taking office in December 2018, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says he'll likely visit Washington in early July to meet with President Trump -- and possibly Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau -- to mark the start of the USMCA, a trade pact he calls "historic and timely." Lopez Obrador says he hasn't had fundamental differences with Trump, who he wants to thank for helping Mexico obtain ventilators during the coronavirus pandemic and for supporting Mexico over oil output cuts by OPEC and other producers. "We've had a good relationship, that's why I'm going," he adds. (anthony.harrup@wsj.com)
- Raymond J. McGuire, a Citigroup executive who's been discussed as a potential New York City mayor candidate, says the recent outcry over racial injustice is a potential movement to change the course of history. "But we need to move from a moment to a movement," McGuire says at an Economic Club of New York event, "and a movement is going to require all of us to invest and invest significantly." He adds: "If we don't invest, it will be to our collective peril." McGuire, a long time Wall Street executive, says that when he walks into a neighborhood, including his own, most would simply see a 6'4", 200lb black man. "I can easily be George Floyd or Ahmaud Arbery, and the list goes on and on," he says. "I'm still black."

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

- Oil futures dropped, extending losses from the previous day, after U.S. crude stockpiles grew more than expected, adding to worries about oversupply.
- Gold climbed to its highest level in nearly eight years, as safe-haven demand was boosted by worries over a surge in coronavirus infections and hopes of more stimulus measures to combat the economic blow.
- Copper prices rose as increasing cases of the novel coronavirus in South America added to rising supply risks of the red metal in its biggest producing region.
- Chicago corn futures lost more ground, with prices dropping for a third session on pressure from improved crop weather across the U.S. Midwest and dismal demand.
- London cocoa futures closed down on ICE, drifting down towards the prior session's more than one-year low on demand concerns. Sugar also closed down, while coffee was mixed.
- Malaysian palm oil futures fell as investors traded cautiously, awaiting private data on exports, with lower crude prices putting further pressure.

- The dollar was under pressure, after upbeat data in Europe boosted the euro and helped stoke hopes for a global economic recovery, underpinning appetite for riskier currencies.

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

- Oil prices steadied, after a volatile session sparked by confusion over the fate of the U.S.-China trade deal.
- Gold eased on expectations of positive manufacturing data from the euro zone, but concerns over a second coronavirus wave kept the safe haven metal near its highest level in more than a month.
- Shanghai copper prices reversed course to trade higher  after U.S. President Donald Trump said the trade deal with China was on track, following confusing statements from the White House regarding the agreement's status.
- Chicago corn slid for a second session to its lowest in nearly three weeks after the Department of Agriculture (USDA) said the U.S. crop was in a better-than-expected condition. 
- ICE London cocoa recovered on Monday after hitting its lowest level in more than a year on concerns that a second wave of coronavirus infections could hurt demand as the outlook for supply improves.
- Malaysian palm oil futures shed early gains as traders feared that the surge in demand and exports would eventually lose steam if there is a second wave of COVID-19.

- The Australian dollar and other risk-sensitive currencies bounced back from sharp falls after White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said his comments that the trade deal with China was "over" were taken out of context. 

- President Trump's decision to suspend visas for skilled workers will raise challenges for IT service providers because it will shrink those companies' labor pool, according to Moody's. "The US visa suspension will impact IT services providers' top line and profitability, as it will exacerbate the shortage of onshore talent required to deliver the digital technologies driving growth in the sector," Moody's analyst Ignacio Rasero says. "Increasing connectivity with offshore resources and remote capabilities will provide some mitigation, but we expect an overall negative impact to IT services providers." Trump's order yesterday suspends new issuance of a set of employment-based visas, including for highly-skilled workers and temporary workers.
- Copper is up slightly, having recovered from a sharp fall in early trading after President Trump walked back comments from senior aide Peter Navarro that the trade deal was "over." Copper futures on the LME are up 0.2% at $5,908 a metric ton, after falling as much as 1% in Asian trading after Navarro made the comments. Navarro later said his comments were taken "out of context," while Trump said the trade deal was "fully intact," prompting copper to recover. Other base metals also fell but most have yet to recover their losses. Aluminum futures are down 0.2% at $1,598 a ton while nickel is down 0.4% at $12,575 a ton.
- The FTSE 100 is expected to open 30 points higher after U.S. President Trump said the U.S.-China phase-one deal remains in place and U.K. coronavirus cases fell. Trump's remarks on Twitter came shortly after White House trade advisor Peter Navarro seemed to say the trade deal was over in an interview with Fox News, although Navarro later said he was taken out of context. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce further easing of coronavirus restrictions later Tuesday following a drop in daily cases. Investors will be closely monitoring June eurozone and U.K. services and manufacturing surveys, due at 0800 GMT and 0830 GMT respectively, for signs of recovery from coronavirus.
- The Nikkei Stock Average recoups earlier losses and is up 0.8% at 22621.84 at midday. The index gained after President Trump says on Twitter that the China trade deal is fully intact and hopefully China will continue to live up to the terms of the agreement. His comments came after White House trade adviser Peter Navarro told Fox News late Monday that the China trade deal was over. Navarro later clarified, telling the WSJ that the comments had been "taken wildly out of context." USD/JPY also regains lost ground and is now at 107.16, up from the day's low of 106.74.

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

- Oil prices slid as concern grew that a record rise in coronavirus infections worldwide could stall a recovery in fuel demand, outweighing tighter supplies from major producers.
- Gold jumped to its highest in more than a month as investors sought the safe-haven metal after surging coronavirus cases intensified concerns over a delay in global economic recovery.
- Copper prices rose due to lower inventories and risks of supply disruptions in Chile, the world's biggest copper producer, although gains were capped on demand concerns following an increase in global cases of the novel coronavirus.
- Chicago soybean futures slid, as the market took a breather after climbing to its highest since early April in the previous session on expectations of strong Chinese demand.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE closed higher on Friday, boosted by gains in crude oil and other commodity markets, while arabica coffee prices eased, weighed down by excess supplies.
- Malaysian palm oil futures slid after an industry analyst forecast the tropical commodity's global consumption will drop, while uncertainty over production further dented sentiment.

- The dollar slipped in a choppy session as investors tried to navigate their way through an unsettling rise in coronavirus infections and weigh whether it would delay an economic recovery.

- U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden has overtaken Donald Trump as the favorite to win this year's U.S. election, according to U.K.-based spread-betting company Sporting Index. Democratic candidate Biden is 5/6 favorite ahead of the Republican incumbent, the shortest price since the start of the election race, the spread-betting firm says. Having led since the start of 2020, Trump has drifted from 8/13 to a longer price of 23/20. Support in Trump has waned during the ongoing global health pandemic and U.S. polls show a shift towards the Democrats, Sporting Index says. "That said, anyone ruling out Trump from winning in November should be reminded of the 2016 election results, when most people had written him off," spokesman Phill Fairclough says.

- Gold has accelerated to the upside after breaking above a symmetrical triangle pattern. Currently, it is supported by a bullish trend line drawn from June 19, while the 14-period RSI stands above the neutrality level of 50, suggesting that the bullish bias persists. Also, the MACD stays in the positive area, signaling continued upward momentum. Thus, as long as the key support level at $1,743.0 holds, the precious metal is expected to revisit its intraday high at $1,759.0 and advance further to $1,765.0 (month-high of May) on the upside.
Alternatively, a break below $1,743.0 would trigger a pull-back to $1,738.0. Spot gold is trading at $1,750.2 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.

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

- Oil prices rose around 1%, adding to gains in the previous session, after OPEC producers and allies promised to meet commitments on cutting supply and two major oil traders said demand was recovering well.
- Gold prices edged higher, with the metal's safe-haven demand supported by concerns over a second wave of coronavirus infections, although gains were limited by a stronger U.S. dollar.
- London copper prices were set to post their fifth straight weekly gain, as more economies emerging from the coronavirus-induced lockdown raised hopes of stronger demand for the ductile metal.
- U.S. wheat futures slipped and lingered near an eight-month low hit in the previous session, as ample global supplies pushed the grain towards a weekly loss of nearly 4%.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE closed down on Thursday in a rare session where they parted ways with oil, as an outlook of rising production in 2020-21 copped with bleak demand prospects pressured the sweetener.
- Coffee went back to red after gains seen in the previous session.
- Malaysian palm oil futures hit their highest level in more than two months, riding on gains in crude oil prices as well as lower stocks in top importers India and China.

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

- Oil prices fell around 1% as a spike in new coronavirus cases in China and the United States renewed fears that a recovery in fuel demand could stall, even as lockdowns ease.
- Gold prices were steady, with the metal caught between a strengthening U.S. dollar and a pullback in global equities, as worries that new coronavirus cases could jeopardise an economic recovery weighed on markets.
- Copper prices rose amid "constructive" Sino-U.S. talks and as China policymakers assured traders the economy is gradually recovering from the coronavirus crisis, though the fresh wave of COVID-19 cases assuaged hopes of a swift rebound.
- Chicago wheat futures slid for a third consecutive session to their lowest in more than eight months as bumper harvest of a Northern Hemisphere crop weighed on the market.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE closed down on Wednesday, giving up some ground after a recent run-up, while London cocoa prices fell to their lowest level in more than a year.
- Malaysian palm oil futures traded lower, reversing two straight sessions of gains, as fears of another wave of coronavirus infections and expectations of higher production clouded the outlook.

- Palm oil prices inch up slightly in early Asian trade as the market lack fresh news or data to guide trade, while taking its cue of the mixed trading sentiment on the equities market, says Singapore-based Palm Oil Analytics co-founder Sathia Varqa. He says the palm oil market will be looking to June 1-20 Malaysia export data due next week for the demand outlook. The benchmark contract for September delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange is up MYR2 at MYR2,363 a metric ton.

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

- Oil prices fell as data showed an increase in U.S. crude and fuel inventories, raising the prospect of oversupply as a potential second wave of the coronavirus pandemic threatened to halt any recovery of demand.
- Gold prices held steady, supported by concerns stemming from a surge in coronavirus infections in Beijing, while hopes for a potential COVID-19 drug and a stronger U.S. dollar limited bullion's advance.
- London copper prices rose on hopes for higher demand as the U.S. economy showed signs of a recovery, but the optimism was crimped by a coronavirus outbreak in top metals consumer China.
- Chicago wheat futures slid for a second session on expectations of abundant supplies due to bumper harvests across the Northern Hemisphere.
- ICE arabica coffee futures closed at the lowest level in eight months on Tuesday, as good prospects for production and fears of demand reduction pushed prices down.
- Malaysian palm oil futures slid marginally, as the market lacked fresh catalysts, while concerns over the rising number of new coronavirus infections weighed on the sentiment.

- The dollar held firm against many of its rivals after U.S. retail sales jumped far more than expected in May, while risk-sensitive currencies were hobbled by concerns about the coronavirus and geopolitical tensions in Asia.

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

- Oil prices slid on lingering concerns over the threat to fuel demand from the resurgence of new coronavirus infections around the world, though hopes for further cuts in crude supplies stemmed losses.
- Gold rose after the U.S. Federal Reserve widened its program of buying corporate debt to combat the financial toll of the pandemic as worries grow about a second wave of coronavirus infections.
- Copper prices rose as the Federal Reserve's latest move to support a struggling U.S. economy hit by the COVID-19 pandemic boosted risk-on sentiment across markets.
- Chicago corn futures rose more than 1%, as a weekly crop progress report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) showed crop ratings dropped following hot and dry weather. 
- ICE raw sugar futures closed up on Monday as oil future rose, reversing initial session losses. 
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose, as traders expect importers to stock up on the commodity in case of further coronavirus-led restrictions, while a recovery in commodities also helped sentiment.

- The dollar slipped and riskier currencies rallied as the U.S. Federal Reserve prepared to start its corporate bond buying scheme, while a report flagging the possibility of more fiscal stimulus helped underpin investor sentiment.

- U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden has overtaken Donald Trump as the favorite to win this year's U.S. election, according to U.K.-based spread-betting company Sporting Index. Democratic candidate Biden is 5/6 favorite ahead of the Republican incumbent, the shortest price since the start of the election race, the spread-betting firm says. Having led since the start of 2020, Trump has drifted from 8/13 to a longer price of 23/20. Support in Trump has waned during the ongoing global health pandemic and U.S. polls show a shift towards the Democrats, Sporting Index says.
"That said, anyone ruling out Trump from winning in November should be reminded of the 2016 election results, when most people had written him off," spokesman Phill Fairclough says.

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

- Oil fell more than 2%, extending losses from last week, as new coronavirus infections hit China and the United States, raising the prospect that renewed outbreaks of the virus could weigh on the recovery of fuel demand.
- Gold prices edged lower, trading in a narrow range, as fears of a second wave of coronavirus infections in Beijing cut investors' appetite for riskier assets.
- Most industrial metals fell as worries rose that a potential second wave of the novel coronavirus in China could lead to lower demand in the country.
- Chicago wheat futures fell, pressured by abundant supplies forecast in a U.S. government report last week.
- Raw sugar prices on ICE closed lower on Friday, below the 12-cent mark, with investors reassessing the risk that a resurgence of coronavirus infections will put more pressure on the global economy and hurt sugar demand.
- Malaysian palm oil futures extended losses, weighed down by weaker crude oil prices, although hopes of a dramatic rise in exports from June 1 to 15 limited losses.

- The Australian and New Zealand dollars fell against their U.S. counterpart as fears of a second wave of the coronavirus in Beijing prompted investors to sell currencies sensitive to risk.

- Palm-oil prices inch higher in early Asian trade. Prices are reflecting both financial-market jitters over fears a resurgence of the pandemic could stall the reopening of economies and expectations palm exports would perform strongly in June, says Palm Oil Analytics co-founder Sathia Varqa. This week, higher exports will be supportive of the market, but production data and how the equities market prices in the pandemic will dictate the edible oil's futures prices, he says. The benchmark contract for August delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange is up MYR5 at MYR2,376 a metric ton.
- Iron-ore futures in China climb in morning trade as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to threaten supply from Brazilian miner Vale. Brazilian authorities in the state of Para will step up a probe into the potential shortcomings of Vale's efforts to contain the virus, ANZ says, noting that about 35% of Brazil's total iron ore output is produced in the state. This followed a court order earlier this month to suspend work at a Vale mining complex after an outbreak of the virus there. The most-traded September iron-ore contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange is up 1.2% at CNY771 a ton.
- Base-metal prices inch down in early Asian trade, weighed by concerns over a resurgence of covid-19 infections. Copper's outlook appears cautiously positive in 2H, Huatai Futures says, as it weighs warming demand in China against relatively weak consumption globally. China's economic data could improve further in 2H on the back of loosened monetary policies and fiscal stimulus, but economic uncertainties abroad may bring risks to copper prices, the brokerage says, pointing to the still climbing tally of covid-19 cases in the U.S. The three-month LME copper contract is down 0.7% at $5,747 a metric ton while the aluminum contract is 0.5% lower at $1,578 a ton.
- Palm oil prices are starting to look expensive, OCBC says. " With prices at MYR2,371 a metric ton as of Friday, palm oil is starting to look expensive relative to soyoil prices." It adds the soyoil-palm oil spread is now about $70 a ton from almost $150 a ton just a month ago. The Malaysian Palm Oil Council said last week that it expects Malaysia's palm exports to rise 2.5% on quarter in 3Q as buying from India and China resumes, which might support prices in the longer term, OCBC notes.
- Palm-oil prices should rise to MYR2,700 a metric ton from current prices of around MYR2,430 a ton, supported by moves in crude-oil prices and tightening supply, Capital Economics says. It expects the palm-oil market will swing to deficit in 2020-21. It notes palm oil bucked the trend last week as prices picked up after investor sentiments were buoyed by strong export data from Malaysia and signs that biodiesel consumption was continuing to recover in Asia. The benchmark contract for August delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange rose MYR19 on Friday to settle at MYR2,369 a metric ton.
- Australian farmers have lost some of their confidence in the sector due to the uncertainty about the impact of Covid-19 and its effect on commodity pricing and trade, Rabobank says. "But positive seasonal conditions and solid commodity prices in most sectors are keeping farmers' spirits up," it says. Continued rain since February in many parts of the country is sustaining forecasts for strong income expectations and investment intentions, with farmers still considerably upbeat about the future outlook for agriculture and their own businesses.
- New contracts and accelerated infrastructure spending are positive for Seven Group in the near-to-medium term, says JPMorgan, which lifts its price target on the stock by 20% to A$16.20/share. Despite the impact of Covid-19 restrictions, Seven's core operating businesses are holding up well. WesTrac's revenue is up 15% in the year through May, while Coates's revenue is 2% above year-ago levels. "New haulage contracts with Fortescue are a positive and should support revenue growth in the medium term," JPM says.
- Aurelia Metals' Federation gold deposit is worth roughly A$133 million, or A$0.15/share, according to Ord Minnett, which says it as a compelling option to replace ore from the exiting Hera mine as it becomes depleted. In reaching that pretax net present value estimate, Ord Minnett uses spot gold prices and assumes a 6% weighted average cost of capital and capex of A$60 million. It thinks the mine will start up in FY 2024-2025. "Project economics are particularly robust at spot, boasting an internal rate of return of 85%, short 2-year payback, generating A$40 million per annum cash," Ord Minnett says.
- Gold nudges higher in early Asian trade as lingering concerns over the spread of Covid-19 buoy safe-haven demand for the precious metal. Though there seems to be enough worry to support gold the market appears unsure about sending the metal to new highs this week, AxiCorp says. Technical charts signal a possible breach of $1,746/oz as a trigger for further upside but recent sharp declines in equities raise some doubts, given that the last steep selloff in March triggered considerable position squaring up in gold, AxiCorp says. Spot gold is up 0.2% at $1,733.69/oz.

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

- Oil prices fell, extending heavy overnight losses as a surge in U.S. coronavirus cases this week raised the prospect of a second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak hitting demand in the world's biggest consumer of crude and fuel.
- Gold was flat as a stronger dollar offset diminishing risk appetite over concerns of a second wave of coronavirus infections and a protracted economic recovery, while the metal was on track for its first weekly rise in four weeks.
- London copper fell amid a gloomy outlook for the global economy, but the metal was set for its fourth straight weekly gain fuelled by hopes of a demand boost from stimulus measures by governments and central banks.
- U.S. wheat futures fell to a near three-week low, as forecasts for ample global supplies set the grain on track for a weekly loss of 3.5%.
- Arabica coffee futures on ICE hit eight-month lows on Thursday on escalating worries over the impact of the economic downturn on demand as global markets plunged on renewed fears over the coronavirus pandemic.
- Malaysian palm oil futures looked set to snap four consecutive weekly gains as they fell sharply on weaker crude and rival soyoil prices.

- President Trump and senior White House officials sought to calm fears about the nation's economy on Thursday as the stock market fell sharply and investors tried to digest the Federal Reserve's view that high unemployment would persist for the rest of the year.

- US stocks wavered and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index broke through 10,000 while investors awaited the Federal Reserve's monetary policy meeting.The SP 500 opened 0.
- 2 per cent higher before moving into the red, but the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite maintained its three-month rally in early trading, setting a new intraday record before falling back into four digits. The dollar slipped to its lowest level in three months.
- Donald Trump tweeted before the market opened on Wednesday: "Nasdaq hits all-time high. Tremendous progress being made, way ahead of schedule. USA!"Equities in Europe trimmed earlier gains, after a downbeat forecast of the economic recovery from the pandemic in advanced nations by the OECD. London's FTSE 100 gained 0.
- 3 per cent and the Euro Stoxx 600 edged 0.2 per cent higher.

- Global stocks have rallied since late March, with the Nasdaq soaring about 45 per cent and the SP 500 all but erasing its losses for the year. Investors are looking to the Federal Reserve's monetary policy decision on Wednesday. Economists expect that interest rates will be kept on hold at near zero but have warned that any hesitation over its willingness to dish out support measures could hit markets.When the Covid-19 crisis gripped markets this year, the Fed took extraordinary steps to cushion the financial blow and soothe market disruptions. That has helped global equity markets to stage a powerful rally, defying threats from a resurgence in US-China tensions and the risk of lasting economic damage."Fed chair [Jay] Powell is similarly expected to reaffirm the downside skew of economic and market risks, the expectation of easy money as far as the eye can see, and the willingness to take policy as far as is needed to generate recovery," said Steven Englander, head of North America macro strategy at Standard Chartered.
- "This is dovish, but widely expected."The bull run in stock markets contrasts with a chorus of downbeat economic forecasts.

The OECD was the latest to warn on Wednesday of the lasting impact of coronavirus. The Paris-based group said rich countries faced a disappointing recovery from the historic downturn, which would leave deeper scars than any peacetime recession in the past 100 years. There are some concerns that signs of economic improvement in the US, following an unexpected rise in employment of 2.5m people in May, could push the Fed to hint towards weakening its stimulus measures.
- "There is a degree of uncertainty whether the Fed considers the improvement in data as an opportunity to signal a less loose policy and thus take the liquidity punchbowl away from markets," said Chris Turner at ING.But "we expect the Fed to err on the side of caution given the uncertainty about the recovery", he added.

The Fed is expected to release US economic forecasts, updated for the first time in six months.In currencies, the dollar index fell to its lowest level in three months, slipping a further 0.
- 4 per cent against a basket of currencies, partly due to expectations of the Fed's monetary policy remaining accommodative.Sovereign bonds were steady ahead of the Fed's decision, with the 10-year US Treasury yield, which moves inversely to price, at around 0.
- 8 per cent.In Asia-Pacific, Japan's benchmark Topix closed 0.
- 2 per cent lower while Hong Kong's Hang Seng and Australia's SP/ASX 200 were almost flat.China's CSI 300 index of Shanghai- and Shenzhen-listed stocks shed 0.
- 2 per cent after an official inflation reading for May showed that producer prices contracted by a greater extent than economists had forecast.In Hong Kong, shares in Cathay Pacific were volatile a day after the city's government said it would take a stake in the struggling airline as part of a HK$39bn ($5bn) rescue plan.
- Shares initially surged 19 per cent before paring gains to close down 1 per cent. Oil prices fell, with international marker Brent dropping 1.
- 6 per cent to $40.52 a barrel. US marker West Texas Intermediate slipped 1.
- 8 per cent to $38.23.

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

- Oil prices fell more than 2% on worries about slow demand growth with coronavirus cases rising, U.S. crude stockpiles hitting an all-time high and the U.S. Federal Reserve projecting recovery from the pandemic would take years.
- Gold eased as investors booked profits after prices rose to a more than a one-week high on bleak economic projections from the U.S. Federal Reserve.
- London copper prices eased after hitting their highest level since January in the last session, but traders said global stimulus would fuel a quick rebound.
- Chicago soybean futures slid as a widely-watched U.S. government report is expected to show higher world supplies, although losses were limited by strong Chinese demand.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE rallied on Wednesday, heading back towards a recent three-month high amid Brazilian shipment delays and tightness in white sugar supply.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rebounded from the previous session's sharp drop of 1.6%, boosted by a surge in exports in the first 10 days of June as more nations eased coronavirus-induced restrictions.

- The dollar bounced against riskier currencies and the safe-haven yen hit a one-month high as the U.S. Federal Reserve's dour economic outlook spooked investors.

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

- Oil prices fell after data showed a rise in crude and fuel stockpiles in the United States, reviving concerns about oversupply and falling fuel demand in the world's largest crude consumer amid the coronavirus outbreak.
- Gold extended gains as global equity markets eased after a recent rally, while investors awaited the outcome of the Federal Reserve's meeting that is expected to shed light on the state of the economy and further stimulus.
- Shanghai copper jumped to its highest level in nearly 20 weeks, recouping almost all of its losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on strong demand in China and low stocks.
- Chicago soybean futures ticked higher, with strong demand from top importer China supporting prices, although improved conditions of the U.S. crop kept a lid on prices.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE closed down on Monday, receding after setting the highest level in almost three months earlier in the session.
Malaysian palm oil futures rose, helped by optimism that exports of palm oil could improve after the country moved to fully exempt the commodity from an export duty this year.
 
- The dollar nursed losses against most currencies amid some speculation the U.S. Federal Reserve could take steps to curb a recent rise in bond yields at its policy meeting.

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

- Oil prices climbed as the easing of coronavirus lockdown measures across the globe lifted trader hopes for a swift recovery in demand, though gains were capped by the spectre of persistent oversupply in the market.
- Gold prices edged higher buoyed by a weaker dollar , but the metal traded in a narrow range as caution set in ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's two-day monetary policy meeting.
- Shanghai aluminium hit its highest in more than four and a half months on solid demand in China and the prospect of improving consumption in the rest of the world.
- Chicago soybean futures ticked higher, with strong demand from top importer China supporting prices, although improved conditions of the U.S. crop kept a lid on prices.

- Raw sugar futures on ICE closed down on Monday, receding after setting the highest level in almost three months earlier in the session.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose, helped by optimism that exports of palm oil could improve after the country moved to fully exempt the commodity from an export duty this year.

- As oil prices rebound and the OPEC-plus group prepares to meet to finalize a plan to extend by a month a historic production-cut deal aimed at offsetting a coronavirus-caused collapse in demand, President Trump heaps praise on the group and its marquee members. "We had a disaster with respect to energy, it was down to zero, it was worthless, and that's 5 million jobs," he says. "And we saved that industry in a short period of time, and you know who helped us, Saudi Arabia and Russia ... we call it OPEC-plus, but they were the leaders." Trump fails to note overproduction by Russia and Saudi Arabia earlier this year was partly to blame for oil's price collapse.

Jun 08 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ)

- Oil climbed after major producers agreed to extend a deal on record output cuts to the end of July and as China's crude imports hit an all-time high in May.
- Gold inched up although safe-haven demand remained subdued, after prices fell to a more than one-month low in the last session as an unexpected jump in U.S. employment boosted hopes for a swift economic recovery.
- London copper prices dropped after data showed exports from top consumer China had weakened last month, though markets expect prices of the red metal to rebound amid stimulus measures and prospects of a swift global economic recovery.
- Chicago soybean futures edged lower, though the market traded near a two-month high touched in the previous session on support from strong demand for U.S. supplies, while wheat slid for a second day.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE closed up in a new 2-1/2-month peak on Friday, heading for gains of around 10% this week as improved macro-economic signals and tightness in white sugar supply continued to draw funds in on the buy side.

- The U.S. dollar fell against the Antipodean currencies and the British pound after surprising improvement in U.S. labour market data bolstered expectations for economic recovery, which reduced safe-harbour demand for the greenback.

Jun 06 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ)

- As oil prices rebound and the OPEC-plus group prepares to meet to finalize a plan to extend by a month a historic production-cut deal aimed at offsetting a coronavirus-caused collapse in demand, President Trump heaps praise on the group and its marquee members. "We had a disaster with respect to energy, it was down to zero, it was worthless, and that's 5 million jobs," he says. "And we saved that industry in a short period of time, and you know who helped us, Saudi Arabia and Russia ... we call it OPEC-plus, but they were the leaders." Trump fails to note overproduction by Russia and Saudi Arabia earlier this year was partly to blame for oil's price collapse.

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

- Oil prices nudged higher as traders await cues from a meeting that could take place as soon as this weekend where major oil producers will discuss whether to extend record production cuts.
- Gold eased ahead of a highly awaited U.S. jobs report as markets pinned hopes on an economic recovery, putting the safe-haven metal on track for a third consecutive weekly decline.
- London copper was poised for a third straight weekly gain, supported by a quicker-than-expected recovery in Chinese activity and hopes for a global economic rebound as some major countries reopened after months-long lockdowns.
- Chicago soybean futures rose for a fourth consecutive session and were poised for their biggest weekly gain in eight months as strong demand underpinned prices.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE closed up for a fifth consecutive session, touching a new 2-1/2-month peak on Thursday, as funds' appetite increased amid a better outlook for an economic recovery.
- Malaysian palm oil futures were on track to gain for a fourth straight week as they bounced back, after a steep drop in the previous session, on signs of improving demand as more countries ease coronavirus-induced lockdowns.

- The euro held on to big gains after the European Central Bank expanded its stimulus more than expected to prop up an economy dealing with its worst recession since World War Two.

- Palm oil prices rise in Asia morning trade, after the commodity slid on Thursday following a multiday upturn. Buying interest for the edible oil has been buoyed by hopes for the reopening of economies worldwide and expectations that the holiday-heavy May may lead to lower supply in the coming months, says Anilkumar Bagani, research head at Sunvin Group, a Mumbai-based vegetable oil broker. Analysts broadly expect palm oil to remain within the range of MYR2,200 to MYR2,400 a metric ton for the month. The benchmark contract for August delivery is up MYR24 at MYR2,350 a ton.
- Steel prices in China fall in early Asian trade as the drop in inventories has slowed considerably, implying the robust demand that has kept up steel prices may not be sustainable. Output is expected to tick up at steel mills in northern and southwestern China, where demand is relatively strong, while limited enforcement of production curbs have barely reduced steel-rebar production in the steel-making hub of Tangshan, China Futures says. Given steel output may stay at high levels throughout this month, prices are likely to retreat as more frequent showers and heat in southern China could dampen demand, it adds. The most-traded October steel-rebar contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange is down 1.1% at CNY3,605 a metric ton.
- Iron-ore prices in China slipped in early Asian trade as concerns subside over supply risks in Brazil amid the coronavirus pandemic. Brazilian miner Vale has reiterated its production guidance of 310-330 million metric tons in 2020, despite a cluster of Covid-19 cases at its Itabira operations, ANZ says. "We feel iron ore's recent rally looks increasingly stretched, with strengthening headwinds in the steel industry likely to put downward pressure on prices in the coming months," the bank adds. The most-traded September iron-ore contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange is down 1.1% at CNY745 a metric ton.
- Base metals inch down in morning Asia trade after U.S. exports and imports fell sharply in April amid coronavirus disruptions. Aluminum faces significant upward resistance as consumption is expected to weaken, while copper's short-term upbeat outlook may not last given the peak construction season in China is nearing its end, China Futures says. The three-month LME copper and aluminum contracts are each down 0.3% at $5,519 a metric ton and $1,566 a ton, respectively.
- Gold inches higher in morning Asia trade, following news that the European Central Bank has scaled up its bond-buying program to EUR1.35 trillion. Although the precious metal has struggled to extend gains amid a more risk-on tone across markets in recent weeks, ANZ says it is likely to remain bullish over the medium term given macroeconomic uncertainties and escalating geopolitical tensions. Spot gold is up 0.1% at $1,715.36/oz.
- The ongoing rollback of virus lockdowns and some recent short-covering has seen aluminum prices increase, but bulls shouldn't get too excited, Macquarie says. The bank believes investors are anticipating a short-term normalization of demand, but ongoing bear themes such as U.S.-China trade conflict and lack of smelter reform are likely to keep a lid on the rally.
- Evolution's sale of its Cracow gold mine to Aeris Resources for up to A$125 million makes strategic sense, but it also puts a spotlight on the company's offer assets that are near depletion, UBS says. They are Mt. Rawdon, which has enough ore left for mining to continue for 5 years, and Mt. Carlton at 2 years. These assets contribute 23% of UBS's FY 2021 Ebitda forecast for Evolution, but 7% of its valuation. "At first glance, Evolution appears to be trading in line with major peers on an enterprise value-to-Ebitda basis of 8-9 times," UBS says. "But with a significant portion of this being short life (2-5 years) compared to Newcrest (more than 20 years) we do not think this is justified."
- Alumina's stock is tipped by Morgan Stanley to rise over the next two months as the alumina price is bouncing off support levels. "We expect unprofitable alumina producers to exit the market, given the ease of shutting and restarting refineries," Morgan Stanley says. "We think 2020 will provide the low point for alumina input costs, and cost inflation could help to buoy prices." Still, any upside to the commodity would be capped at a price sufficiently lower than China's marginal cost of production, currently at US$285/ton. That would allow Chinese imports to remain profitable. "With assets well positioned on the cost curve, this leaves investors placed to receive reasonable dividends, while waiting for an alumina price recovery and forecast 2020/2021 dividend yields of 4.5%/3.4%," Morgan Stanley adds. Alumina ended trading on Thursday at A$1.68.
- UBS lifts South32 to buy from neutral because several upcoming catalysts could result in the miner's share price outperforming. "We expect South32 to restart its buyback with the FY 2020 results on August 20, given its balance sheet strength/cash flow generation and as the share price is trading below net present value," UBS says. South32 suspended the buyback in March due to the coronavirus spread with US$121 million remaining. Also, South32 expects to exit its South Africa Energy Coal division by December, removing a US$824 million closure provision. Other catalysts include South32's in-principle deal for a new power contract for its Hillside smelter and the exit of loss-making manganese alloy smelters.
- AUD/USD is poised for further gains, demonstrating once again that it is a useful barometer of global risk sentiment. CBA says strong commodity prices, Australia's favorable current account position and a brightening global economic outlook can push AUD to 0.7200 by year-end from 0.6950 currently. Still, a strong currency is a risk factor for the economy going forward. Some economists are warning if the gains continue it could prompt some rethink by the RBA toward its opposition to embracing negative interest rates.
- American Airlines's 30% cuts to management staff start in its upper ranks. The airline announced a major reshuffling of its senior executives, including departures of several longtime officers with connections to pre-merger American Airlines. Some current executives are getting promotions: David Seymour, who has been senior vice president of operations, will become chief operating officer. Vasu Raja, who has been senior vice president of network strategy, will take on the newly created role of chief revenue officer, following the retirement of longtime executive Don Casey. Alison Taylor has been named chief customer officer.
- Livestock futures finished higher, with CME lean hog futures up 0.2% to 53.575 cents per pound, while live cattle futures finished 0.6% higher at 97.925 cents per pound. A weaker US dollar is one factor that helped pull livestock futures higher, even if today's export sales report didn't show strong new sales activity for beef or pork. "Weekly export data was released this morning and there may have been a sigh of relief for what it did not contain -- more cancellations from China," says Steiner Consulting Group. New pork sales totaled 17,300 metric tons, while beef sales totaled 12,300 tons.

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

- Oil prices dropped, reversing gains in the previous session, on concern over whether major crude producers will be able to agree to extend record output cuts, heightened by worries over a huge build in U.S. distillate inventories.
- Gold prices rose after an equity rally fuelled by signs of an economic recovery from mandated shutdowns sparked the biggest daily fall since April 30 in the previous session. 
- Copper prices fell due to concerns that the retaliation measures by the United States against China could further hurt the already-dampened global economy and demand for metals.
- Chicago soybean futures eased, though the market hovered near a three-week high with prices supported by strong demand for U.S. cargoes.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE climbed to their highest in more than two months on Wednesday, buoyed by a global rally in equities and the strength of Brazil's real currency, while arabica coffee also advanced.
- Malaysian palm oil futures declined after two days of sharp gains, on expectations of a jump in May inventories and tracking losses in crude and rival soyoil.

- The euro held near multi-month highs against its peers on expectations the European Central Bank will expand its bond buying programme later in the day to shore up the coronavirus-stricken economy.

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

- Oil rose, with Brent at $40 for the first time since March, as optimism mounted that major producers will extend production cuts and a recovery from the coronavirus pandemic will spur fuel demand.
- Gold traded steady after snapping a three-session winning streak in the previous day, as a rally in equity markets on hopes of more stimulus offset some support from a weaker dollar.
- London copper prices fell from their highest in 2-1/2 months, as worries whether demand for the metal can be sustained hit recent gains in prices.
- Chicago soybean futures rose for a second session with prices near last session's three-week high, underpinned by strong demand from the world's top importer China.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE closed up for a fourth straight session on Tuesday, helped by an uptick in oil prices and reduced concern over excess supplies.
- Malaysian palm oil futures inched up for a second session, hovering at a near two-month high, as crude and rival soyoil prices rose but traders remained cautious ahead of May production data release.

- Sen. Roger Wicker, the Mississippi Republican who chairs the Commerce Committee, has introduced a bill calling for relatively minor changes in how the FAA certifies new airliners. Drafted to correct problems revealed by twin fatal 737 MAX crashes that grounded the global fleet in March 2019, the legislation amounts to "a targeted approach that preserves" the current system, according to a committee staffer. The central provisions call for changes the FAA already has talked about doing or is implementing on its own. Along with some marginal revisions to safety-monitoring procedures, the bill urges reviews of flight testing protocols and pilot-computer interactions. But it leaves intact the controversial system of company employees designated to sign off on safety issues on behalf of the FAA.
- Civil unrest in the U.S. could be contributing to the dollar's pull-back in recent days, Commerzbank says. "Anyone who thinks that the USD weakness of the past days was exclusively due to risk-on [sentiment] might not have grasped the full picture," Commerzbank's Ulrich Leuchtmann says, referring to reduced demand for safe havens on optimism over the easing of coronavirus restrictions. "Evening after evening images of violent demonstrations might mean that one necessary condition for a currency being seen as a safe haven might have been breached." The dollar index falls 0.3% to 97.5770, having earlier hit an 81-day low of 97.4300, according to FactSet.
- The dollar falls to its lowest in more than two and a half months against a basket of currencies as investors continue to be optimistic about the prospects of coronavirus recovery, taking the DXY index to a low of 97.74 as investors shun safer assets. Marshall Gittler, analyst at BDSwiss says globally manufacturing purchasing managers' indexes have shown an improvement, suggesting that "the worst of the crisis is over." He notes that for now investors are shrugging off bad news, including violent protests in the U.S. The dollar may also have been hurt by reports that China plans to pause purchases of some U.S. farm goods, he says. The dollar index is last flat at 97.85.
- U.S.-China tensions are hurting trade and making it difficult to reach the goals of the countries' trade deal, Darin Friedrichs at INTL FCStone says. There are reports that China is directing state-owned enterprises to pause some purchases of U.S. agriculture products, including soybeans, and that Chinese buyers cancelled some U.S. pork orders, but Friedrichs says it is hard "to get terribly excited over this." He says it seems odd that China would use the trade deal as retaliation given that Trump didn't mention it in his actions related to Hong Kong. Washington has said it will no longer treat Hong Kong as autonomous after Beijing last week approved planned security laws for the city.

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

- Oil prices rose, with traders waiting to see whether major producers agree to extend their huge output cuts to shore up prices at a virtual meeting expected later this week.
- Gold prices held on to last session's more than one-week high on concerns around U.S.-China relations and as rising violent protests in the United States stoked fears of a resurgence in virus cases, while optimism on reopening of economies checked their rise.
- Shanghai copper prices rose to their highest in nearly three months, as demand in top metals consumer China continued to recover, though gains were capped by investor worries over the deepening U.S.-China rift. 
- Chicago soybean futures edged higher with slower pace of U.S. planting supporting the market, but concerns over demand from top importer China limited gains.
- Arabica coffee futures on ICE closed 2% up on Monday, a strong recovery after hitting a seven-month low during the session on concerns about abundant supplies.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose as traders bet on lower May production amid improving exports, but weaker rival soyoil and concerns over growing Sino-U.S. tensions capped the gains.
- The dollar was on the back foot as investors maintained their hope in a global economic recovery, despite growing concerns over U.S.-China tensions and mass protests across America over the death of a black man in police custody.

- Gun sales are likely to be strong up until the US presidential election, Craig-Hallum Capital Analyst Steve Dyer tells WSJ. He sees a similar scenario playing out in 2020 as in 2016 when the prospect of a Hillary Clinton election win prompted gun sales to spike. People were afraid of gun control and regulations with a Democratic Party win, Dyer says. Gun sales have been soft under President Trump, though this could change if people see him as beatable in November, according to Dyer. "Certainly that would lend itself typically, historically speaking to stronger gun sales," he says. Shares of gunmakers Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger along with Vista Outdoor climbing Monday as FBI background-check data pointed to strong gun demand recently and spurred by nationwide protests over the weekend.
- European stocks rally on relief that the phase one US-China trade deal remains intact despite rising tensions. The Stoxx Europe 600 rises 1.1%, the FTSE 100 climbs 1.5% and the CAC 40 advances 1.4% while the DAX is shut for a public holiday. "On Friday, equity markets in Europe sold-off heavily as dealers were worried President Donald Trump would launch a trade-related attack on China, but seeing as that didn't happen, stocks are rebounding today," CMC Markets analyst David Madden says. Shares in Primark owner Associated British Foods and retail property investor Hammerson jump on plans to reopen U.K. stores on June 15. Standard Chartered gains 8.7% after Jefferies raised its recommendation on the lender.
- Grains futures on the CBOT Monday are down pre-market, with traders spooked by what appears to be a ratcheting up of tensions between the US and China. Although President Trump did not address any changes to the Phase One trade deal signed in January in his speech Friday, Bloomberg reports this morning that China has ordered its state grain-buying companies to halt purchasing US exports of grains and meat. "This puts Phase 1 deal in doubt and I can't imagine it will be taken well by the US, so look for a firm political response when the administration wakes up," says Richard Buttenshaw of Marex Spectron. Overnight, corn on the CBOT fell 1.6%, soybeans fell 0.7%, and wheat fell 1.3%.
- Gold prices are higher as rioting in U.S. cities adds to an already strong backdrop for the safe-haven metal. COMEX futures are up 0.1% at $1,753.20 a troy ounce, their highest level in over a week. The six days of unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd in police custody adds a new layer of uncertainty to the upcoming U.S. presidential elections, as well as threatening to hamper the nation's economic recovery, analysts said, adding support to gold prices. "Geopolitical risk remains supportive amid a plethora of bullish for gold themes while anarchy in the street in the US could dent the nascent reopening recovery," said Stephen Innes, at AxiCorp.

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

- Oil prices edged down as traders took profits, with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) considering meeting as soon as this week to discuss whether to extend record production cuts beyond end-June.
- Gold prices rose as riots in major U.S. cities rattled investors already reeling from strained Sino-U.S. ties and boosted the demand for the safe-haven metal, with a weaker dollar lending further support.
- Copper prices rose on solid manufacturing data from China and a milder-than-expected response by the U.S. President Donald Trump on China's security legislation for Hong Kong.
- Chicago wheat futures fell but hovered around a one-week high hit in the previous session on supply woes due to dryness in the U.S. grain belt.
- Arabica coffee futures on ICE fell to a seven-month low on Friday weighed by weakening demand and the prospect of increasing supplies.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose to their highest level in nearly two months, supported by a rise in May exports and optimism over a recovery in demand.

- Riskier currencies rose against the dollar as investors looked to positive signs from China's post-coronavirus economic recovery and wagered on an easing in Sino-U.S. tensions.

- Base metals have begun the month higher after U.S. President Donald Trump stopped short of imposing sanctions on Chinese officials over their move to increase control over Hong Kong. Copper on the LME is up 1% at $5,433 a metric ton. Amid worsening tensions between the U.S. and China, the Trump administration withdrew Hong Kong's special status Friday but held off from the more severe action that some in the market had been anticipating. Markets were breathing a "collective sigh of relief," said Jeffrey Halley, a market analyst at OANDA. In focus Monday is the monthly slew of global manufacturing PMIs that traders will be parsing for clues on global economic health. A private reading of China's manufacturing PMI released earlier in the day rose to a four-month high.

- Trump Takes Coronavirus Cues From Stock Market.

Trump and his administration are taking cues from the stock market on when to reopen our country. Is that really the best place to get advice on a public health crisis? Today, Trump tweeted that the stock market shows why states should reopen ASAP, making clear where he is taking his cues on public health.

TRUMP: "Stock Market up BIG, DOW crosses 25,000. S&P 500 over 3000. States should open up ASAP. The Transition to Greatness has started, ahead of schedule. There will be ups and downs, but next year will be one of the best ever!"

Last night, Kudlow claimed that we know the pandemic is getting better because the stock market is going up, since it was right about the crisis getting worse in February and March.

KUDLOW: "Back last winter when stocks started plunging in late February and early March it did signal that the pandemic was spreading exponentially and it would one way or another damage the economy, and it was the right signal. So I think it's up 30%, 32%, the Dow Jones at least since the bottom on March 23. I hope that holds. I hope that is the bottom. I'd love to see the 30% number go higher. And so I think that says the virus is flattening. The market loves that." [77WABC, 5/25/20]

But in February and March, Kudlow was very wrongly predicting that coronavirus would have a minimal impact on the economy.

February 7 -- KUDLOW: "Well look, the Coronavirus is essentially a China problem, and we're doing everything we can to help them by the way -- offering advice, sending smart people over there, and so forth. It's not a U.S. problem. The impact on the American economy will be very, very, very small if any."

February 14 -- KUDLOW: "We're thinking maybe in the first quarter, we lose two or three tenths of GDP--two or three tenths of one percent of GDP." [Maria Bartiromo's Wall Street, Fox Business, 2/14/20]

March 6 -- KUDLOW: "I'm just saying, let's not overreact. In many ways, America should stay at work...I just don't want to panic. I don't want to panic on the economy, which looks sound. I don't want to panic on the virus, which frankly, most Americans are not at risk. And I don't want to panic on policy measures. Let's try to be calm and not overreact."

March 16 -- KUDLOW: "The fundamentals of the economy are strong. In fact, you know, we've had so many business groups in, they'll tell you, you know, through February, January, February, the economy was rising and the Atlanta Fed GDP now is showing three percent of 3.1 percent."

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

- Oil prices edged lower after U.S. inventory data showed lacklustre fuel demand in the world's largest oil consumer while worsening U.S.-China tensions weighed on global financial markets.
- Gold inched up and was on track for its second monthly gain as deteriorating U.S.-China ties in a world reeling from the coronavirus pandemic rattled investors and fuelled demand for the safe-haven metal.
- Shanghai aluminium prices rose to a near three-month high, underpinned by a solid recovery in demand in top consumer China and falling stockpiles.
- U.S. corn futures rose for a fifth consecutive session as concerns about adverse weather impacting crops and signs of increased demand pushed the grain towards its biggest weekly gain in more than seven months.
- Arabica coffee futures on ICE closed sharply down, hitting a 3-1/2 month low on Thursday to fall back below 100 cents per lb amid good harvest pace in top producer Brazil.
- Malaysian palm oil futures, which fell as crude prices dropped and the ringgit firmed, are set to clock their highest monthly jump since December last year at 8% as demand improves.

- The dollar was hemmed into a narrow trading range as traders' focus shifted to U.S. President Donald Trump's response to China's passage of a national security law for Hong Kong.

- Base metals weaken as concern grows over U.S.-China tensions. All metals on the LME are lower, with copper leading the declines, down 0.7% at $5336.50 a metric ton. Nonetheless, copper and aluminum are on course for weekly gains, as the strength of China's recovery bodes well for demand. But the spat between the U.S. and China over Hong Kong has generated concerns that base metal prices aren't properly reflecting the risk of another trade war, says Ed Meir at ED&F Man "Clients we talked to have expressed skepticism about the durability of the rally... and pointed out that the higher prices are not matching the realities they are seeing on the ground," he says.
- Brent crude oil is down 2.5% at $35.13 a barrel and WTI futures are down 3.1% at $32.67 a barrel, with both benchmarks on course for mild losses this week. Investors have displayed the beginnings of fears that the market may not balance as quickly as has recently been hoped, given API and EIA showed builds in U.S. crude inventories. U.S. "oil demand declined again for a second week, which is a bit of a worrying trend," says DNB's Helge Martinsen. The market is watching out for President Trump's press conference discussing China later, and any remarks from OPEC+ nations ahead of their conclave the week after next.
- Gold is higher on tensions between the U.S. and China. COMEX futures are up 0.2% at $1,730.90 a troy ounce. All eyes are on Washington, where President Trump is to hold a press conference later in the day in which he is expected to outline his response to China's move to increase control over Hong Kong. There are worries that escalating tensions could derail the trade deal the two powers signed last year and see new trade tariffs introduced. "Increasing tariffs or taking any other measures that could destabilize the global economy adds another level of economic uncertainty to the nascent recovery," says Stephen Innes, at AxiCorp. "Increased economic uncertainty has an uncanny way of lighting up gold."
- China has laid out an ambitious timetable for up to 11 launches over two years to construct a proposed space station, at a time the US seeks to resume launching astronauts from U.S. soil. Though NASA officials have talked about the importance of international collaboration for future exploration of the moon and Mars, both Washington and Beijing are pushing ahead with their own space agendas. China anticipates missions to start assembling a space station in 2021 and plans to finish construction in 2023. US military officials also have expressed concerns about Chinese moves to deploy anti-satellite weapons that could endanger American civil and national-security spacecraft.

- Soybean futures on the CBOT traded down 0.3% overnight, with grain traders unsure about how China's recent moves to override Hong Kong's autonomy will affect its relationship with the US and the Phase One trade agreement between the two nations. "Traders have had difficulty couching the political ramifications of China's legislative capture of Hong Kong, and what sanctions the US will apply?" says AgResource. Legislation passed by US Congress this week designed to sanction China for treatment of minorities, the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020, may further stoke tensions between the two nations. "Whether these new US political sanctions will undermine the US/China Phase 1 Trade Agreement is unknown," says AgResource.
- President Trump uses a trip to Florida's Kennedy Space Center to bash the extent of the Obama administration's support for NASA's human-exploration plans. During a tour and shortly before stormy weather prompted the scrub of a SpaceX launch intended to carry two astronauts into orbit, the President appeared to take credit for development of commercial-crew taxis that were started under Democratic auspices. "They had grass growing in the runways between the cracks. Now we have the best, the best of the best." In his remarks, the President also said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, who inherited the commercial initiative when he came to office following multibillion dollar NASA investments spanning a number of years, as having participated in the project "from its infancy."
- Base metals in London are lower as the market frets about rising tensions between the U.S. and China. All base metals are lower except aluminum which is flitting between minor losses and gains. Three-month copper is down 2% at $5,265.50 a metric while zinc books the largest losses, down 3.3% at $1,918.50 a ton. A move by Beijing to tighten its control over Hong Kong has reignited tensions between the U.S. and China, with Washington saying it may impose sanctions. "We could see China retaliate in kind," says Ed Meir at ED&F Man, adding that China could even withdraw from the 'phase one' trade deal the two signed last year, "something that could trigger a significant downward move in a number of markets."
- Shareholder proposals during Exxon's annual meeting highlight the company's challenge in addressing climate-change risks. Several investors called Exxon a laggard on climate issues during the meeting, proposing it provide more information about carbon emissions from its products and operations and money spent on lobbying. Meanwhile, former Trump adviser Steven Milloy said the real threat the world faces is "climate communism" and criticized Exxon for supporting a carbon tax and the Paris climate agreement.

May 28 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics ( WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices slid for a second consecutive session as U.S. industry data showed a steep and surprising build-up in crude stockpiles, dampening hopes of a smooth demand recovery as the world begins to ease its way out of coronavirus lockdowns.
- Gold edged up after hitting a two-week low in the previous session as the rift between Washington and Beijing over Hong Kong escalated, with prices also supported by central bank and government largesse to cushion the blow from the pandemic.
- Copper prices in London rose on hopes of increasing demand for the red metal as more countries around the world restarted their economies following months-long lockdowns.
- Chicago soybean futures climbed to a two-week high, supported by U.S. planting delays and strong demand from the world's top importer China.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE closed down on Wednesday as escalating U.S.-China tensions over Hong Kong weighed heavily on oil, offsetting optimism about the reopening of the world economy.
- Malaysian palm oil futures slipped as investors booked profits from sharp gains in the previous session and as U.S. crude oil prices fell on rising inventory levels.

- The dollar held its own as Asian currencies were caught in a crosscurrent between rising Sino-U.S. tensions and optimism over recovering global growth as economies re-open after coronavirus lockdowns.

May 27 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics ( WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices dipped as concerns over how quickly fuel demand will recover tempered an easing of lockdowns to halt the spread of coronavirus, while U.S.-China tensions added to negative sentiment.
- Gold prices touched a two-week low due to optimism around reopening of several economies, but increasing Sino-U.S. frictions over Beijing's proposed security law for Hong Kong tempered losses.
- Copper prices flitted in a tight range as initial euphoria over economies reopening from the lockdown was dampened by mounting fears that the Sino-U.S. friction could further hobble global business activity.
- Chicago corn futures rose for a third session as a slower-than-expected U.S. planting progress and a downgrade to Brazilian production underpinned the market.
- Chicago soybean futures rose almost 1%, after dropping to a month-low in the last session, with prices underpinned by bargain-buying and a weaker dollar although tensions between the United States and China limited gains.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE closed down on Friday after hitting near two-month highs in the previous session, with oil prices sliding on rising U.S.-China tensions and doubts over the pace of a recovery in demand following the coronavirus crisis.

- The dollar edged higher as worries about the U.S. response to China's proposed security law and renewed protests in Hong Kong supported safe-haven demand for the greenback.

- European stocks gain as investors take heart from lock-down easing measures even as U.S.-China tensions and a proposed security crackdown in Hong Kong leave Asia markets mixed. The Stoxx Europe 600 rises 0.3%, the FTSE 100 and CAC-40 advance 0.9% apiece and the DAX climbs 0.8%. The price of a barrel of Brent crude drops 1.5% to $36.19 and gold and silver prices fall. Markets in mainland China and Hong Kong took a hit from the latter's political unrest, though Japan's Nikkei rose. "With varying degrees of tenacity, the markets continued to rally on Wednesday, ignoring further potential red flags for the US-China relationship," says Connor Campbell at Spreadex.
- Base metals pare back Tuesday's gains as tensions between the U.S. and China over Hong Kong continue to build. Protests broke out in the city Wednesday over China's push to impose new national security laws, while the U.S. has said it is considering sanctioning Chinese officials involved with the new laws. Three-month copper futures on the LME were down 0.9% at $5,318.50 a metric ton while all other metals were lower except aluminum, which was flat at $1,522 a ton.

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

- Oil prices climbed, boosted by increasing faith in the market that producers will to stick to commitments to cut crude supply while demand picks up with more cars back on the road as coronavirus lockdowns are eased around the world.
- Gold prices ticked higher as brewing U.S.-China tension over Hong Kong lifted demand for the safe-haven metal, but the easing of coronavirus-induced curbs supported equities and capped further gains in bullion.
- Copper prices rose as more economies reopened after months of coronavirus-led lockdowns, boosting hopes that demand for the red metal will quickly recover.
- Chicago soybean futures rose almost 1%, after dropping to a month-low in the last session, with prices underpinned by bargain-buying and a weaker dollar although tensions between the United States and China limited gains.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE closed down on Friday after hitting near two-month highs in the previous session, with oil prices sliding on rising U.S.-China tensions and doubts over the pace of a recovery in demand following the coronavirus crisis.

- The dollar inched lower as growing optimism about a global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic supported riskier currencies, but moves lacked the exuberance of the equities market as Sino-U.S. tensions kept the mood in check.

May 25 - Reminder : Ascension Day on Thursday, the end of Ramadan on Friday and a Bank Holiday on Monday (LDN & NY closed)


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

- Oil prices eased on concerns over rising tensions between the United States and China over Beijing's plans to impose security laws on Hong Kong and the possibility of sanctions from Washington.
- Gold declined as Japanese equities rose on news of a potential stimulus programme that boosted investors' risk appetite, though fresh tensions over Hong Kong limited the metal's fall. 
- Shanghai copper prices fell in early trade, heading for a second straight dip, as investors focused on tensions over Hong Kong between the United States and top metals consumer China, whose annual parliament meeting continues this week.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE closed down on Friday after hitting near two-month highs in the previous session, with oil prices sliding on rising U.S.-China tensions and doubts over the pace of a recovery in demand following the coronavirus crisis.

- The dollar edged higher as worries about a standoff between the United States and China over civil liberties in Hong Kong fuelled demand for safe-haven currencies.


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

- Oil prices fell after China failed to set an economic growth target for 2020, sparking concerns that the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic will cap fuel demand in the world's second-largest oil user.
- Gold gained as an escalation in U.S.-China tensions underpinned bullion's safe-haven appeal, although positive economic indicators after some countries eased lockdowns set up the precious metal for a weekly drop.
- Copper prices fell after top consumer China did not set an annual growth target for the first time as the coronavirus pandemic pummels its economy, while mounting Sino-U.S. tensions also hit prices of the red metal.
- Chicago wheat edged lower for the first time in four sessions but was poised for its biggest weekly gain in two months due to concerns over lower output in Russia, the world's top exporter.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE closed down after hitting their highest in almost two months on Thursday, with profit-taking after an early boost led by further gains in crude prices and potential disruption to supplies from top exporter Brazil.
- Malaysian palm oil futures were set for a 3% weekly rise even as they fell sharply on profit-taking ahead of a long weekend for Eid celebrations and forecasts of higher May production.

- The dollar gained against major peers as worries about rising diplomatic tensions between the United States and China supported safe-haven demand for the greenback.

- Agricultural commodities fall as tensions between the U.S. and China heighten over Hong Kong. While both sides have hinted that they will continue to pursue the Phase 1 trade deal struck last year, the coronavirus and now tensions over Hong Kong are escalating the conflict between the two countries, says Michaela Helbing-Kuhl, agriculture analyst at Commerzbank. Soybean futures are down 0.7% at $8.30 a bushel in Chicago, while wheat sheds 1.3%, and corn falls 0.5%. As China moves to impose new national security laws on Hong Kong, the U.S. looks to respond with sanctions. "The potential for U.S.-Chinese conflict will thus continue to overshadow developments on the agricultural markets," Helbing-Kuhl says.
- Brent crude oil is down 5.2% at $34.18 a barrel and WTI futures are down 6.5% at $31.70 a barrel. They retain 5% and 7% gains this week respectively, but Friday marks their most significant losses for some days. Saxo Bank chief economist Steen Jakobsen says oil's losses come as broader markets are spooked by initial announcements from the Chinese Communist party meeting that the Chinese government is set to abandon any GDP target due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The party also announced new security measures for Hong Kong, which DNB Markets says may lead to new pro-democracy demonstrations and further tensions with Washington. Hopes for a rebound in the Chinese economy have been a key factor driving oil's recent rally.

- According to a report by Bloomberg, Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei is ramping up its presence in Europe, in defiance of Trump administration pressure, by filing more patent applications in Europe than any other firm in 2019. The company filed 3,524 applications, more than 600 more than filed by No. 2 Samsung Electronics Co. Most of Huawei's applications were in digital communications, specifically aimed at 5G. The Trump administration has urged European countries to desist from doing business with Huawei, over claims that the company is affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party, and that its 5G equipment could potentially be used for spying. Huawei has consistently denied the allegations.


May 21 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices rose on Thursday to their highest since March, as a drawdown of U.S. crude inventories and output cuts by major producers helped ease concerns about a supply glut, offsetting fears over the economic fallout from the COVID-19 epidemic.
- Gold fell, pressured by hopes of a swift recovery from the coronavirus-driven recession although losses were capped by prospects of more stimulus and bleak data.
- London copper hit a more than two-month high, as hopes of a swift global economic recovery pushed overnight U.S. equities higher and encouraged risk sentiment in metals.
- Chicago wheat rose for a third consecutive session to its highest in more than a week, as concerns over downgrades in the outlook for Russian grain crops pushed prices higher.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE rallied above 11 cents on Wednesday, spurred by signs of tightness in white sugar supply and a rise in oil prices as easing coronavirus pandemic-related lockdown restrictions revive fuel demand.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose as the country pledged to bolster its trade ties with top palm importer India, while improving May exports also boosted sentiment.

- The dollar clawed back some of the week's losses, as investors brought a more cautious tone to trade, while Sino-U.S. tensions and weak economic indicators dampened the mood.

- Markets fall back as Trump intensifies criticism of China - business live/AP
- Anxiety over US-China relations is weighing on the London stock market.
- The FTSE 100 index has dropped by 50 points, or 0.85%, in early trading to 6,016. France and Germany are both down over 1%.
- Trump’s blast has rather dampened the mood in the markets, where shares yesterday hit their highest levels since early March.
- China’s CSI 300 index has dipped 0.5%, and European stock markets have just dropped 1% at the start of trading.

- Beyond its hard-hitting rhetoric against China over its handling of the coronavirus, the White House has issued a broad-scale attack on Beijing’s predatory economic policies, military buildup, disinformation campaigns and human rights violations. The 20-page report does not signal a shift in U.S. policy, according to a senior administration official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the report and spoke only on condition of anonymity, but it expands on Trump’s get-tough rhetoric that he hopes will resonate with voters angry about China’s handling of the disease outbreak that has left tens of millions of Americans out of work.
- US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has also launched a stinging attack on China’s government, calling it a “brutal, authoritarian regime” that is “ideologically and politically hostile to free nations”:

- Donald Trump has alarmed investors with another stinging attack on Beijing’s handling of the pandemic -- accusing them of spreading “pain and carnage” around the world. He also appeared to single out president Xi Jinping personally, tweeting that “it all comes from the top” -- fuelling concerns that the trade deal agreed last year between the two sides could crumble.
- With an eye on November’s election, Trump also claimed that his democratic rival Joe Biden was now China’s preferred candidate.

May 20 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices rose amid signs of improving demand and a drawdown in U.S. crude inventories but worries over the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic capped gains.
- Gold prices gained as bleak data from major economies reflected the fallout from the coronavirus crisis, while the initial euphoria over a potential COVID-19 vaccine fizzled and gave way to safe-haven demand. 
- Shanghai tin prices hit a three-month high, while London tin climbed to its highest in more than three weeks, as worries over a supply deficit this year pushed up prices.
- Chicago wheat lost ground, with prices set to fall for a third session out of four, as improved weather in key exporting countries and slowing demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic weighed on the market.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE were mixed on Tuesday, with the spot contract gaining modestly while the second-month fell. The market hovered just below key resistance.
- Malaysian palm oil futures snapped a three-day winning streak, as investors booked profits in the run-up to the long weekend for Eid celebrations, while concerns of higher output in May also dented sentiment.

- The euro held firm, basking in the afterglow of a Franco-German proposal for a common fund that could move Europe closer to fiscal union while the yen languished near five-week lows amid mildly positive risk sentiment.

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

- Oil prices were mixed, with Brent pulling back from an early gain on profit-taking, while U.S. crude extended its rally amid signs that producers are cutting output as promised just as demand picks up on a resumption of economic activity.
- Gold rose, underpinned by Sino-U.S. trade friction and global stimulus although promising early-stage data for a potential COVID-19 vaccine spurred some risk appetite, keeping prices below a more than 7-year high hit in the last session.
- London copper prices hit a two-month high after encouraging data from a potential COVID-19 vaccine lifted hopes of a faster economic recovery from the pandemic fallout, though renewed Sino-U.S. tensions capped gains.
- Chicago soybean futures edged lower after climbing to a near one-week high earlier in the session, although losses were limited by strong Chinese demand and lower-than-expected U.S. crop planting.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE closed higher on Monday as oil prices jumped, tightness in white sugar supplies persisted and hopes grew for a resumption of economic activity as coronavirus lockdowns are eased.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose for a third straight session, supported by strength in rival soyoil and top producer Indonesia's move to continue funding its biodiesel programme and raise export levy, though a stronger ringgit capped gains.

- The dollar nursed losses against major currencies after encouraging results from the trial of a vaccine for COVID-19 improved sentiment in a boost to riskier assets.

- Gold has retreated sharply after breaking its month high in April. In fact, it has now broken below a bearish flag pattern and is trading at levels well below the 20-period and 50-period moving averages. The 14-period RSI has dropped to the 30s, signaling a bearish bias. The MACD stays in the negative area and has crossed below its signaling line, suggesting continued downward momentum. Thus, unless the key resistance at $1,740.0 is surpassed, the precious metal is expected to drop further to $1,716.0 and $1,703.0 on the downside. Alternatively, a break above $1,740.0 would trigger a rebound to $1,750.0 on the upside. Spot gold is trading at $1,731.0 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.

- Palm oil prices extend gains in early Asian trade, on expectations that biofuel demand may improve as oil prices recover, a Kuala Lumpur-based trader says. The coronavirus-driven crash in crude oil can hike production costs for biofuels mixed with the edible oil, squeezing any pricing advantage over other fuels. As governments across the globe move to reopen their economies, the trader says there is optimism that demand for palm oil will improve as well. The benchmark contract for July delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange is up MYR21 at MYR2,163 a metric ton.

- In his exchanges with senators Tuesday, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has been repeatedly been asked to weigh in on government support actions to help the economy navigate the coronavirus crisis. So far, the central bank chief has brushed back requests for him to give guidance about specific actions, such as whether more could be done for local government support, or whether unemployment insurance should be expanded. He said "we try to stick to our knitting over here." Powell also said Fed support facilities aimed at helping main street should be operational by month end.
- The CEOs of restaurant chains including Panera Bread and Restaurant Brands International push for changes to a federal loan fund for small business in a meeting with the president and other White House officials. Executives particularly want the administration to extend the timeframe allotted to spend the loan funding beyond the eight weeks currently allotted to help restaurants not yet in business, Restaurant Brands chief executive Jose Cil says. "We think extending it to coincident with what is happening across America with reopening dining rooms makes sense," Cil tells WSJ following the meeting.
- As President Trump's administration pushes to try to return US astronauts to the moon by 2024, some White House advisers increasingly fume at skepticism coming from NASA advisory panels.  Now, the focus is shifting to the agency's ability to fully identify and resolve safety risks associated with moon exploration. The issues are coming to a head with development of lunar landers and the projected late 2021 launch for the first test flight of NASA's heavy-lift rocket, called SLS. Beginning years ago, some Trump space advisers broached the concept of reducing the public visibility of the panels. The groups are still meeting and issuing regular updates, but government and industry space experts expect the friction to grow as the moon initiative, called Artemis, ramps up.

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

- Oil prices climbed by more than $1 a barrel, supported by output cuts and signs of gradual demand recovery amid easing coronavirus curbs, with U.S. oil showing no signs of last month's contract expiry price rout.
- Gold rose over 1% to its highest in more than seven years as dismal U.S. data underscored how badly the COVID-19 pandemic has damaged the world's top economy, while palladium soared over 9% on better-than-expected demand outlook.
- Copper prices climbed as the reopening of economies paralyzed by the coronavirus crisis boosted hopes of a revival in demand for metals.
- U.S. wheat futures fell for a second consecutive session as ample global stocks and sluggish demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic pushed prices to a near two-month low.
- Raw sugar futures closed down on Friday in a choppy session on ICE where first-month contract swung almost 40 points, reversing an early high near 10.70 cents per pound even though crude oil rose.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rallied 2%, tracking gains in crude and soybean oil, while signs of growing demand as more countries ease coronavirus restrictions helped boost sentiment.

- The dollar wavered as investor optimism about the re-opening of economies around the world lifted commodity prices and exporters' currencies, while talk of negative interest rates held the pound near an almost two-month low.

- Federal Communications Commission orders are often the last word on radio-frequency restrictions. Wireless operator Ligado is proving an exception as a group of 32 senators led by Sen. James Inhofe (R., Okla.) urges the commission in a letter to "stay and reconsider" its April decision allowing ground-based 5G signals. The FCC's decision likely saved the spectrum-license holder once known as Lightsquared from ruin and could play a role in future 5G network construction. But the senators' letter warns the commission's solution for potential GPS interference is still "unclear and wholly inadequate to a technology of this importance to the American way of life," suggesting the spat over Ligado is far from finished.
- Volumes of grains futures being traded on the CBOT Friday are generally light, as traders see a few reasons to jump headfirst into any major buying or selling as uncertainty about Covid-19 and US-China trade relations lingers. "It's difficult to find volume," says AgResource. "Few traders want to take on any additional risk heading into a weekend with the US taking a swipe at China's largest smartphone maker." On Friday, the Trump Administration issued new restrictions targeting Huawei, although White House Chief Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow says that rising tensions with China over coronavirus and Huawei are not a threat the Phase One trade agreement. Soybeans and corn are up 0.4%, and wheat is down 0.6%.
- A recent spree of US soybean export buying by China has been seen as a supportive factor for CBOT soybean futures. Even so, July soybean futures are down for the week, and are only trading 0.2% higher Friday. Even as increased Chinese interest is noted, higher-level relations between the US and China continue to be a question mark, with the Trump administration today announcing a new export restriction designed to cut off Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies from overseas semiconductor manufacturers. "The move is expected to further anger Chinese leaders who are already rejecting U.S. claims that they were less than transparent, and perhaps even deceptive, in their handling of the coronavirus in the early weeks of the outbreak," says Arlan Suderman of INTL FCStone.
- The euro could turn lower on growing worries that the EU's coronavirus recovery fund is insufficient and that the bloc can no longer rely on the European Central Bank to revive the economy, Commerzbank says. Eurogroup talks are being held Friday with the focus on the volume and financing of the recovery fund but an agreement is unlikely to Nguyen says. Meanwhile, last week's ruling by Germany's constitutional court on the ECB's quantitative easing program "might limit" the monetary authority's scope to act, she says. "The continued uncertainty will continue to put pressure on the euro, in particular if concerns about the economic effects of the coronavirus crisis rise further." EUR/USD rises 0.1% to 1.0813.
- The US dollar strengthens 0.2% against the euro and 0.3% against the yen. President Trump said earlier he would prefer a stronger dollar to accompany the economic recovery. He also said he's considering requiring Chinese companies to follow US accounting rules to be listed on NYSE and criticized China's handling of the pandemic, raising trade fears. Nearly 3M workers applied for unemployment benefits last week, almost 200K lower than the previous week and bringing the total to 36.5M. The S&P 500 rises 1.2% and 10-year Treasury yields fall to around 0.62%. The WSJ Dollar Index rises slightly.

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

- Oil prices rose, extending day-earlier gains, as data showed demand for crude picking up in China after the easing of curbs to stem the coronavirus outbreak, boosting hopes that the global supply overhang may start to fade.
- Gold rose to trade below a three-week high reached in the previous session, as cracks widened in Sino-U.S. relations and investors worried a recovery from coronavirus-induced economic slump would be slower than expected.
- Copper prices advanced on data showing a solid recovery in top consumer China and hopes of more stimulus measures to help global economies hit by the coronavirus outbreak.
- U.S. soybean futures edged higher from a one-week low hit in the previous session, but were on track to post their biggest weekly drop in a month amid expectations for ample supplies and tepid global demand.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE closed up on Thursday as gains in crude oil helped trigger short-covering, while arabica coffee also advanced.
- Malaysian palm oil futures jumped after the world's second-largest producer lowered its export duty on the commodity to zero for June, setting the contract to log a 2.9% gain for the week.

- The dollar eased from a three-week high but looked set for a modest weekly gain as rising Sino-U.S. tensions and worries about a second wave of coronavirus infections rattled investors.

- The US dollar strengthens 0.2% against the euro and 0.3% against the yen. President Trump said earlier he would prefer a stronger dollar to accompany the economic recovery. He also said he's considering requiring Chinese companies to follow US accounting rules to be listed on NYSE and criticized China's handling of the pandemic, raising trade fears. Nearly 3M workers applied for unemployment benefits last week, almost 200K lower than the previous week and bringing the total to 36.5M. The S&P 500 rises 1.2% and 10-year Treasury yields fall to around 0.62%. The WSJ Dollar Index rises slightly.
- Proposed legislation would require airlines to refund money when passengers cancel trips during the coronavirus pandemic. Currently airlines are required to provide cash refunds when a flight is canceled, but most only offer vouchers if travelers call off a trip. Airlines have said they would quickly deplete their already diminished cash reserves if they had to offer full refunds even when passengers cancel their own travel. Under the bill introduced by five Democratic senators, carriers would be allowed to pay for refunds with government loans approved under the Cares Act, though not with the emergency federal funding designated for payroll expenses.

May 14 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics ( WSJ DJ Reuters )

- Oil prices were lifted by an unexpected drop in U.S. crude stocks, but gains were capped by both a bleak outlook for the world's no. 1 economy as the coronavirus pandemic crushes fuel demand and concern over a potential second wave of cases.
- Gold eased as U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell downplayed the possibility of negative interest rates, but his warning of an extended period of weak economic growth capped the metal's losses.
- Copper prices inched up on signs of steady demand from top consumer China, but appetite was weak amid worries over a prolonged period of weak growth.
- U.S. wheat futures fell to a near two-month low, weighed down by plentiful global stockpiles as coronavirus-induced lockdown led to lower demand for the grain.
- Arabica coffee futures on ICE closed down for the third consecutive session on Wednesday, as signs of a healthy Brazilian harvest and worries about demand pressured futures.
- Malaysian palm oil futures fell slightly, tracking weakness in rival soyoils, although losses were capped by a weaker ringgit and stronger crude oil.

- The dollar held gains against major currencies after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell dismissed speculation that policymakers will adopt negative interest rates.

May 13 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics ( WSJ DJ Reuters )

- Oil prices fell on worries about a possible second wave of coronavirus cases in countries starting to ease lockdowns, while industry data showed a rise in U.S. crude inventories.
- Gold held steady as market participants stayed away from making big bets ahead of a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell amid rising speculation the United States could one day adopt negative interest rates.
- Copper prices declined as traders fretted about signs of a second wave of coronavirus infections that could add more pressure to the already-hit global economy.
- Chicago corn slid, falling for two out of three sessions, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) raised its forecast for supplies on expectations of higher production amid lower demand.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE closed up on Tuesday as oil prices recovered on production cut pledges, though weakness in the Brazilian real and worries over steep consumption falls amid the coronavirus pandemic kept gains in check.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose, helped by a lower production outlook for May, although gains were capped as April inventories jumped to a five-month high amid worries over coronavirus-led demand slump.

- The dollar was on the defensive against its rivals as traders looked to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's speech.

- The White House lawyer nominated to watch over the Treasury Department's $500B pot of coronavirus-relief money has cleared the Senate Banking Committee in a near-party-line vote. Brian D. Miller, who was tapped by President Trump to serve as special inspector general for pandemic recovery, passed the committee with the support of 14 members and opposition from 11. The only Democrat who voted in favor of his nomination was Doug Jones of Alabama. Other Democrats criticized Miller for denying requests for information from the White House amid investigation into the Trump administration's freezing of security aid to Ukraine. The next and final stage in his nomination is a vote on the full Senate floor.

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

- Oil futures rose, boosted by an unexpected commitment from Saudi Arabia to deepen production cuts in June in a bid to help drain the glut in the global market that has built up as the coronavirus pandemic crushed fuel demand.
- Gold rose as the metal's safe-haven appeal was boosted by growing worries about a second wave of coronavirus infections after some countries reported a jump in new cases, although a stronger dollar capped the gains.
- Shanghai lead hit a two-month high on low supply and data signalling inventory withdrawals from warehouses outside China in the coming days, although the metal's demand outlook remained weak.
- Chicago wheat futures slid for a third consecutive session to a one-week low as improved weather across the Northern Hemisphere boosted expectations of ample supplies.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE closed down on Monday, weighed partly by a further weakening in the currency of top exporter Brazil, while cocoa prices closed higher.
- Malaysian palm oil futures fell, dragged lower by top buyer India's import restrictions on the refined product and as the market maintained a cautious stance ahead of official data.

- China policy round-up: Trump accuses WHO of being 'China centric'
Trump has accused the WHO of being biased towards China in its handling of the pandemic. In a Tuesday White House briefing, he threatened to put a “very powerful hold” on US funding to the organisation. Trump later wrote on Twitter:
“The [WHO] really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric.”
He added: “We will be giving that a good look. Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?”
In response to Trump’s attack, the WHO’s regional director for Europe said that now was “not the time to cut back funding”.
Its director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, added in a Wednesday press briefing: “At the end of the day, the people belong to all political parties. The focus of all political parties should be to save their people. Please don’t politicize this virus.”
He also said: “If you don’t want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it.”

- Chinese state-owned Xinhua News published a detailed timeline of the government’s response since the Covid-19 epidemic started in December. The timeline, published on Monday, shows that the first case in China was discovered in Wuhan at the end of December. As early as January 3, China had begun providing regular updates of the outbreak to the WHO, relevant countries and regions and the US.
On January 7, Chinese president Xi Jinping gave instructions on the epidemic response when presiding over a meeting of the Politburo Standing Committee, the document shows.
The timeline ends on March 31. By then, the government had provided masks, protective suits, nucleic acid testing reagent and ventilators to 120 countries and four international organisations, according to Xinhua. Local governments and domestic enterprises had also donated medical supplies to more than 50 and 100 countries, respectively.

- China is buying agricultural products as agreed in the US-China phase one trade deal, despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Trump said in a Monday press briefing.
“It seems like [China is] buying so we will let you know how that’s going, but they are buying anywhere from $40bn to $50bn worth of our agricultural product that would have a huge impact on our farmers, a tremendous impact on our farmers,” Trump said. “But we’re watching it very closely.”

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

- Oil prices fell as concern over a persistent glut and economic gloom caused by the coronavirus pandemic combined to cancel out support from supply cuts at some of the world's top producers.
- Gold prices rose, holding above the key $1,700 per ounce support level, as a new wave of coronavirus infections in some countries raised expectations of further stimulus measures and lower interest rates.
- London copper hit its highest in eight weeks on hopes of better demand for metals as certain countries started to ease lockdowns that were enforced to curb the coronavirus pandemic.
- Chicago soybean futures rose for a third consecutive session to hit a one-month high, while corn prices gained on expectations of higher demand from top buyer China.
- ICE arabica coffee futures closed up on Friday, recovering from losses in the previous session, as the Brazilian currency firmed and the winter approaches in the Southern Hemisphere.

- The dollar rose against the yen as moves by the United States and other countries to re-open their economies raised hopes for a quicker global recovery from a deep recession triggered by the coronavirus health crisis.

- Top Trump economic advisers say unemployment rate could surpass 20 percent, job market could worsen: At a time when governors are grappling with how and when to safely reopen their states, the advisers' comments underscore that further economic pain is still to come. Two of President Trump's top economic advisers projected Sunday that unemployment will climb as the coronavirus pandemic continues its sweep across the United States, with one official predicting that the unemployment rate will jump to 20 percent by next month.

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

- Oil prices gained as more countries began relaxing restrictions put in place to halt the coronavirus pandemic, raising hopes that demand for crude and its products will start to pick up.
- Gold was hovering near a two-week high hit in the previous session as investors awaited the U.S. jobs report to gauge the health of the economy after grim economic indicators raised the prospects of more rate cuts by the Federal Reserve.
- Shanghai copper rose to a three-week high and was on course for its second straight weekly jump, buoyed by strong import numbers in China and signs that the Sino-U.S. trade deal would be implemented despite the coronavirus disruption.
- Chicago soybean futures climbed for a second session to a one-week high as upbeat Chinese demand underpinned prices, although the oilseed is on course for a marginal weekly decline due to concerns about the state of U.S.-China relations.
- ICE arabica coffee futures fell on Thursday as the Brazilian real hit another record low and investors grew concerned about rising supplies in top producer Brazil.
- Malaysian palm oil futures climbed more than 2%, buoyed by hopes of a revival in demand due to the easing of coronavirus-led curbs in some countries and a fall in inventories in top producer Indonesia, but the contract was set for a sharp weekly decline.

- The dollar slipped as investors defied a broader sense of doom around upcoming U.S. employment data and found reasons to buy riskier currencies with more governments slowly reopening their economies for business.

- Canada PM Justin Trudeau rejects calls from other political parties to refrain from further financial help to the country's energy sector. Leaders of the Bloc Quebecois, legislature's third-largest party, and the smaller Green Party proclaimed western Canada's oil industry dead, and say financial assistance should go instead solely to renewable energy. "I don't share that assessment," Trudeau says at his daily press briefing. He says the federal government needs to support the province of Alberta, the center of Canadian energy production, as it faces a crisis stemming from the pandemic, and earlier moves by Saudi Arabia and Russia to bolster production. Trudeau has promised further financial support to sectors hard hit from the pandemic, and he has identified energy as one such industry.
- The latest flareup in U.S.-China tensions is unlikely to spur fresh tariff escalations as both countries' priority now is to control the damage the pandemic is wreaking on their economies, Morgan Stanley says. The two superpowers have been trading barbs since Trump and other U.S. officials made comments blaming China for the coronavirus. MS expects the countries will likely limit measures to "tough rhetoric and regulation," which should preserve the phase-one trade deal and cap any near-term fallout from the renewed tensions. The two governments' motivations to prioritize an economic rebound over trade conflict are heightened by upcoming U.S. elections and China's weakening job market, a key concern for Beijing given the importance of employment in maintaining social stability.
- Gold futures inch up in early Asian trade ahead of the release of the U.S. nonfarm payrolls data on Friday, widely expected to be one of the worst ever. Meanwhile, rising U.S.-China tensions over the coronavirus pandemic is reducing investors risk appetite and boosting demand for the precious metal. Gold should see strong support from the $1,650/oz level in the short term and may target $1,800/oz over the next few months, Oanda says. Spot gold is up 0.3% at $1,691.10/oz.
- Sen. Maria Cantwell (D, Wash.) says some airlines are likely running afoul of what Congress intended by reducing employee hours. The federal stimulus law bars airlines from laying workers off or cutting pay rates in exchange for $25B in aid. Sen. Cantwell says she will be sending a letter to the Treasury along with Sen. Sherrod Brown
(D, Ohio) and Sen. Chuck Schumber (D, NY) clarifying that "mandatory or forced reductions in payroll hours is not what the CARES act intended." United Airlines earlier Tuesday backed away from a move to reduce all its baggage handlers and other airport service employees to part time status.

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

- Oil prices steadied as data showed China's crude imports rebounded, but market watchers expect gains to be capped by the glut in supplies as the coronavirus pandemic crushes global fuel demand.
- Gold rose as bleak economic data raised doubts about a recovery in the coronavirus-hit global economy even though some countries started to ease lockdown restrictions.
- Copper futures rose, along with other industrial metals, buoyed by a rebound in China's demand for the manufacturing material and an unexpected rise in the country's overall exports in April.
- Chicago soybean futures rebounded as Chinese cargo purchases supported the market, although concerns over worsening relations between Beijing and Washington kept a lid on prices.
- ICE raw sugar futures closed sharply lower on Wednesday, erasing part of the gains in the previous session, as oil prices and Brazil's currency fell.

- The safe-haven yen hovered near a seven-week high against the dollar as investors limited their exposure to riskier assets amid dire global economic data, rising trade tensions and concerns over the euro zone.

May 06 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices reversed course to edge lower as a higher than expected rise in U.S. inventories refocused investors on the risk of oversupply amid a coronavirus-driven slump in fuel demand.
- Gold prices slipped as the gradual easing of some coronavirus-led restrictions by several nations raised prospects of more global economic activity, denting demand for the safe-haven metal.
- London copper prices rose to their highest in nearly a week, amid hopes of better demand as countries start to ease coronavirus-induced restrictions.
- Chicago soybean futures slipped, as concerns over a decline in demand due to the coronavirus outbreak eclipsed purchases of U.S. cargoes by the world's top importer China.
- ICE raw sugar and arabica coffee prices closed up on Tuesday as investors took comfort from a recovery in the Brazilian real and a rally in oil prompted by easing coronavirus lockdown restrictions in some countries.
- Malaysian palm oil futures inched up, tracking an overnight jump in crude prices, although forecasts for higher April inventory and rising U.S.-China tensions capped gains.

- The yen scaled a three-year high against the euro and a seven-week peak on the dollar, after a court decision challenging German participation in Europe's stimulus programme and worries about a bumpy global recovery spooked investors.

- The Japanese yen could gain further ground against the dollar in coming months due to worries about the spread of coronavirus in the U.S. and growing U.S.-China tensions, Rabobank says. Fears that U.S. President Donald Trump could follow through on his threat to use tariffs to respond to China over its handling of the coronavirus
pandemic is a "significant risk off event" that could boost the safe haven appeal of the yen given its implications for Chinese growth, Rabobank FX strategist Jane Foley says. Rabobank lowers itsUSD/JPY is last down 0.3% at 1.06.161, having earlier reached a seven-week low of 106.050, according to FactSet.
- Sinclair Broadcast reports that 1Q revenue grew by 123% year over year, mainly due to its acquisitions of sports-broadcasting networks last year. But even excluding those acquisitions, media revenue grew by 17%. A big contributor was political advertising, Sinclair says, as the primary season before the 2020 elections played out. Political ad revenue increased from $2 million in 1Q 2019 to $42 million this year.

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

- Oil prices rose, extending gains from the previous session, on expectations that fuel demand will begin to recover as some U.S. states and nations in Europe and Asia start to ease coronavirus lockdown measures.
- Gold prices edged lower as moves by some countries to relax coronavirus restrictions reduced the metal's safe-haven appeal, even though markets remained wary of souring relations between China and the United States.
- Industrial metals prices advanced  on hopes for a pick up in economic activity as some U.S. states laid out plans to ease coronavirus-driven restrictions.
- Chicago corn futures edged higher after two straight sessions of losses, although gains were capped by rapid U.S. planting progress and coronavirus-fuelled demand concerns.
- ICE raw sugar futures closed sharply lower on Monday as the market corrected after gaining nearly 13% last week.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose off nine-month lows hit in the previous session as crude prices jumped, although gains were limited by forecasts for higher April inventory.

- The dollar handed back a sliver of recent gains to commodity currencies as oil prices bounced back, but hung on against the yuan as traders weighed optimism about a coronavirus recovery in China against fears about rising Sino-U.S. tensions.

- House Democrats responsible for setting NASA's human exploration priorities have blasted agency plans to use commercially developed and corporate-owned spacecraft to accelerate astronaut missions to the lunar surface. Responding to NASA's recent award of almost $1 billion overall to three company teams, leaders of the House
Science Committee reiterated their opposition to such government-industry partnerships and signaled they might seek to block program funding. While the Senate in the past has supported NASA's initiative, stopgap authorization and appropriations bills for 2021 could put White House projections of a 2024 crewed landing on the moon out of reach.
- The USDA says Monday that it will make new purchases of US food products to help support US industries and communities in need. Among the $470M in food purchases being made beginning in the third quarter of 2020 is $30M in US pork and $30M in US chicken, the USDA says. Additionally, $120M in US dairy is being purchased. "America's farmers and ranchers have experienced a dislocated supply chain caused by the Coronavirus," says Agricultural Secretary Sonny Perdue. "USDA is in the unique position to purchase these foods and deliver them to the hungry Americans who need it most." Hog futures on the CME are up 3.7% per pound today, while cattle futures are up 0.8%.
- The US government's tight grip on availability of a coronavirus treatment developed by Gilead could be negative for the drug industry, SVB Leerink says. The brokerage says Washington's plans to use authorized distributors or government agencies to control remdesivir's distribution to hospitals and other treatment providers are virtually unprecedented and didn't apply to drugs for previous epidemics. "In our view, it sets an uneasy precedent for the industry," Leerink analysts say, adding they hope the government lifts the controls as remdesivir supplies increase. "We see this as one step short of the industry's most feared outcome, which is 'march-in' rights involving the seizure of intellectual property and mandatory manufacturing and supply."
- The euro could fall to $1.05 this summer from $1.0911 at present if EU leaders continue to disagree over how to support the eurozone's most vulnerable economies through the coronavirus crisis, Rabobank says. "While the Eurozone's huge current account surplus may continue to lend support, sentiment in the EUR will be eroded if politics
turn sour on the issue of fiscal coherence within the region," Rabobank FX strategist Jane Foley. In coming weeks, EUR/USD could drop to 1.08 on safe haven demand for the dollar as U.S.-China tensions resume and global economic data shows the "scale of the demand side crisis that the world economy faces," she says. After that, a drop towards 1.05 over the summer "cannot be ruled out," she adds.

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

- Oil prices fell, paring last week's gains, on worries a global oil glut may persist amid slumping demand and U.S.-China trade tensions that could restrict an economic recovery even as coronavirus pandemic lockdowns start to ease.
- Gold prices were little changed, as the dollar firmed, but rising U.S.-China tensions over the coronavirus kept bullion underpinned near the key $1,700 level.
- London copper prices slipped to a near two-week low on fears of excess supply, as some producers looked set to resume operations and demand took a hit from the coronavirus outbreak.
- Chicago wheat futures slid for a second session, with forecasts of rains in key U.S. and European growing regions easing concerns over dryness hitting production.
- ICE raw sugar futures hit a one-month high on Friday, extending the previous session's sharp gains as Brent prices steadied above $26 a barrel and after a giant delivery against the May contract.
- Malaysian palm oil futures slipped more than 2% after three straight sessions of gains, dragged lower by weaker crude oil and CBOT soybean oil amid rising tensions between the United States and China over the coronavirus outbreak.

- President Trump's plans to levy new tariffs on China to punish the country for their response to coronavirus, as reported by the Washington Post Thursday, has grains markets on alert. The implication is that if Trump plans to levy new tariffs on China, then the Phase One trade agreement is no longer in force -- which would derail grains futures more than they've already been. "CBOT traders will be watching closely on whether Trump points a finger at China President Xi and makes China's virus villain  struggle personal," says AgResource. Grains futures are down across the board, led by wheat -- which is down 0.8% pre-market.

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

- Oil prices rose, extending the previous session's gains, as major producers began output cuts to offset a slump in fuel demand triggered by the coronavirus pandemic while data showed U.S. crude inventories grew less than expected.
- Gold rose as dismal data from the United States underscored the deep economic impact of the coronavirus, but moves by some countries to ease tough containment measures kept bullion on track for its worst week in a month and a half.
- London copper fell to a four-day low as demand prospects weakened following a slew of bleak economic data from the United States and escalating tensions over its trade with top metals user China.
- U.S. soybean futures edged lower after touching a one-week high in the previous session, although the oilseed was poised for its biggest weekly gain in five on signs of stronger demand from China.
- ICE raw sugar futures closed sharply higher on Thursday, extending the previous session's gains as crude oil prices rose for a second day in a day of record deliveries against the May contract expiration.
- Arabica coffee has also closed up. Malaysian palm oil futures ended higher for a third straight session on Thursday, tracking crude and soybean oil prices, as signs of lower-than-expected growth in U.S. crude glut and a demand recovery for fuel boosted sentiment.

- The dollar fell against the euro and jumped against the Japanese yen on Thursday as investors focused on month-end rebalancing of their portfolios.

May 01 - LONDON MARKET OPEN: Trump Tariff Threat Gets May Off To Red Start

- Stocks in London started Friday in the red as US President Donald Trump threatened to reignite the US-China trade war.
In a torrid week for the UK's big lenders, RBS continued the trend of falling profits on rising credit losses. Over the past week, London's five FTSE 100 banks have taken a total GBP7.50 billion in credit loss impairments. On Friday, RBS contributed GBP802 million of this.
The FTSE 100 index was 137.71 points lower, or 2.3%, at 5,763.50 early Friday. The mid-cap FTSE 250 index was down 338.67 points, or 2.1%, at 16,115.79. The AIM All-Share index was down 1.1% at 801.43.
The Cboe UK 100 index was down 2.3% at 9,750.77. The Cboe 250 was down 1.8% at 13,899.91, and the Cboe UK Small Companies down 0.2% at 9,066.29.
"European stocks are taking the lead from Wall Street and Asia, pointing to a sharply lower start on the open. Sobering comments from tech giants Apple and Amazon in addition to fears of a new chapter to the US China trade war are weighing on sentiment at the end of the trading week and the start of the new month, pulling equities lower and boosting the safe haven dollar," City Index analyst Fiona Cincotta said.

- In the US on Thursday, Wall Street closed in the red, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ending down 1.2%, the S&P 500 down 0.9% and the Nasdaq Composite closing 0.3% lower. Trump on Thursday threatened China with fresh tariffs as he stepped up his attacks on Beijing over the coronavirus crisis, saying he had seen evidence linking a Wuhan lab to the contagion. Asked if he had seen anything giving him a high degree of confidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was the source of the outbreak, Trump replied, "Yes, I have."
Pressed by reporters at the White House for details on what made him so confident, Trump replied: "I cannot tell you that."

- Trump is increasingly making Beijing's handling of the outbreak a major issue for his November re-election campaign.
After the bell in New York, tech giant Amazon and Apple released first-quarter results - which followed news that another 3.8 million Americans had filed jobless claims, taking the overall total of claims to over 30 million.
Apple said it made a profit of USD11.2 billion on sales of USD58.3 billion in the quarter, compared to net income of USD11.7 billion on revenue of USD58 billion in the same period a year earlier. "Despite COVID-19's unprecedented global impact, we're proud to report that Apple grew for the quarter, driven by an all-time record in services and a quarterly record for wearables," Chief Executive Tim Cook said in an earnings release.

- Net sales of iPhones – the big earnings segment for Apple in recent years – dropped 6.7% from a year earlier, however.
Apple lost 2.6% in the New York after-hours trading session.
Amazon said that profits took a hit in the past quarter due to the global pandemic and that its earnings in current period will be wiped out by COVID-related expenses.
The technology and e-commerce giant said revenue surged 26% in the recently completed quarter to more than USD75 billion as people hunkered down at home due to the pandemic turned to it for supplies and entertainment. But profit slipped 29% from a year ago to USD2.5 billion. Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said all profits in the April-June quarter would be erased by expenses linked to the global virus outbreak. Amazon shed 4.8% in after-hours trading.
Cincotta continued: "Despite the sell off yesterday, global stocks posted their best month since 2011 in April thanks to a slowdown in coronavirus infections, optimism surrounding the gradual reopening of economies and massive stimulus initiatives. However, data and earnings are serving as a reminder that the economic pain is really only just beginning."

- In Asia on Friday, the Japanese Nikkei 225 index closed down 2.7%. Japan's manufacturing sector saw its downturn intensify in April with production falling at the sharpest rate since 2009, IHS Markit data showed. The headline au Jibun Bank purchasing managers' index dropped to an 11-year low of 41.9 in April from 44.8 in March. Any reading over 50 indicates expansion in the sector and one below contraction.

- Financial markets in China and across Europe - including Germany and France - are closed Friday for the Labour Day holiday.
In London, RBS was among the few blue-chip firms in the green in early trading, up 2.6%.
RBS reported a sharp drop in first-quarter profit, as it was forced to significantly increase its credit impairments to cope with the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the three months to March 31, the state-backed lender's operating pretax profit nearly halved to GBP519 million from GBP1.01 billion in the same period the year before. Attributable profit for the first quarter came in at GBP288 million, down 59% from GBP707 million a year before. RBS recorded GBP802 million in impairment losses in the quarter, up from GBP86 million a year before. The credit losses represents 90 basis points of gross customer loans, compared to 11 basis points the year before.
The significant rise, RBS said, was to cover the "more uncertain economic outlook".
Net interest income was down 4.4% year on year at GBP1.94 billion from GBP2.03 billion. Total income was up 3.9% however at GBP3.16 billion. The bank's net interest margin worsened to 1.89% from 2.07% a year before. The lender's falling margins were blamed on continued structural pressure in the mortgage business, as front book margins remain below back book, and on the contraction of the yield curve. RBS total loans to customers ended the quarter at GBP351.3 billion, up from GBP306.4 billion at the same point in 2019.

- Royal Dutch Shell A shares sunk to the bottom of the FTSE 100, down 6.3%, as HSBC cut the oil major to Hold from Buy. B shares were down 5.6%. On Thursday, Shell announced its first dividend cut since the second world war as it grapples with lower oil prices. The Anglo-Dutch company slashed its first-quarter dividend to 16 US cents from 47 cents. Shell's first-quarter current cost of supplies earnings attributable to shareholders, excluding items, were USD2.9 billion, down 46% on a year ago due to a drop in oil, gas and liquefied natural gas prices as well as lower sales volumes. The oil giant produced 3.7 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, down 1% on a year before.

- Ryanair was down 4.5%. The Irish budget airline said it could slash up to 3,000 jobs as it embarks on a restructuring in response to destructive effects the Covid-19 has had pandemic on travel. Ryanair also took aim at what it labelled as "state-aid doping", to which the likes of airline Deutsche Lufthansa and Anglo-German holiday operator TUI have turned in the face of the ongoing health crisis. "As a direct result of the unprecedented Covid-19 crisis, the grounding of all flights from mid-March until at least July, and the distorted state aid landscape in Europe, Ryanair now expects the recovery of passenger demand and pricing to 2019 levels will take at least 2 years, until summer 2022 at the earliest," Ryanair explained. The airline's restructuring may result in 3,000 job losses, mainly with pilots and cabin crew, but also pay cuts as high as 20% and the closure of a number of bases across Europe. The latter measure will be in place until traffic recovers, Ryanair noted. Dublin-based Ryanair's outlook for its first half and beyond is bleak. Travel restrictions mean its first quarter traffic will be more than 99% lower than initially planned. It expects traffic of fewer than 150,000 passengers, a fraction of its initial forecast of 42.4 million passengers. It expects to operate fewer than 1% of its scheduled flight programme in April, May and June. The second quarter, running from July to September, will improve, Ryanair predicted, but its traffic will be a shadow of what it hoped for prior to the pandemic.

Hargreaves Lansdown lost 3.1% as Liberum cut the fund supermarket to Hold from Buy.
- Sterling was quoted at USD1.2556 early Friday, down from USD1.2601 at the London equities close on Thursday.
- The euro traded at USD1.0958 early Friday, firm on USD1.0874 late Thursday. Against the yen, the dollar was quoted at JPY106.97, flat on JPY106.94.
- Gold was at USD1,672.10 an ounce early Friday, lower than USD1,704.48 on Thursday.
- Brent oil was trading at USD26.40 a barrel early Friday down slightly from USD26.50 late Thursday.

The economic events calendar on Friday has manufacturing PMI readings from the UK and US at 0930 BST and 1445 BST respectively.

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

- Oil prices jumped, extending steep gains in the previous session on signs the U.S. crude glut is not growing as quickly as expected and that gasoline demand battered by COVID-19 restrictions is starting to pick up.
- Gold eased as risk appetite was boosted by positive trial results of an experimental COVID-19 treatment, although the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to keep interest rates near zero kept bullion above the $1,700 per ounce level.
- Copper prices were on track for their best monthly gain in 28 months, as an expansion in manufacturing activity in top consumer China added to existing signs of improving demand.
- Chicago soybean and corn futures rose for a second straight session underpinned by expectations of a recovery in feed demand after U.S. President Donald Trump ordered meat processing plants to remain open.
- ICE raw sugar futures closed sharply higher on Wednesday as gains in crude oil sparked a wave of short covering as the front-month contract approached expiration.
- Malaysian palm oil futures climbed for a third straight session, tracking higher crude and soybean oil prices, as traders awaited data on April exports due later in the day.

- The dollar fell after the U.S. Federal Reserve left the door open to more monetary easing and dampened expectations for a quick economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

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

- U.S. oil prices jumped, trimming some of this week's losses, after U.S. stockpiles rose less than expected and on expectations demand will increase as some European countries and U.S. cities moved to ease coronavirus lockdowns.
- Gold prices edged higher as a weaker dollar eclipsed optimism stemming from some plans to ease coronavirus-led restrictions gradually, while investors awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy decision later in the day.
- Zinc prices advanced due to supply disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic and as improving demand in China added support.
- Chicago corn futures ticked higher, recouping some of the sharp losses suffered earlier this week, although prices remained near more than a decade low on weak demand for the grain-based fuel ethanol.
- ICE raw sugar futures closed higher on Tuesday on positioning ahead of the expiration of the May contract later this week, after having hit a 12-1/2 year low with the prospect of record production in Brazil and falling demand in places like India.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose, tracking stronger crude and soybean oil prices and supported by bargain-hunting, although concerns over weakening global demand due to coronavirus-driven lockdowns capped the gains.

- Gains in livestock futures -- with hog futures trading up 10% earlier -- have receded as President Trump commented to reporters Tuesday about plans to sign an executive order that may keep meat processing plants open. Although Trump did not confirm the content of such an order, media reports say that the order would force meat processors like Tyson Foods to stay open despite coronavirus outbreaks, in an effort to mitigate food supply concerns. Hog futures gains have now shrunk to up 1.4%, while cattle is up 0.8% .

- St Barbara seems more likely to pursue a sulphides project at its Simberi gold mine in Papua New Guinea after some positive reserves estimates, Canaccord says. Four years ago a prefeasibility study envisaged a US$100 million project producing 130,000 ounces of gold in concentrate annually at an all-in cost of less than US$1,000/oz.
Canaccord thinks capex of US$150 million is more realistic now, with 110,000 ounces of annual output at A$1,270/oz over 10 years. That could deliver a project net present value of A$625 million, with commissioning in mid-2022, it says.
- India's sugar production and exports are likely to be hampered by the coronavirus lockdown even though the commodity was declared essential and exempt from the restrictions, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says. Production is being hindered by labor shortages and issues with domestic shipments, it says. These factors, along with force majeurs at seven of India's ports, have led to no new sugar deals being reported during lockdown, the USDA says.
- Global palm oil demand remains weak even though there are signs that shipments are increasing for Ramadan, Rabobank says. It adds that Covid-19 related logistics issues and a weak Indian rupee will likely limit demand from India, one of the world's largest buyers in the short term, while Indonesia is unlikely to meet its 30% biofuels
target. The Bursa Malaysia benchmark palm oil contract for July delivery closed MYR1.00 higher at MYR2,019 a metric ton Tuesday.
- Coronado Global Resources's coal production could fall to 16.9 million tons this year due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, while an expansion of its Curragh mine is likely to be delayed, Goldman Sachs says. Coronado had earlier targeted up to 20.2 million tons of coal production this year but pulled that guidance after restrictions to slow the spread of the virus were imposed. "We have also reduced group capex from the guided US$190 million-US$210 million to US$120 million with the shutdowns in the U.S. and the weaker AUD," Goldman says. It expects a planned expansion at Curragh to an annual production capacity of 15 million tons of coal to be achieved in 2024, a year later than Coronado's current timeline.
- Gold grades at Northern Star's Kalgoorlie operations should recover in the three months through June, but not fully, Goldman Sachs says. Northern Star's 3Q update was a 25% miss to Goldman's forecast grades at Kalgoorlie, although it was partly offset by higher mill throughput as low-grade stockpiles and third-party toll treating were utilized. Northern Star also shifted to the lower-grade Pode mining area after encountering issues at the Raleigh mine during the quarter. Goldman, which rates Northern Star at neutral, expects costs to stay elevated in 4Q as restrictions to slow the coronavirus spread remain in place, which have limited flexibility across the different working areas, crews and equipment fleets.
- Saracen Mineral Holdings kept its FY 2020 guidance for production of 500,000 troy ounces of gold, which Morgan Stanley thinks portends a beat. It notes that Saracen's Carosue Dam is tracking toward annualized output of 204,000 oz, while Thunderbox is headed for 190,000 oz. Only the Super Pit was below Morgan Stanley's forecasts in the March quarter--and then only slightly. Morgan Stanley, which has an equalweight call on Saracen, forecasts FY 2020 production will total 532,000 oz.
- Gold inches lower in morning Asia trade due to an uptick in risk-on sentiment in equity markets. Gold prices may remain supported for now. Gold is still holding above $1,700/oz amid expectations of more monetary easing among central banks as investors continue to watch for developments at the Fed and ECB meetings, ANZ says. Spot gold is down 0.1% at $1,705.71/oz.
- The key takeaway in Northern Star's 3Q update was the strong performance of the Pogo gold mine in Alaska despite disruption from measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus, UBS says. "We had feared the quarterly might show weak production at this asset," UBS says. "This would potentially demonstrate that the turnaround was not being delivered prior to the disruption caused by Covid-19." However, production, grade and stoped ore at Pogo beat UBS's expectations in 3Q.

- As a barometer of global growth and confidence, the AUD/USD's recent gains are worth watching. Trading around 0.6500, the pair is at its highest levels since late January, and NAB has revised up its forecasts. The bank no longer expects a retracement back below 0.6000, now putting the currency's floor at 0.6200. By end-year, it expects AUD/USD to be pushing toward 0.7000. Instability in emerging markets stress is the biggest downside risk for the Aussie now, says Ray Attrill, NAB's head of FX strategy. Still, data from China looks better, making AUD a favored currency.
- Australian shares look likely to open higher despite a late pullback on U.S. markets that left all three major indexes lower at the close. ASX futures are up 0.4% even though the Dow Jones Industrial Average gave up healthy early gains to finish a volatile session down by 0.1%. The S&P 500 lost 0.5% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 1.4%. Tech and health-care stocks weighed on the broad S&P 500 index, suggesting the sectors could drag when the Australian market opens. Energy shares may labor again after U.S. crude dropped 3.4% to $12.34 a barrel.
- Australia's 1Q20 CPI at 0130 GMT should show moderate inflation as higher grocery prices offset the fall in petrol prices. Economists expect consumer prices to rise 0.2% on-quarter and 1.9% on-year. Still, the data won't affect markets with traders focused on the impact of the pandemic in 2Q. NAB says the bigger CPI story will be for 2Q20, where largely as a result of petrol prices and temporary free childcare the CPI is on track to fall 1.9%.
- AUD/EUR has lifted toward 0.6000, its highest level since late February. The Covid-19 pandemic has revived longstanding warnings about the impending demise of the eurozone. But if history is any guide, the eurozone will come out of this crisis with deeper economic and monetary union ties, CBA says. CBA has a bullish view on EUR/USD which anticipates the pair to revert back toward its fair value level implied by EU-US real two-year swap rate differentials of around 1.1600 over the next few months.

Apr 28 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices slumped again amid concern about dwindling crude storage capacity worldwide and fears that fuel demand may only recover slowly once countries ease curbs imposed on economic and social activity to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
- Gold fell more than 1% as some countries planned to gradually ease coronavirus restrictions, although recession concerns and a retreat in riskier assets kept the bullion near the $1,700-level.
- London copper prices edged up, as production cuts by major miners in a plummeting market and restrictions to contain the coronavirus pandemic fuelled fears of a supply shortage.
- Chicago corn futures were little changed after dropping 3% in the last session, with the market facing headwinds from slowing demand for the grain-based fuel ethanol and favourable U.S. crop weather.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE hit 12-1/2-year lows on Monday as oil prices resumed their plunge and the Brazilian currency remained at all-time lows, renewing worries Brazil might ramp up sugar output.
- Coffee and cocoa futures were little changed.
- Malaysian palm oil futures ticked lower for a third straight session to hover at nine-month lows, dragged down by weakness in crude prices and rival soybean oil as the coronavirus outbreak saps demand.

- The Australian dollar tested six-week highs, as signs of progress in re-opening economies helped the risk-sensitive currency recoup most of the panic selling seen in March, and as the greenback nursed overnight losses.

- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell supports the idea of allowing states to declare bankruptcy, he says in an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt Wednesday morning, according to a transcript. The comment came amid a discussion of state pension burdens that predate financial issues stemming from the new coronavirus. "I would certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route. It saves some cities. And there's no good reason for it not to be available," said McConnell, a Republican. State law determines whether cities can seek bankruptcy protection but states themselves do not have authority to do so.

- Base-metal prices diverge in morning Asia trade as the continued slide in crude oil prices rattles investors who had been cheered by signs of recovering demand for metals as major economies move to ease Covid-19 restrictions. The sector is getting some support from China's decision to stockpile metals, ANZ says. China's Yunnan
province said it will support local companies in building commercial reserves of metals including copper, aluminum and zinc, the bank says. The three-month LME copper contract is down 0.3% at $5,182 a metric ton while e aluminum is up 0.5% at $1,515 a ton.
- Thai rice export prices declined around 6% for the week ended April 20, despite a stronger Thai baht as foreign buyers reportedly sought cheaper Vietnamese white rice, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says. However, Thai rice exports prices still remain high as farm-gate paddy rice prices surged after the 2019-20 off-season rice
production was adversely affected by drought. Average farm-gate prices of white paddy rice touched a 12-year record high at 10,360 baht per metric ton for the week ended April 20, up 34% from the same period a year earlier, USDA says.
- Newcrest's Wafi-Golpu mine in Papua New Guinea faces increased potential for delays in a special mining lease, JPMorgan says. The PNG government's decision not to renew the special mining lease for the Porgera gold mine, which counts Barrick as a key shareholder, has JPMorgan sensitized to sovereign risk in its valuations. Newcrest notes
its lease for the Lihir mine in PNG isn't up for renewal until 2035 and remains in good standing. JPMorgan currently assumes the lease for Wafi-Golpu will be issued this year, starting a five-year period of construction ahead of first output in mid-2025. "This could be (again) at risk given the recent developments," says JPMorgan, which rates Newcrest at neutral.
- Copper prices have been relatively robust in 2020 despite headwinds from the coronavirus pandemic, in contrast to prices of aluminum and alumina, which are behaving as if a recession is underway. Credit Suisse expects substantial destruction in demand as economic growth slows, but it is unclear how far must prices fall before suppliers
take production offline. That's because suppliers are getting a tailwind from low energy prices, including oil, and favorable FX swings. "We estimate that the 90th percentile of the copper cost curve in April may be around US$1.75/lb, so prices below US$2/lb could be feasible if cutbacks are needed this year," CS says.
- Gold is lower in early Asia trade, as a cautiously optimistic tone for stocks dented haven-related demand for the yellow metal. Although market sentiment may be improving as more countries relax their strict confinement regulations amid the pandemic, gold prices are unlikely to face a prolonged phase of weakness, Commerzbank says. It adds that macroeconomic uncertainties may linger even if lockdowns are lifted. Spot gold is down 0.2% at $1,706.83/oz.
- Australian consumer confidence has strengthened for the fourth week running, though the gain of 1% was much smaller than over the prior three weeks, says ANZ Roy Morgan. Sentiment around current finances gained 0.4%, while future finances fell 3.3%. Current economic conditions strengthened by 13% for its fourth straight weekly gain, while future economic conditions declined 5.9%. ANZ Head of Australian Economics David Plank says Australia is at an important stage in response to the pandemic, with a number of states relaxing some restrictions. If successful, that could set the stage for a further gain in consumer sentiment.
- Australia's most populous state, New South Wales, has moved to ease restrictions around social distancing. State Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced that from Friday, two adults will be able to go and visit anybody else in their home on the basis of care. NSW has had a lot of success in containing the coronavirus.
- S&P Global Ratings said Monday it was expecting global bond issuances to decline this year. Financing conditions started the year on solid ground, helped by a decline in U.S.-China trade tensions, before feeling the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak, S&P said. "This, when combined with the recent surge in oil supplies, has pushed
the global economy into a recession," which S&P said is expected to last through the second quarter. "Given its depth and the potential for the exit trajectory to be slower than the descent, global bond issuance will likely decline to the high-single digits for 2020."
- People are not only drinking more coffee at home, they're also buying pricier coffee-machine pods amid coronavirus lockdowns, Keurig Dr Pepper Bob Gamgort says. "As people move from purchasing coffee out-of-home to in-home, they're bringing their premium brands with them." He says the trend has extended past the initial wave of
stock-ups and could continue beyond the crisis as people see how easy it is to brew their own coffee. Shares jump 7.1% after hours following the company's earnings report.
- The planting of corn in 2020 is well ahead of 2019's delayed pace -- with 27% of corn being planted in the US, above the 12% planted at this time last year. This is also well up from the 7% planted last week, meaning that farmers took advantage of supportive weather to plant as much as possible. Traders expected anywhere from 20%-22% of corn to be planted this week, says Doug Bergman of RCM Alternatives. Meanwhile, 8% of soybeans were planted this week, up from 2% at this point last year.
- Issues with pork-packing plant closures help elevate hog futures. The June contract finishes the day trading limit up, rising 3.75 cents a pound, or 7.3%, to 55.275 cents. Meanwhile, live-cattle futures gain 1.7% to 84.05c. Trading was driven largely by the Cattle on Feed report, which was released Friday after the market's close.
The report showed cattle placed on feed totaled 1.56M head, down 23% from March 2019 and the lowest for March since at least 1996. This data was supportive for futures trading today, Karl Setzer of AgriVisor says.
- Natural gas prices end 4.2% higher at $1.8190/mmBtu, snapping a two-session losing streak as bullish investors found traction from the latest weather forecasts that point to a cooler-than-normal start to the month of May. Forecasters say the Northeast, which is the largest regional consumer of natural gas, is likely to see abnormally
chilly weather into the early days of May, which could keep demand steady and help prevent a 21% storage surplus from becoming more bloated during what's normally the low-demand season. Year-to-date gas is down 17%.

Apr 27 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices fell on signs that worldwide oil storage is filling rapidly, raising concerns that production cuts will not be fast enough to fully offset the collapse in demand from the coronavirus pandemic.
- Gold prices fell as risk appetite improved on further stimulus from Japan's central bank and countries considering easing of coronavirus-led restrictions, although bullion's losses were limited on worries over a global recession.
- London copper prices touched their highest level in nearly six weeks as some major economies plan to reopen businesses, while more stimulus from Japan also helped sentiment.
- Chicago wheat futures slid for a second straight session to their lowest since April 17 on expectations of lower global demand as the coronavirus pandemic curbed consumption and rains in Europe boosted supply outlook.
- Raw sugar futures and arabica coffee closed lower on Friday, weighed down by a further depreciation in the currency of top exporter Brazil.
- Malaysian palm oil futures fell to a nine-month low tracking losses in crude and rival oils despite higher April export volumes.

- The yen edged higher after the Bank of Japan expanded stimulus to help companies hit by the coronavirus crisis while the pound rose against the dollar and euro on optimism Britain may soon ease a month-long lockdown.

- Gold has started the week on a softer footing as some nations look to relax coronavirus lockdown measures, lifting risk sentiment, while a weaker dollar was likely providing a floor to prices. New York gold futures were flat at $1,735.90 a troy ounce while spot gold declined 0.5% to $1,720.80 an ounce. The U.S. Dollar Index was down 0.4%. Italy said it would begin to ease its lockdown measures early next month, while India eased some of its measures over the weekend and France's lawmakers look set to debate such measures this week, says Edward Meir at ED&F Man.
- Base metals begin the week higher as more nations hit by the coronavirus pandemic get ready to ease lockdowns. Copper futures on the LME were up 0.6% at $5,219.0 a metric ton. All base metals were higher in London with tin and nickel making the largest gains. Italy said over the weekend it would lift its lockdown on May 4, while some U.S. states are also moving towards reopening. For the market, this week is set to be dominated by the global economic picture: U.S. GDP figures and a Federal Reserve interest rate decision are both due on Wednesday, as well as European GDP readings and Chinese manufacturing PMIs later in the week.

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

- Oil prices jumped again, gaining more ground as producers like Kuwait said they would move to cut output and as the United States approved another package to cope with the economic disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
- Gold eased as investors booked profits after a 1% rise in the previous session, but weak economic data from the United States and Europe due to the novel coronavirus kept bullion on track for a weekly gain.
- London copper prices fell and were on track for their first weekly decline in four weeks, as concerns over the demand outlook continued to drag on prices.
- U.S soybeans edged higher for a fourth consecutive session, as expectations China will step up purchases pushed the oilseed towards a weekly gain of nearly 1%.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE closed higher on Thursday, boosted partly by gains in crude oil, while coffee prices posted gains for a second consecutive session. Cocoa eased slightly.
- Malaysian palm oil futures fell, tracking losses on the Dalian Commodity Exchange, and were headed their biggest weekly drop in six as a historic crude oil rout made them less attractive for biodiesel feedstock.

- The dollar was headed for its best week since early April as tumbling oil prices weighed on commodity currencies and division over Europe's emergency fund dragged on the euro.

- Steel prices in China edge lower in Asia morning trading as the growth in steel consumption shows signs of moderation. The continuing peak construction season might still support steel demand, but projects are nearly finished with restocking the building material in southern and eastern China, where the coming rainy season could damp demand, Citic Futures says. Given output could expand further, the already high steel inventories might continue to pressure prices of contracts, whose delivery are due in later months, the brokerage says. The most traded October steel-rebar contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange falls 0.7% to CNY3,334 a metric ton.
- Palm oil prices fall as the Malaysian government extends its movement control order until May 12, a Kuala Lumpur-based trader says. Widespread pandemic lockdowns have weighed on demand for palm oil, particularly from India, the trader says. The benchmark contract for July delivery falls MYR27 to MYR2,092 per metric ton on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange.
- China iron-ore prices inch down in morning Asia trade, tracking lower steel prices as increasing steel output slows destocking. Iron-ore prices will likely stay range-bound in the near term given that steel consumption seems likely to stay robust, Citic Futures says. While output is still on track to expand further, steel consumption growth has started to moderate, which could heighten inventory pressure on later-month contracts, the brokerage says. The most-traded September iron-ore contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange is down 0.3% at CNY608 at metric ton.
- Base-metal prices inch up in morning Asia trade. The market seems to be increasingly focusing on supply-side issues triggered by coronavirus-prompted lockdowns. Copper producers in South America have been forced to shut or operate at limited capacity, while Alcoa says it would idle its remaining aluminum production capacity in the U.S. following signs of weaker aluminum output in China. The three-month LME aluminum contract is up 0.6% at $1,159 a metric ton while the nickel contract is 0.8% higher at $12,270 a ton.
- Food prices are likely to rise around the world, propelled by moves in wheat and rice prices, Fitch Solutions says. Meat prices will also rise in the U.S. due to the impact of the coronavirus, while prices will remain elevated in the rest of the world due to the lingering impact of the African swine fever on the global meat supply, it adds. While harvesting and planting don't seem to have been affected by the virus, manufacturing, processing and shipping are all experiencing disruptions, which could hurt supply availability, Fitch Solutions says.
- Gold is down in early Asian trade, as investors continue to weigh the prospects of future governments stimulus and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on global economies. Demand for gold is likely to remain robust, due to its safe haven asset quality, as concerns of debt could rise amid governments launching rescue packages worth billions to save their economies, Commerzbank says. Spot gold is down 0.3% at $1,724.76/oz.
- Distributions from the Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals, or AWAC, venture in 1Q have left Morgan Stanley feeling a tad underwhelmed. Net distributions in U.S. dollars in 1Q totaled $37.5 million, which is short of the $56 million implied for the quarter by Morgan Stanley's 1H forecast and which assumes an alumina price of $288/ton. "We note that 2Q payments will likely be impacted by the significantly lower alumina price, but likely aided by announced capex cuts," Morgan Stanley says. The AWAC venture, counting Alcoa and Alumina as investors, intends to defer capex totaling $60 million to next year.
- For fertilizer maker Incitec Pivot, there are finally some green shoots appearing. "Upward movement in key fertilizer prices, an improved domestic season and a lower AUD/USD provide some tailwinds for Incitec," says Morgan Stanley. It also expects Incitec's explosives business to be relatively resilient. The better outlook for fertilizer demand in Australia has reduced risks to Incitec's balance sheet, despite net debt-to-Ebitda of 2.8 times being high relative to the company's peers. MS keeps an equal-weight call on Incitec's stock, which has fallen one-third since the start of January. "While valuation is not now more enticing, we see better risk/reward elsewhere," MS says.
- A positive surprise in Evolution Mining's quarterly update was the performance of the recently acquired Red Lake mine in Canada, UBS says. Red Lake delivered A$19 million of free cash flow in the March quarter when UBS had thought the operation would report modestly negative cash flow. "This immediately reduces the capital deployed on this A$570 million acquisition," UBS says, and raises the stock's price target by 15% to A$5.50/share with an unchanged buy call. Evolution ended trading on Thursday at A$5.07.
- Australian shares look to be on course to open slightly higher even though U.S. stocks gave up gains on reports that a potential Covid-19 treatment disappointed in a clinical trial. ASX futures are 0.2% higher after the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up by 0.2%, or 39.44 points. It had been ahead by 409 points earlier after the weekly number of Americans applying for jobless benefits eased slightly. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite each slipped less than 0.1%. Australia's benchmark S&P/ASX 200 has failed to gain in four sessions this week, slipping 0.1% Thursday to 5217.1.
- Archer Daniels Midland says it will idle ethanol production at two Midwestern facilities for at least four months, while also reducing corn grinding at its wet mill plants. "These are very difficult decisions in a very challenging time, and unfortunately, the current market conditions and the low consumer demand for gasoline at this time have greatly impacted the entire ethanol industry," says Chris Cuddy, head of ADM's Carbohydrate Solutions division. The news is another blow to a shellshocked US ethanol industry, with biofuel trade association Growth Energy saying ethanol producers "were already fighting an uphill battle against trade barriers, regulatory threats, and a flood of foreign oil."

Apr 23 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil extended gains amid signs that producers are cutting production to cope with a collapse in demand for fuel as the coronavirus outbreak ravages the world's economies.
- Gold edged lower as investors booked profits from sharp gains in the previous session, but prices held above the $1,700 an ounce level on the promise of more U.S. stimulus measures to ease the economic blow from the coronavirus crisis.
- Most base metals rose, in line with a rebound in the broader global financial markets, after crude prices recovered some ground from a historic plunge earlier in the week, pushing investors back to riskier assets.
- U.S. soybeans rose 1% as China's recent purchases of North American supplies stoked hopes for stronger-than-expected demand from the world's largest importer.
- ICE sugar, coffee and cocoa futures rose on Wednesday as oil prices reversed an early crash to 1999 lows and global equities climbed higher, with governments around the world pledging more aid to counter the coronavirus-induced slowdown.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose, tracking gains in crude and rival soybean oil, but gains were limited by worries over rising stockpiles as the coronavirus pandemic curbs global demand.

- The dollar edged higher against the currencies of oil producers as a rebound in crude prices from an unprecedented collapse only partially calmed markets unnerved by the massive coronavirus-led drop in global demand.

- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell supports the idea of allowing states to declare bankruptcy, he says in an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt Wednesday morning, according to a transcript. The comment came amid a discussion of state pension burdens that predate financial issues stemming from the new coronavirus. "I would certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route. It saves some cities. And there's no good reason for it not to be available," said McConnell, a Republican. State law determines whether cities can seek bankruptcy protection but states themselves do not have authority to do so.

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

- Oil prices slumped again, with Brent falling to the lowest since 1999, as the market struggled with a massive crude glut amid a collapse in demand for everything from gasoline to jet fuel caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
- Gold prices inched lower as a stronger dollar and dash for cash following a historic rout in U.S. crude oil futures curbed demand for the safe-haven asset.
- Industrial metals fell as investors steered clear of riskier assets across financial markets after a historical rout in oil prices signalled a grim outlook for the global economy.
- U.S. corn futures edged higher, drawing support from firmer oil prices, though mounting global stockpiles and prospects of lean demand for oil-substitute ethanol limited gains.
- Wheat fell 1% as traders squared positions after recent strong gains, while soybeans edged lower.

- Raw sugar futures on ICE slid on Tuesday to the lowest level in 12 years.

- Arabica coffee touched the lowest price in a month as a further drop in crude oil sparked broad-based weakness across commodity markets.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose after slumping to a near nine-month low in the previous session, as crude oil prices regained some lost ground and rival soyoil firmed.

- The dollar and yen held broad gains, as U.S. oil's return to positive territory from a historic plunge failed to calm market nerves, while the Australian dollar jumped on record retail sales figures.

- Gold prices have recovered some of Tuesday's losses as the U.S. dollar has weakened. New York futures are up 1.3% at $1,710.30 a troy ounce while spot gold is up a more modest 0.1% at $1,688.95 an ounce. The precious-metal is close to erasing the sharp drop it made Tuesday, as the oil market's woes drove broad selling of commodities, including precious metals, stoking concerns of another dash for cash. A weaker U.S. dollar was likely giving gold prices some support. The U.S. dollar index is down 0.2%, making it cheaper for international buyers to pick up dollar-denominated gold.
- Silver shows little signs of a solid rebound after a recent decline. In fact, it has broken below a bearish rising wedge pattern, and is capped below both the descending 20-period and 50-period moving averages. The 14-period RSI remains subdued in the 40s, suggesting that the bearish bias persists. Moreover, the MACD stays below its signal line and the 0-level, indicating continued downward momentum. Thus, as long as the key resistance level at $14.98 holds, silver is expected to return to its previous low at $14.50 and decline further to $14.37 on the downside. Alternatively, a break above $14.98 would trigger a rebound to $15.13 on the upside. Spot silver is trading at $14.76 an ounce.
- Antofagasta's better-than-expected first-quarter copper output is set to help it combat coronavirus disruption, says RBC Capital Markets. RBC says the Chilean miner's copper output was 7% higher than market consensus and 4% above the brokerage's own forecast. Still, the company tweaked 2020 production expectations to the lower end of
its original guidance range, given that virus restrictions mean it's only operating with two-thirds of its usual workforce. "This beat should help to offset the more challenging operating conditions facing the company going forward," says RBC's Tyler Broda. Shares rise 0.3%.
- Declines in base metals, spurred on by falls in oil prices, have halted for now, with trading largely mixed. Three-month copper futures on the LME are up 0.3% at $5,039.50 a metric ton, while aluminum is up 0.1%. Other base metals are either flat or lower with Nickel futures falling by the most -- the three-month contract is down 2.4% at $11,865 a ton. "Risk-off sentiment has risen along with the oil market rout, and the metals complex was unable to escape this pressure," write analysts at ING in a note. With the oil exodus showing no signs of stopping--brent crude is last down a further 9% --base metals might yet still see further selling.

Apr 21 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- U.S. oil prices recovered to trade in positive territory after sinking below $0 for the first time ever, but international benchmark Brent dipped as demand for crude slumps amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- Gold prices fell due to a stronger dollar, but losses were capped by reduced appetite for risk after U.S. crude oil futures plunged below zero for the first time in history in the previous session.
- Copper prices fell, after trading house Glencore said it could reopen mining operations in Zambia, assuaging fears of supply disruptions caused by the coronavirus-led global shutdowns.
- U.S. corn futures edged down, hovering near their lowest in more than 10 years, as a slump in U.S. crude futures was expected to slash demand for the grain-based ethanol.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE, as well as London white futures, closed down on Monday as U.S. oil prices dropped to their lowest level on record. Arabica coffee on ICE fell more than 2% as the market assessed demand reduction.
- Malaysian palm oil futures dropped to a more than six-month low following a historic plunge in crude prices, while concerns over higher stocks amid the coronavirus pandemic also dented sentiment.

- The dollar resumed its climb against currencies of oil producers, as investors remained skittish after a historic plunge in U.S. crude futures to below zero and shied away from risk even as the benchmark bounced back.

- London stocks fall nearly 2% after U.S. oil futures turned negative for the first time in history on Monday. The FTSE 100 drops 116 points to 5696 as the price of a barrel of Brent crude declines 9.5% to $23.14, while U.S. light crude flatlines at $20.43. Oil and mining stocks are among the blue-chip index's biggest losers, with John Wood Group retreating more than 9% and BP and Royal Dutch Shell both off more than 5%. Food producer and retailer Associated British Foods is down 5.8% after reporting lower first-half pretax profit and warning on full-year results.
- Tenaga Nasional's power generation in Peninsular Malaysia has contracted 25% since the country imposed movement restrictions in March to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, Maybank IB Research says. It notes electricity demand is likely to fall in 2020. However, Maybank says the potential shortfall in revenue is "manageable" given that only MYR1.1 billion of the utility giant's annual turnover is subject to demand risk. The remaining MYR13.5 billion of annual regulated revenue is theoretically fixed, with any shortfall to be claimed from the Electricity Industry Fund, Maybank says. It maintains a buy rating and target price at MYR14.00. Tenaga's shares fall 1.6% to MYR12.40.
- Oil prices which skidded overnight were higher in early Asian trading, even as concerns over limited storage capacity continue to linger. The May WTI futures contract rebounds to $1.00/bbl after ending Monday at minus $37.63/bbl, plunging into negative territory for the first time ever. The May contract expires on Tuesday and interest has shifted to the June contract, now considered the benchmark. The June WTI contract is up 6.6% at $21.78/bbl, while the June Brent contract is up 0.7% at $25.75/bbl.
- The California Public Utilities Commission on Monday issued a proposal that would approve PG&E Corp.'s bankruptcy reorganization plan if the company modifies its governance structure, submits to greater regulatory oversight and creates local operating regions to improve its focus on safety and infrastructure. PG&E, which needs regulatory approval of its plan to exit bankruptcy protection, has already agreed to implement these measures. The CPUC will vote on the proposal next month.
- The benchmark IPC stock index closed down 0.8% at 34477 points and the peso weakened against the US dollar as oil futures fell below zero. The peso was quoted at 24.08 to the dollar versus 23.73 Friday. The currency lost ground over the weekend after Moody's cut Mexico's sovereign credit rating by a notch to Baa1, and downgraded state oil company Pemex by two notches, stripping the highly indebted firm of its investment grade. The peso was Monday's worst performing currency, said Banco Base, "since although Mexico is a net petroleum importer the expectation that prices will remain low implies Pemex will have difficulty improving its financial situation after 2020."
- Oil producers that focus on extracting crude with fracking techniques are poised to cut production amid intense pricing pressure on the commodity. "You're going to see production cuts across the board. It's really about who's going to cut the least," Siebert Williams Shank analyst Gabriele Sorbara tells WSJ. Companies that have the ability to halt production and ramp it back up in a future crude market that offers better prices are better positioned. Smaller companies, according to Sorbara, will struggle to do that because they need every dollar of cash they generate right now, despite falling prices for oil.
- Cash flow and debt will be a focus for oil exploration and production companies during the 1Q earnings run, says Gabriele Sorbara, an analyst at Siebert Williams Shank. "There will be a lot of discussion about balance sheets," he tells WSJ. Some companies will look to change covenants governing their loans from banks, while smaller producers face bankruptcy risks, Sorbara adds. Oil prices for May delivery plunged to -$35 a barrel Monday afternoon.
- Plunging oil prices bring to mind the well-worn story of the commodity trader who forgot to exit his hogs futures contract before expiration, leading to an 18-wheeler showing up and dumping 5,000 rotting pigs on his front lawn. "It's a hot potato, for sure," Price Futures' Phil Flynn says of WTI crude oil, whose May-delivery contract that expires Tuesday trades 71% lower at $5.39bbl. "We're not in a limit down situation, so people still can sell, but that sale price keeps falling." He calls this a true-blue "oil price crash," and says any traders who can store crude a few months could buy the May contract and turn a quick profit reselling it at the September $31/bbl contract.
- Husky Energy announces it has shut in 80,000 barrels of Canadian heavy oil production a day, and could cut more. "As the market rebalances supply with demand over a very short period in North America, negative cash margins before operating costs are occurring. Reducing production minimizes our negative cash margin exposure." says Husky. The company is also cutting spending by C$1B. Meanwhile, Crescent Point Energy says it is shutting in roughly 17,500 barrels of oil a day. The producer also says it will cut operating costs by C$140M. Both companies are reacting to historic low prices for WCS. Rumors in the market persist that May prices have fallen into negative territory, but that can't be independently confirmed.
- The USDA's weekly crop progress report, which will be issued at 4 pm ET Monday, is expected to show that farmers this past weekend didn't slack in starting their corn plantings, says AgResource. "Southern and Central Midwest farmers started to aggressively seed spring crops on the weekend," says the firm. "[We look] for US corn seeding to advance to 9-11% through Sunday with widespread planting activity expected this week." Corn futures are down 1.9% on the CBOT Monday, in reaction to continued demand weakness for crude oil--and the impact this has on corn-based ethanol production.
- Centrica faces short-term uncertainty but could be a longer-term takeover target, says HSBC, cutting its recommendation on the U.K. utility to reduce from hold and its price target to 28 pence from 80p. HSBC says Centrica's retail-energy businesses lack short-term earnings visibility and working-capital needs could soak up cash. Media speculation that Centrica could be a takeover target ignores significant financial uncertainty, HSBC says, with issues such as coronavirus lock-downs limiting scope for growth. Still, if it doesn't pay a dividend in 2020, it could use the cash saved to drive growth. "More positively in the medium term, the health-crisis fallout may lead to further sector consolidation," says analyst Verity Mitchell. Shares fall 0.2% to 0.32 pence.
- Television traffic reporters in many cities including Los Angeles and Dallas have been noticing an uptick in traffic in recent days as the US slowly begins to re-open its coronavirus-ravaged economy, and GasBuddy's Patrick DeHaan says gasoline consumption data is already reflecting this. He tells WSJ initial GasBuddy estimates suggest overall US gasoline demand rose 25% yesterday compared to the previous Sunday. Still, he says yesterday's consumption was 34% lower versus Sunday, March 15. Analysts in general peg April as the trough for US oil and fuel demand, with gasoline demand down some 50% or more versus the average. Next month, the analysts say, could see a spike higher.

Apr 20 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Crude oil futures fell, with U.S. futures touching levels not seen since 1999, extending weakness on the back of sliding demand and concerns that U.S. storage facilities will soon fill to the brim amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- Gold prices fell to a more than one-week low, dragged by a firmer dollar amid doubts over the United States' plans to reopen the world's largest economy as the novel coronavirus pandemic showed no signs of easing.
- Shanghai nickel prices rose to their highest in nearly six weeks as major producer Vale trimmed its output forecast of the metal this year, while China's rate cuts also boosted sentiment.
- U.S. wheat futures rose nearly 1% as Russia, the world's largest producer of the grain, said it will suspend exports, stoking concerns about global supplies. Raw sugar futures on ICE rose on Friday as the market extended its rebound from a 1-1/2-year low set earlier this week, while cocoa prices also climbed.
- Arabica and robusta coffees closed down.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose on signs that demand in April had picked up, although gains were capped by weaker crude and soyoil prices.

- The dollar found support as global growth fears hit oil prices and commodity currencies, while the New Zealand dollar rose on news that the government will begin to relax strict virus containment measures from next week.

- Chinese steel prices rise in early Asia trade despite the lowering of key lending rates by the country's central bank, which should typically boost steel prices. One reason could be a likely pick-up in steel output. Steel mills are set to ramp up production given the current decent profit margins, which could slow the destocking of inventories, China Futures says. Benchmark steel-rebar contracts may fluctuate between heavy losses and gains in the medium term, as prices near resistance levels, China Futures says. The most-traded October steel-rebar contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange is down 0.5% at CNY3,384 a metric ton.
- Palm oil prices gain in tandem with firmer soybean futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange, ahead of the Malaysian palm oil export data for the period April 1-20 by cargo surveyors later today, a Kuala Lumpur-based trader says. Demand has been muted due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but may pick up as the Ramadan season begins later this week, he adds. The benchmark contract for July delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange is up MYR18 at MYR2,253 per metric ton.
- Iron ore prices in China are higher after the country's central bank cut the benchmark lending rates. Iron-ore demand and supply appear to be in balance, which means prices will likely track steel prices in the short term, China Futures says. But some overseas steel mills have transferred their iron-ore contracts to the mills in China, which can potentially lead to oversupply in the country in the longer term, the brokerage adds. The most-traded September iron-ore contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange is up 1.4% at CNY622 per metric ton.
- Australia's sugar production is expected to increase to 4.5 million metric tons in market year 2020-21 from 4.285 million metric tons a year earlier, bringing it in line with average production over the last 15 years, forecasts the U.S. Department of Agriculture in a note; "The primary driver for higher sugarcane production is a general improvement in climatic conditions, including good wet seasons rainfalls across most sugarcane growing regions in Australia." The USDA expects to see Australian sugar exports increase by 200,000 metric tons in 2020-21 to 3.4 million metric tons.
- Base metals broadly edge higher in early Asian trade, extending last week's uptrend amid investor optimism as governments around the world explore easing restrictions and reactivating their economies. Domestic stimulus measures, such as China ramping up spending on infrastructure, should buffer most commodities from weakness in other
sectors, ANZ says. Accelerated investment in clean energy and other emerging sectors should also support demand for base metals, ANZ says. The three-month LME copper contract is flat at $5,213 per metric ton after last week's steady climb, while the aluminum contract is up 0.4% at $1,513 a ton.
- Gold prices fall in Asia trade, after early optimism over a drug that has anecdotally demonstrated potential to treat Covid-19 and the release of a road map to gradually reopen the U.S. economy. Gold may be pressured if U.S. equity markets continue to push higher and the S&P 500 rises over 2900, AxiCorp says. Spot gold is down 0.2% at $1,676.14/oz.
- Aussie bottler Coca-Cola Amatil, which reported steep volume declines as the coronavirus lockdown shut bars and restaurants across the region, is likely to post a 9% decline in revenue in FY 2020, Morgan Stanley says. Even including a new cost-cutting initiative, Morgan Stanley expects a 12% decline in FY 2020 earnings before interest and tax. Adding to its challenges is the departure of the CFO, with Morgan Stanley warning that the company "now faces a period of significant disruption." It keeps a neutral rating on Amatil and prefers Coles and Brambles as defensive alternatives.
- Aussie miners are curbing spending on growth options as they navigate the coronavirus pandemic, but Sandfire may not have the luxury of that option if it wants to maintain an unbroken run of copper output. Credit Suisse says Sandfire would likely need to make a final investment decision on its T3 copper project in Botswana this year if it wants to avoid a production hiatus when mining at its flagship DeGrussa operation in Western Australia ends. The investment bank, which rates Sandfire at outperform, estimates it will take two years for T3 to start production from the date that directors make a final investment decision.
- Hartleys upgrades Dacian Gold to neutral from reduce after the Aussie gold miner moves to complete a salvage operation. Dacian is raising up to A$98 million in equity, mainly to repay debt, while its reserves have been revised and a new 3-year mine plan for its Mt. Morgans operation has been released. That mine plan includes ceasing development work on the underground mine at Westralia. "According to our reading of the new Mt. Morgans plan, Dacian can show a net asset value of A$0.46/share, sensitive to gold price and gold output," Hartleys says. Some risks remain, albeit smaller than before. "And once the finances are righted, the question of upside needs to be addressed," Hartleys adds.

- Hastings, Buchanan Urge President Trump to Call on China to Immediately Expand Regulation and Enforcement of "Wet Markets" Amid COVID-19 Outbreak
Representatives Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL) sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to immediately call on China's President Xi Jinping to aggressively expand regulation and enforcement of live animal markets, or to force the closure of non-compliant markets. Certain live animal markets slaughter a variety of animals for human consumption in unsafe and unsanitary conditions and are recognized breeding grounds for the spread of disease. Given that emerging reports and data provide evidence that the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease was transferred to humans from a specific live animal market, or "wet market," in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, expanded oversight on public health grounds is urgently needed to prevent future deadly outbreaks of disease.
"It has become clear that the loosely regulated and often inhumane conditions in which animals are slaughtered for human consumption in live animal markets can create ideal conditions for the spread of zoonotic diseases, such as COVID-19," said Hastings. "We are currently facing a disease with grave global public health implications, which all nations must come together to address. In that spirit, we have a responsibility to sound the alarm now on the urgent need for expanded regulation, elevated enforcement, or closure of these markets to avoid future deadly outbreaks."
"Live animal markets have been shown to be an incubator of deadly viruses like COVID-19," said Buchanan. "These markets are unsanitary and inhumane and have led to the deaths of countless animals and humans. They should be shut down immediately to prevent the next outbreak of a deadly virus."
"We need to address the root of where this devastating pandemic began and we implore local and federal governments to create change. Any lack of action with regards to addressing the source of this pandemic will present a danger for our future, and the threat that similar diseases will not only reoccur but expand. We continue to think of those across the world that have been gravely affected by COVID-19, and encourage global governments to put thought into action to stop this from happening again. This sadly is a stark reminder of what our Foundation has been fighting for since our inception and the incredible need to shut down slaughterhouses and illegal markets," said Lisa Vanderpump, Founder of The Vanderpump Dog Foundation.

Apr 17 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices were mixed after the weakest Chinese economic data in decades showed the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, offsetting some earlier gains on optimism for President Donald Trump's early plans to revive the U.S. economy.
- Gold prices fell as optimism over initial plans to reopen the U.S. economy lifted risk appetite, but heightened worries over the worst recession in decades kept bullion on track for its second straight weekly rise.
- London copper was on track for its best week since February 2019 on Friday as U.S. President Donald Trump laid out plans to reopen the world's biggest economy, despite top consumer China posting weaker-than-expected economic data.
- Chicago wheat slid for a fifth consecutive session, with the market poised for its biggest weekly fall since March 2019, as a decline in global demand due to the coronavirus pandemic weighed on prices.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE closed higher on Thursday after a 1-1/2 year low in the prior session, with smaller selling pressure on the sweetener as oil prices stabilized.
- Malaysian palm oil futures climbed on bargain hunting, but they remain on track for a more than 3% fall for the week on persistent worries about rising stockpiles and lower exports due to lockdowns to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

- The dollar dipped as a news report on signs of success in a COVID-19 treatment drug trial as well as early plans to re-open the U.S. economy drove fresh optimism and risk appetite.

- The euro rises against a weaker dollar on improved market sentiment but further gains are likely to be restricted by concerns about EU divisions over the economic response to coronavirus, Danske Bank says. "The hesitant handling of the coronavirus in Europe has, in our view, exposed the lack of institutional willpower to keep the region together; this in our view caps euro upside," Danske Bank says, adding that it expects EUR/USD to trade around 1.09 in one to three months and 1.07 in six to 12 months. EUR/USD rises 0.2% to 1.0857 as demand for the safe haven dollar falls following encouraging news of a potential treatment for coronavirus and after Germany and the U.S. announced plans to ease lockdowns.
- Amid the virus contagion around the globe, the US military is pursuing various strategies highlighting the importance of maintaining US dominance in space. The Air Force has publicly called out Russia for test launching an anti-satellite weapon, asserting "threats to US and allied space systems are real, serious and growing." At the same time, the service is starting to mull ways to eventually monitor activities by Russia, China and potentially other countries around or on the surface of the moon. A preliminary study contract seeks to analyze how that might be done. In coming years, Pentagon planners may include surveillance of the moon as part of comprehensive spy-satellite networks.
- Wells Fargo says it's going to keep preparing applications for funding from the Paycheck Protection Program, the federal stimulus program for small businesses that ran out of money today. "We will continue to prepare applications in our existing pipeline from small and mid-size businesses and will submit them to the SBA when funds become available," Wells Fargo says. The government initially funded the program with $350B. Parties in Congress disagree on how to proceed with refunding the program.
- With the number of jobless claims climbing due to coronavirus-led lockdowns, the U.K. and the U.S. should draw plans to restart the economic activity, says Quilter Cheviot. "For now, central-bank and government action is offsetting the worst of the economic worries and providing much needed reassurance to investors," says Richard Carter, head of fixed interest Research at Quilter Cheviot. "However, this will get harder the longer the restrictions are in place, so it is vital that the U.K. and the U.S. governments come up with a sensible plan to get the economy back up and running while continuing to fight the virus."

Apr 16 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil edged higher following sharp losses in the previous session on hopes that a big build-up in U.S. inventories may mean producers have little option but to deepen output cuts as the coronavirus pandemic ravages demand.
- Gold prices edged lower as the dollar firmed and investors booked profits, but losses were capped as dour retail sales and manufacturing data out of the United States heightened fears of a steep global recession due to the new coronavirus.
- Shanghai aluminium futures prices rose to their highest in nearly four weeks as inventories in China fell and as expectations of supply cuts increased.
- Chicago corn ticked higher after dropping to its lowest since 2016 in the previous session, although gains were limited by a sharp decline in demand for the grain-based fuel ethanol amid the coronavirus outbreak.
- Raw sugar futures closed higher on Wednesday reversing a 1-1/2-year low reached earlier in the session, as oil prices reduced losses. 
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose for a third straight session, tracking higher oil prices, but gains were capped by falling exports and Malaysia's decision to delay its biodiesel mandate due to coronavirus-driven lockdowns.

- A flight to safety bid pushed the dollar higher against its peers after dire retail and factory data showed the severity of the collapse in U.S. economic activity caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

- Potential delays to the easing of coronavirus lockdowns in Europe could drag the euro lower unless eurozone leaders agree further measures to support countries worst hit by the pandemic, MUFG Bank says. Eurogroup finance ministers last Thursday agreed a coronavirus rescue package but failed to resolve questions over how to pay for a later economic recovery plan. "We assume a plan will ultimately be agreed but doubts over the scale of policy support in the eurozone will persist and is a risk factor for the euro if risk-off trading conditions were to re-emerge due to lockdown reversal delays that shift current expectations on the COVID-19 hit to the global economy," MUFG analyst Derek Halpenny says. EUR/USD falls 0.8% to 1.0898.
- "China, by virtue of the brutal lockdown that they went through, is likely to emerge stronger and faster than the Democratic West," former Google CEO Eric Schmidt says. That, he says, will have profound implications for the balance of power. "We are late to this party, but if we got our act together with respect to research ... and these mechanisms for social distancing," Schmidt says, the US "could ultimately become the leader."

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

- Oil prices climbed, bouncing back from the previous session's large losses, as investors looked for bargains and supported by hopes that consuming countries will look to fill their strategic reserves.
- Gold prices fell as investors locked in profits after the metal rallied to a more-than-seven-year high in the previous session, but fears of a deep global economic recession due to the coronavirus pandemic limited losses.
- London copper prices recouped early losses as supportive measures from China lifted sentiment that has been dampened by worries of a deep global economic recession.
- Chicago soybean futures recovered from their lowest in more than three weeks, although prices remained under pressure on prospects of demand destruction caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
- Raw sugar prices fell on Tuesday as oil prices continued to retreat, raising concern that cane mills in Brazil will ramp up sugar output at the expense of ethanol, a cane-based biofuel.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose, in line with gains in rival oils and crude oil futures, although gains were capped on caution ahead of April 1-15 export data announcement due later in the day.

- The dollar nursed losses as investors cautiously returned to riskier currencies after U.S. President Donald Trump edged toward rolling back some restrictions put in place to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

Apr 14 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices rose more than 1% after the main U.S. energy forecasting agency predicted shale output in the world's biggest crude producer would fall by the most on record in April, adding to cuts from other major producers.
- Gold prices rose to a more than seven-year high on rising fears of a steeper economic downturn and amid massive liquidity measures by global central banks. 
- Copper prices advanced, with London copper touching a four-week high, as more mining disruptions in key producing countries amid efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus sparked global supply risks.
- Chicago soybeans ticked higher, recouping some of the previous session's losses although gains were curbed by concerns over demand for animal feed ingredient soymeal, as several U.S. meat plants shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Raw sugar futures closed down on Monday on expectations for a large increase in the sugar supply as a result of more production from Brazil.
- Malaysian palm oil futures edged down, weighed by concerns over rising stockpiles as global demand slows due to the coronavirus pandemic.

- The dollar slipped and riskier currencies rallied as China's trade data painted a less gloomy picture than markets had feared and signs of a slowdown in coronavirus deaths raised hopes that the worst of the pandemic may be over.

Apr 13 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices jumped more than $1 a barrel after major producers finally agreed their biggest-ever output cut, but gains were capped amid concern that it won't be enough to head off oversupply with the coronavirus pandemic hammering demand.
- Gold edged down as investors booked profits after prices hit a one-month high last week, while worries over a coronavirus-driven steeper global economic downturn and the U.S. Federal Reserve's stimulus measures limited bullion's losses.
- Shanghai copper prices rose to a near four-week high as supply worries rose following a fall in inventories and suspension of operations in major producer nations.
- Chicago wheat futures rose for a second straight session, rising more than 1%, although expectations of a larger U.S. stockpile limited gains.
- White sugar futures in London closed up almost 3% on Thursday on continuing worries about the supply chain and a positive U.S. demand outlook.
- Malaysian palm oil futures slid, pressured by expectations of higher inventories in April amid falling exports due to global lockdowns aimed at stemming the spread of the novel coronavirus.

- Commodity currencies slipped against their safe-haven rivals such as the dollar and yen as a record output cut agreed by OPEC and other oil producing nations failed to offset broader concerns about slumping global demand.

- Trump Celebrates Good Day for Stock Market as U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Surges to Second Highest in World: The president seems very excited about the prospect of the “really big bounce” once this pesky virus goes away.
At least someone was in a good mood this morning. President Donald Trump sent out a jubilant tweet celebrating a good few days for the stock market while the reported coronavirus death toll in the United States overtook Spain’s to become the second highest in the world. Financial markets jumped Thursday following the announcement of new rescue efforts from the Federal Reserve and some signs of improvement in the energy market. Trump, who has reportedly been panicked by the state of the stock market during the coronavirus pandemic, sent out a tweet Friday morning saying: “This week, in only 4 days, we had the biggest Stock Market increase since 1974. We have a great chance for the really big bounce when the Invisible Enemy is gone!” Meanwhile, the nation has now confirmed over 466,000 cases of COVID-19 and at least 16,686 people have died from the disease. The reported death toll overtook Spain’s, but remains behind that of Italy, where at least 18,000 people have died.

Apr 11 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ)

- Here is the statement after the meeting of G20 energy ministers The statement falls short of specifying numbers for any additional cuts, but says: "we commit to take all the necessary and immediate measures to ensure energy market stability"
"We recognize the commitment of some producers to stabilize energy markets. We acknowledge the importance of international cooperation in ensuring the resilience of energy systems"
Saudi Arabia’s dissatisfaction with Mexico’s proposal to rely on declines in US oil production to comply with the Opec_plus agreement leaves a final deal “pending”. Saudi Arabia plans to issue a statement blaming Mexico for not agreeing to cut its production (by the allocated amount of 400k)

- A deal brokered between Russia and Saudi Arabia to cut oil production and end the trade spat between the two nations could quickly revitalize world oil prices, Wood Mackenzie's Ann-Louise Hittle says. "Even if poorly implemented, the agreement is substantial, and will make a difference to the market," says the firm about the deal, which could cut as much as 10M barrels of oil. "Partial compliance won't stop this production agreement from having a big - and swift - impact on supply anddemand fundamentals." Should this take place, then the ethanol industry--which the USDA projects is going to cut 375M bushels of corn consumption this year in response to demand cratering--could see a stark reversal of what right now are poor margins.

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

- Russia, the United States and Saudi Arabia have agreed to coordinate on stabilizing oil markets and minimize the impact of oil price volatility on the global economy.
"Today, Russian President Vladimir Putin had a phone conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud," the Russian president's press office said in a statement on Thursday.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies led by Russia, a group known as OPEC+, kicked off an extraordinary video conference on Thursday to discuss oil production cuts. U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday that he believes Russia and Saudi Arabia are close to reaching a deal to cut oil production amid rock-bottom prices.
"The conversation was very good. They're getting close to a deal. That's OPEC and many other countries outside of OPEC," Trump said at a White House briefing after talks with Russian and Saudi leaders.
Coupled with a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, oil prices have plummeted amid the COVID-19 outbreak as global fuel demand has plunged due to a drop in air traffic and production shut-downs.

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

- Oil prices rose on expectations the world's largest oil producers would agree to cut production at a meeting later in the day as the industry grapples with a coronavirus-driven collapse in global oil demand.
- Gold prices inched higher on a weak dollar amid improving risk sentiment on hopes that the novel coronavirus pandemic is nearing a peak.
- London and Shanghai nickel prices rose to their highest levels in nearly three weeks, as major ore producer Philippines suspended some operations to contain the new coronavirus pandemic.
- Chicago wheat futures rose as the market took a breather after falling for two straight sessions, although gains were capped on expectations of a large harvest in the United States.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE erased losses seen earlier in the session and closed basically flat, influenced by a recovery in oil prices.
- Malaysian palm oil futures climbed for the fourth session, helped by stronger crude and rival oils, while Malaysia's decision to maintain its shutdown order on some plantations stoked worries about global supply.
 
- Commodity currencies drew support from hopeful signs the coronavirus pandemic may be peaking and that major oil producers may agree to cut output to stem a plunge in oil prices.

- Even as markets were cratering this month, Mr. Trump has clung to the good days.
As he spoke at a White House news conference on the afternoon of March 13, the stock markets staged a 9 percent rally. It wasn’t enough to recover from the drop the day before, but Mr. Trump was so jubilant that he printed out a chart of the day’s market activity, autographed it and sent it to a Fox Business anchor.
BIGGEST STOCK MARKET RISE IN HISTORY YESTERDAY!” Mr. Trump shouted on Twitter the next day. (It was the Dow’s biggest gain in total points, but the biggest percentage gain only since 2008.)
Those gains were erased within moments of the opening of markets the next Monday — and Mr. Trump, for the first time in his presidency, adopted a more philosophical tone.
The best thing to do for stocks is to contain the coronavirus, he said at a press briefing on Monday. “The market will take care of itself.”

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

- Oil bounced back with U.S. crude jumping over $1, lifted by hopes that a meeting between OPEC members and allied producers on Thursday will trigger output cuts to shore up prices that have crumbled amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- Gold prices held steady as a stronger dollar countered risk-off sentiment stemming from fading optimism over signs of a slowing spread of the new coronavirus amid rising deaths.
- London copper prices eased from a three-week high hit in the previous session as the new coronavirus pandemic continued to dampen demand, but suspensions of mining operations in Africa and Latin America lent some support.
- Chicago wheat futures slid for a second session as improved U.S. crop ratings raised expectations of a bumper crop and ample world supplies.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE closed slightly down on Tuesday after posting gains earlier in the session, as a reversal in the oil market weighed. 
- Malaysian palm oil futures firmed, tracking gains in crude oil futures and supported by supply concerns as the world's No.2 producer is expected to discuss a shutdown order on some plantations to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

- The dollar found a footing as investors returned to safe-havens, reversing some risk currency gains made on hopes the coronavirus crisis in Europe and New York was slowing.

- Lara Trump: Broad coalition forming to close China's bat, cat, and dog meat markets
A politically diverse and broad coalition is forming to pressure China to close the wild food markets of bat, cat, and dog meat blamed for the outbreak of the coronavirus and a number of other pandemics, including the 2003 SARS epidemic. Embraced by Lara Trump, Sen. Lindsey Graham, and several animal rights activists, including the Humane Society of the United States, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and Animal Wellness Action, the goal is to pressure Beijing directly to close the markets like the one in Wuhan, which is believed to have sold an infected animal for a family “feast.” While still a loose group of advocates, its efforts are starting to focus on stopping the reopening of the “wet markets,” another name for live and dead animal meat markets, in China, which claims the crisis is nearly over.
“It is undeniable that the risks posed by ‘wet markets’ are too great and the cruelty too severe to allow them to operate even one more day,” said Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law and top reelection campaign official. “I hope for the sake of humanity the country immediately discontinues this horrific and cruel tradition,” she told Secrets.
The effort has no official leader, but people close to Trump said that she would be open to helping build the coalition in a personal capacity unrelated to her campaign duties. Trump has long been an animal advocate and has worked with the administration on key issues, including officially outlawing the consumption of dogs and cats in the U.S., pushing to close puppy mills, and linking ailing veterans with support animals. She is married to Eric Trump.

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

- Oil prices gained as hopes rose that the world's biggest producers of crude will agree to cut output as the coronavirus pandemic crushes demand, even as analysts warn a global recession may be deeper than expected.
- Gold prices eased from a one-month high as the U.S. dollar gained strength on signs of a slowdown in fresh coronavirus cases, but concerns over the economic fallout from the pandemic provided a floor to bullion.
- Copper prices rose to their highest in nearly three weeks as investor sentiment was lifted by a slowdown in the new coronavirus-related deaths and fresh cases in some global hot spots.
- Chicago corn rose for the first time in eight sessions, supported by firm oil prices, although concerns over dismal demand for the grain-based fuel ethanol are likely to keep prices near a 3-1/2-year low hit earlier this week.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE climbed on Monday, extending the previous session's rise as equities rallied on a slowdown in coronavirus-related deaths and new cases, but gains were capped by concerns that Brazil will boost sugar output.
- Malaysian palm oil futures extended gains, mirroring gains in rival oils and crude oil futures, despite uncertainties over demand as major importing nations including India impose lockdowns to check the coronavirus spread.

- The dollar fell against the yen as U.S. stock futures erased gains and traded lower in a sign some investors remain concerned about the economic shock posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

- When asked if the US would take part in cuts with OPEC+, Trump said the free market is already forcing US companies to do so. “They are already cutting back and they are cutting back seriously.”

- The euro will likely weaken if eurozone finance ministers rule out the issuance of joint debt to support European economies through the coronavirus pandemic, Commerzbank says. The ministers meet on Tuesday to discuss new funding to countries worst hit by coronavirus with proposals including the issuance of so-called 'coronabonds' and a credit line through the European Stability Mechanism crisis fund. Coronabonds would be a "positive surprise" for the euro as EU leaders are divided over the proposal, Commerzbank's Ulrich Leuchtmann says. ESM credit lines "would be much worse" because the firepower of the fund is "limited," he says. The euro could therefore "be helped" if the Eurogroup doesn't completely shut the door on coronabonds. EUR/USD rises 0.7% to 1.0865.
- President Trump has part of his attention focused on future extraction of minerals on the moon, even as the country confronts a potentially pivotal week fighting a raging pandemic on the ground. A presidential directive and White House press briefing highlights that the Trump administration seeks to promote corporate efforts to mine minerals on the lunar surface--and eventually throughout the solar system--without participating in international treaties intended to rein in such efforts by individual nations. US lawmakers and champions of commercial space projects have pushed for the move for years. The document released by the White House reinforces earlier congressional language that American interests should be able to exploit resources in outer space, perhaps under agreements with selected countries but outside of broader and more stringent global treaties.
- Congress's massive fiscal response to the coronavirus outbreak sets the government's total borrowing on pace to exceed GDP in the next two years or so, Moody's says. Annual deficits have been pushing Treasury debt higher for about more than a decade, but precoronavirus projections didn't anticipate the debt level reaching 100% of GDP
until around 2030. But Congress's stimulus packages, headlined by the $2.38 trillion Cares Act, will help produce a federal deficit of 15% in 2020, compared with a 4.6% deficit last year. The deficit will be smaller next year as the economy recovers, Moody's says, but higher-than-trend deficits will linger for years and total debt therefore grow at a faster pace, the analysts predict.

Apr 06 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices slipped, after Saudi Arabia and Russia delayed a meeting to discuss output cuts that could partly alleviate oversupply in global markets as the coronavirus pandemic pummels demand.
- Gold prices edged up as demand for the safe-haven metal rose due to worries over the economic impact from the coronavirus pandemic, but gains were capped by a firm dollar and stronger equities.
- London copper prices rose as companies in top producer Chile consider output cuts at a time when the country has taken strict measures to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.
- Chicago corn futures slid for a seventh consecutive session to their lowest since 2016 as a slump in crude oil prices threatened to sap demand for the grain-based fuel ethanol.
- Arabica coffee futures on ICE closed sharply lower on Friday as consumption out-of-home remained sluggish with most coffee shops and restaurants around the world closed due to the coronavirus outbreak. 
- Malaysian palm oil futures slipped, extending falls into a fifth session on concerns over a slump in global edible oil demand due to the coronavirus pandemic, although losses were capped by a survey showing lower March stocks.
- The pound fell against the dollar and euro after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to hospital for tests after showing persistent symptoms of the coronavirus.

- Canada weighed in on the conflict between the Trump administration and 3M Co. over the production of N95 masks required by health-care professionals dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Canada PM Justin Trudeau said the statement from 3M -- which revealed the Trump administration requested the company stop shipping medical equipment to Canada and Latin America -- indicates the company "understands how important it is to continue with delivering on orders to places like Canada." Meanwhile, Canada's Deputy PM, Chrystia Freeland, thanked 3M for issuing a "very helpful statement." She added that she spoke directly with USTR Robert Lighthizer to ensure essential trade flows, especially in health care, between the two countries continue unabated.
- Canada PM Justin Trudeau said the government has held talks with OPEC officials about getting Saudi Arabia and Russia to rethink their production plans. He did not address questions about a potential cut in Canadian energy production, which would be part of a wider effort involving OPEC and other producers to lift prices. "We will continue to stress that we need to work together as a world to get through this economic crisis," Trudeau said. OPEC is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting Monday, in which production cuts are on the agenda. Western Canadian heavy crude was trading at record-low levels, in the $4 a barrel range, before getting a significant lift late this week. The pandemic and Saudi-Russia production have forced Canadian producers to scale back spending plans.
- The idea of Texas oil companies purposely reducing production together to raise crude prices may sound great, but is this seemingly clear case of collusion legal? Texas, the largest US producer, as well as Oklahoma and others, are considering this so-called prorationing move along with other global producers due to plunging prices and shrinking demand from coronavirus. "There are legitimate constitutional questions as to whether states can enter into a production-limiting agreement with foreign countries, but we think this particular arrangement would likely pass muster," analysts at Rapidan say. "The legal justification for quotas is based on a finding by regulators of 'waste,' defined as production exceeding market demand."
- The EU's failure to agree on a joint fiscal response to coronavirus could hurt the eurozone economy and lead to further weakening of the euro, BK Asset Management says.As soon as the coronavirus pandemic eases, "the much more forceful U.S. fiscal response will likely send the euro much lower as the economic disparity between the two regions becomes evident," BK's Boris Schlossberg says. Tensions between EU leaders "show no signs of abating and EUR/USD is feeling the pain." EUR/USD is last down 0.4% at 1.0812 after earlier hitting a nine-day low of 1.0788, according to Factset, following the final March eurozone composite purchasing managers' index that showed a record fall in economic activity due to coronavirus.
- Brent crude oil is up 5.6% at $31.64 a barrel and WTI futures are up 0.8% at $25.52 a barrel as news emerges that OPEC and its allies are set to debate cutting at least 6 million barrels a day of oil production on a conference call on Monday. That said, Russia is unlikely to agree to cuts if the U.S. doesn't do so as well, sources told The Wall Street Journal. Oil prices staged their largest ever percentage gain Thursday after President Trump tweeted that he expected Saudi Arabia and Russia to implement large production cuts. However, "a deal is very far from imminent...there are substantial obstacles, including the inclusion of many more countries... [and] output cuts will not affect the April surplus and probably not the May surplus either," Standard Chartered's Paul Horsnell says in a note.
- Brent crude oil is flat at $29.96 a barrel and WTI futures are down 1.5% at $24.93 a barrel in calmer trading after both benchmarks chalked up their largest ever one-day percentage gains Thursday. A day that began with large gains--after remarks from President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin gave investors hope of an end to
the Russo-Saudi price war--turned into manic trading after President Trump tweeted he expected a production-cut deal between Riyadh and Moscow at around 10 million barrels a day. Then Saudi state media said the Gulf country would agree if OPEC, its allies, and other countries such as the U.S. would join in. At one point, Brent was up 47% on the day. Now investors are watching to see whether OPEC+ will be reconciling in the near future.
- Four U.S. senators sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza urging the SBA to issue new guidance that would enable some equity-backed startups to access small-business loans under the new stimulus legislation. Excluding startups would "work against congressional intent of the program to encourage retention of jobs at businesses most susceptible to widespread layoffs during economic crises," Sens. Mark Warner (D., Va.), Susan Collins (R., Maine), Christopher Coons (D., Del.) and Kamala Harris (D., Calif.), wrote in a letter seen by WSJ Pro Venture Capital. However, the senators indicated that "first precedence in the processing of applications and disbursement of funds should continue to go to independently owned small businesses."

Apr 03 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices fell, coming off their biggest one-day gains in the previous session, after U.S. President Donald Trump said he had brokered a deal between Saudi Arabia and Russia to cut output, but made no offer to reduce U.S. production. Gold was little changed as investors awaited U.S. non-farm payrolls data for further cues on the economic impact of the coronavirus, while a stronger dollar capped the gains.
- London copper fell on dampened investor sentiment as the coronavirus pandemic spread to infect over a million people, but the metal contract was still on track for its first weekly gain in six weeks.
- Chicago wheat rose although the market is set for its biggest weekly drop since late February on concerns over demand destruction as the coronavirus pandemic hurts economies.
- Raw sugar prices on ICE closed up on Thursday as crude oil futures surged, though the outlook remained grim with the death toll from coronavirus continuing to rise and economic pain deepening.
- Malaysian palm oil futures were set for a weekly drop of 4%, falling for a fourth straight session, as demand concerns rose with coronavirus cases surpassing one million amid nationwide lockdowns.
- The dollar edged toward a 2% weekly rise boosted by a surge in the oil price and as investors sought safety amid the worsening economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

- Prices for Canadian heavy oil have more than doubled from recent lows since US President Trump said he's expecting Saudi Arabia and Russia to cut oil production. Western Canadian Select oil, which traded under $4 a barrel recently, has surged to almost $10 following Trump's comments, according to BOE Report. West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark, has surged 22%. It remains to be seen if the prices will stay here or go even higher, but the jump is welcome news for Canada's oil patch, where producers have been losing money for every barrel they pump at these levels. Along with TC Energy's announcement this week that it's moving ahead with construction of the Keystone XL pipeline expansion, it has been a good couple of days for news for the struggling sector.
- Brent crude oil soars 24% to $30.85 a barrel and WTI futures leap 25% to $25.19 a barrel after President Trump tweeted that Saudi Arabia and Russia would be cutting 10 million barrels of oil production, and Saudi state media called for an emergency OPEC+ meeting. "There's a lot of questions here: is that 10 million barrels a day, or overall? And is that five from Russia and Saudi Arabia or is OPEC involved?" says Ellen Wald, president of Transversal Consulting, an energy and geopolitics advisory firm. "Nobody knows but it's definitely a very positive sign for alleviating the oil glut." She adds that without the narrative of a price war hanging over market sentiment, oil might be $10 above current levels.
- US oil prices soar 30% higher after President Trump posts a message on Twitter indicating major producers Russia and Saudi Arabia could cut production by a massive 10M bpd to offset shrinking demand due to coronavirus. "Just spoke to my friend MBS (Crown Prince) of Saudi Arabia, who spoke with President Putin of Russia, & I expect & hope that they will be cutting back approximately 10 Million Barrels, and maybe substantially more which, if it happens, will be GREAT for the oil & gas industry!" says Trump. WTI surges 30% higher to $26.36bbl.
- The fiscal stimulus measures individual eurozone governments have announced in response to coronavirus should prevent the euro from falling sharply on a clash between EU leaders over a joint rescue deal, Societe Generale says. EU leaders have disagreed over the proposed issuance of joint debt to tackle the economic fallout from coronavirus. These so-called 'coronabonds' would "clearly help the solvency threat for some parts of Europe and would be very positive for the euro," SocGen's Kit Juckes says. "Absent them, and in the face of clear fiscal efforts around the continent, I don't expect a dramatic euro fall, but we will see further softness in EUR/JPY and EUR/GBP." EUR/JPY falls 0.2% to 117.290 and EUR/GBP declines 0.6% to 0.8792.
- Brent crude oil gains 10.7% to $27.39 a barrel and WTI futures climb 8.9% to $22.12 a barrel, having bounced after Wednesday's market close on the news that President Trump is set to meet Friday with the heads of some of the largest U.S. oil companies to discuss measures to help the industry weather an unprecedented oil crash. Attending the meeting will be ExxonMobil Chief Executive Darren Woods, Chevron Chief Executive Mike Wirth, and Harold Hamm, executive chairman of Continental Resources, the WSJ reports. That news is still buoying the commodity in early trading, Deutsche Bank says in a note. This comes despite Saudi Arabia boosting production in the next phase of its price war with Russia and the release of Department of Energy weekly inventory data that was far more bearish than expected, ING notes.
- US oil prices end the session 0.8% lower at $20.31/bbl as shrinking demand due to coronavirus pushes US oil and gasoline inventories sharply higher, and as President Trump plans a meeting for Friday with the heads of top oil companies including Exxon, Chevron, Continental Resources. "The fact that Trump will be meeting with oil industry leaders this week suggest to us the urgent need to halt the slide in oil prices," says Spartan Capital's Peter Cardillo. "Prices are at levels that the Saudis and Russian must end the price war and rebalance the market ... or risk prices falling to $15."
- Corn futures have fallen 0.4% on CBOT despite oil prices rising roughly 20% in trading. The uptick in oil prices is being driven by a pair of tweets from President Trump in which he said he expected and hoped Saudi Arabia and Russia will cut oil production by as much as 15M barrels. A recovery in oil prices would be beneficial for ethanol margins, which could stem the tide of plant closures and reopen that avenue of corn consumption for farmers. Without it, farmers could miss as much as 400M bushels worth of corn consumption in 2020.

Apr 02 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Crude oil futures surged after U.S. President Donald Trump said he expected Saudi Arabia and Russia to reach a deal soon to end their oil price war and Russian President Vladimir Putin called for a solution to "challenging" oil markets.
- Gold prices edged lower as the dollar held firm, while investors awaited key U.S. jobless data amid mounting signs of a recession due to the worsening coronavirus outbreak.
- Shanghai aluminium prices hit a more than four year low, with poor factory data pointing to weak demand as coronavirus infections continued to rise.
- Chicago wheat futures ticked higher, as the market took a breather after suffering its biggest one-day loss in more than seven months in the previous session on fears that the coronavirus pandemic would hurt global growth.
- Raw sugar prices on ICE fell to the lowest levels in 1-1/2 years, with both the May and July hitting contract lows on Wednesday on fears the coronavirus pandemic will knock demand and bets that plunging energy prices will prompt Brazil's cane mills to produce sugar at the expense of ethanol.
- Malaysian palm oil futures reversed early gains, as heightened concerns over demand and forecasts of better production eclipsed worries that the coronavirus pandemic could choke off global supplies of the vegetable oil.
- The dollar held gains as investors rushed to the safety of the world's most liquid currency given the massive disruption to global trade due to the coronavirus pandemic.

- OIL CAPITALISM : Just days before filling for Chapter 11, Whiting Petroleum CEO got a $6.4 million bonus in cash, “paid immediately”. CFO and 3 others shared another ~$8 million in cash bonuses !
- Brent crude oil gains 10.7% to $27.39 a barrel and WTI futures climb 8.9% to $22.12 a barrel, having bounced after Wednesday's market close on the news that President Trump is set to meet Friday with the heads of some of the largest U.S. oil companies to discuss measures to help the industry weather an unprecedented oil crash. Attending the meeting will be ExxonMobil Chief Executive Darren Woods, Chevron Chief Executive Mike Wirth, and Harold Hamm, executive chairman of Continental Resources, the WSJ reports. That news is still buoying the commodity in early trading, Deutsche Bank says in a note. This comes despite Saudi Arabia boosting production in the next phase of its price war with Russia and the release of Department of Energy weekly inventory data that was far more bearish than expected, ING notes.
- US oil prices end the session 0.8% lower at $20.31/bbl as shrinking demand due to coronavirus pushes US oil and gasoline inventories sharply higher, and as President Trump plans a meeting for Friday with the heads of top oil companies including Exxon, Chevron, Continental Resources. "The fact that Trump will be meeting with oil industry leaders this week suggest to us the urgent need to halt the slide in oil prices," says Spartan Capital's Peter Cardillo. "Prices are at levels that the Saudis and Russian must end the price war and rebalance the market ... or risk prices falling to $15."
- Corporations buying back their shares have been a relief during past market downturns, but amid the coronavirus crisis "politicians and need for cash have just literally removed the only buyer from the marketplace," says Canaccord's Tony Dwyer. Senator and presidential contender Joe Biden has called on business leaders to avoid buybacks, while companies are also trying to keep cash amid the unprecedented slowdown. With traders, individual investors and pension funds on the retreat, "demonizing the only buyer is a bad idea," Dwyer says.
- Grain futures on the CBOT fell overnight, amid warnings from President Trump that the death toll from coronavirus could hit roughly 240,000 people in the US before the pandemic subsides. The grave prediction is spooking markets across the board, with many investors flocking into the US dollar as a safe haven. "In the US, Covid-19 infections have soared to 189,633 with deaths of 4,100 for a mortality rate of 2.1%," says AgResource, adding that "last week the US death rate was just 1.4%, so like the rest of the world, the mortality outlook is grim." Overnight, wheat futures led the CBOT down 1.5%, while soybeans dropped 1.4% and corn slumped 1.2%.
- Treasury yields narrowed as amplified worries about the coronavirus pandemic in the US prompted more investors to shift capital into the safest assets. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 0.591% in early morning trading from 0.691% on Tuesday, before drifting up to 0.618%. President Trump said in a press briefing that the US faces a "very, very painful two weeks," and that the death toll in the US could rise to 240,000.

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

- Global crude oil prices slid further, following their biggest-ever quarterly and monthly losses, as a bigger-than-expected rise in U.S. inventories and a widening rift within OPEC heightened oversupply fears.
- Gold rose as fears over a worsening coronavirus pandemic triggered a flight to safety, with expectations of further monetary easing by central banks adding support.
- London copper prices fell, as the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic threatens to tip the world into a deep recession, hurting sentiment and demand for the metal.
- U.S. corn futures edged lower as a higher-than-expected forecast for North American production pushed prices towards a two-week low.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE closed lower on Tuesday, leading to losses of 20% in the quarter on fears that falling energy prices will prompt Brazilian cane mills to ramp up sugar output at the expense of ethanol, a cane-based biofuel.
- Malaysian palm oil futures fell, tracking weaker rival oils, and on growing concerns over demand as more countries self-isolate against the coronavirus outbreak.
- The dollar was a touch firmer, buoyed by its safe-haven status with the world staring at what is likely to be one of the worst economic contractions for decades as it locks down to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

- Trump projects at least 100,000 coronavirus deaths in U.S.; European markets slump
Hopes for a swift recovery from the coronavirus pandemic dimmed on Wednesday, after President Trump warned of a "very painful" fight against the outbreak with at least 100,000 fatalities likely in the United States. The world economy is experiencing a dramatic slump as businesses and households struggle under the restrictions already in place. Here are some significant developments:
- As millions of Americans confront considerable hardships, Trump and his coronavirus task force members warned late Tuesday that the United States would suffer between 100,000 to 240,000 fatalities in the best-case scenario.
- The United States continued to far outstrip other nations in new cases, with the country's overall caseload already at 180,000 and likely to surge further in the next 24 hours. The number of U.S. deaths neared 4,000.
- U.S. stock futures and European markets fell Wednesday, pointing to a bleak start to the second quarter on Wall Street as weak global data dashed any hopes of a quick recovery in the world economy.
- China reported a surge in coronavirus infections as it began including asymptomatic cases in its official statistics, as concern grows there about a wave of imported infections.
- In China, where the government had lauded its success and pushed to resume economic activity as new cases slowed, President Xi Jinping said Wednesday that it was still too early to lift all coronavirus restrictions.

- Treasury yields narrowed as amplified worries about the coronavirus pandemic in the US prompted more investors to shift capital into the safest assets. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 0.591% in early morning trading from 0.691% on Tuesday, before drifting up to 0.618%. President Trump said in a press briefing that the US
faces a "very, very painful two weeks," and that the death toll in the US could rise to 240,000.
- Stocks have taken a beating in the first quarter, with the S&P 500 notching a more than 20% fall year to date. But a munitions maker has proven well armed to beat the slump. AMMO Inc. has seen its shares soar 96% since the start of 2020 amid surging US demand for firearms. At the company's facility in Payson, Ariz., employees are working on two shifts seven days a week as the factory strains to keep up: Production is at 115% of capacity. The company is investing in new machines that will boost production of pistol ammunition by 20%. Strong sales could continue under a federal determination this week that gun stores are "essential businesses" that can remain open during the Covid-19 pandemic. AMMO says that demand from commercial clients that sell to consumers will be elevated until the November election.

- China iron-ore prices slide in late-morning Asian trade, weighed by stronger imports from Brazil and Australia and weakening global steel demand. A domestic supply surplus is very likely to emerge in the second half of this year as the global coronavirus pandemic curtails demand for steel made in China, the world's major steel exporter, Citic Futures says. The potential surplus could drag prices of contracts expiring in later months, it says. Iron-ore contracts expiring after December on the Dalian Commodity Exchange slip more than 3%, while the most-active May contract is down 1.4% at CNY641 per metric ton.
- Base-metal prices slip in late-morning Asian trade after getting a short-lived boost from China's March purchasing manager index that moved back into expansion territory. Despite the overall recovery, the March PMI data has shown that China's exporters are facing weakening global demand due to the coronavirus pandemic. The March readings for export orders and imports were below 50, reflecting that China's external demand has been hurt by the pandemic, says ING bank. The three-month LME copper contract is down 1.6% at $4,873 per metric ton while the nickel contract is down 0.9% at $11,380 a ton.
- Prices of Asian palm oil slip following the two-week extension of the lockdown on Sabah's production, CGS-CIMB says. Malaysia's largest palm-oil-producing state is extending the shutdown until April 14 to six districts from three, the broker adds. The benchmark contract for June delivery fell MYR4 to MYR2,398 a metric ton on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange.
- Gold prices are higher in early Asian trade amid concerns about the escalating coronavirus pandemic. The haven metal may be pressured in the near term, as sliding crude oil prices and a drop in foreign-exchange petrodollars per barrel could push more central banks in oil-exporting countries to cut bullion buys, AxiCorp says. Spot gold is up 0.4% at $1,581.30/oz.
- For metal, iron ore and coal markets, all of which are critical to Australia's economy, China's economic stimulus plans will prove crucial to boosting demand, says CBA. China's stimulus package will also likely be the first stimulus measure to be fully deployed, given the economy has started to normalise following the Covid-19 outbreak. CBA says it's worth keeping an eye on the issuance of local government special bonds, which are used primarily to fund infrastructure projects. CBA expects China's policymakers to lift the total special bond issuance quota by 40% from CNY2.15 trillion in 2019 to CNY 3 trillion in 2020.
- The steep fall in the AUD/USD has offset the impact of weaker prices of many commodities and combined with an oil price that has dropped more than 50%, many Aussie mining operations actually have favorable market conditions, Bell Potter says. In the gold sector, the price of the precious metal in AUD terms has rocketed to an all-time high above A$2,700/oz. "Considering that many gold mines will have had their economic ore reserves calculated at A$1,600/oz, or lower, this is pointing to huge margins being generated, particularly if unhedged," Bell Potter says.
- This dash for cash has been the single biggest driver of the USD over the past few weeks. Even if FX markets are in the process of moving out of the acute phase of the virus shock, TD says it doesn't think USD has topped yet. Policymakers have likely eased the pace of the USD rally, but the directional bias in the USD runs higher until the public health crisis peaks, it adds. In gauging the prospects of a CV-19 growth peak, that could take another 4-8 weeks. Expect more turbulence across procyclical currencies and poor performance of carry trades, which requires lower vol and rate divergence.
- Wisetech Global will hit the lower end of its fiscal 2020 guidance despite the widespread disruption of global freight due to coronavirus, Ord Minnett says. The brokerage reduces revenue forecasts by 5% to A$426M, compared with the logistics software firm's guidance of A$420M-A$450M. It also assumes operating expense savings equivalent to 1.5% of revenue and adjusts for the lower Australian dollar. It trims its Ebitda forecast 4.9% to A$117M, compared with guidance of A$114M-A$132M. Ord Minnett uses the GFC to model the coronavirus impact, which it acknowledges is an imperfect approach. It maintains its buy with a A$18.70 price target, compared with a A$17.10 last traded price.
- AUD/USD has declined 13% year-to-date, but might have found its crisis/cycle low point of 0.5500 might have already been found given fiscal and monetary stimulus is supporting the economy, says Morgan Stanley. The currency has rebounded in line with a weakening of the DXY, and there is upside risk from here, it adds. The pair could initially rally to 0.60-0.65. Confirmation of global recovery, particularly if it's led by Asia, the pair could rally to 0.65-0.70, it adds.
- Global growth could rebound quickly, says Oxford Economics. The dynamics of COVID-19 deaths in the western economies are similar to patterns seen in Asia, pointing to a near turnaround. The much sharper-than-expected increase in the Chinese manufacturing PMI in March supports the view that as the situation turns activity could rebound sharply. If the dynamics of new recorded deaths keep following the Asian patterns things should start to look better in a matter of weeks rather than months, it adds.
- Resolute Mining's guidance reset following the sale of the Ravenswood mine in eastern Australia looks conservative to Canaccord Genuity. Resolute says it now expects to produce 430,000 ounces of gold this year at an all-in sustaining cost of US$980/oz. "We currently forecast 431,000 oz at US$942/oz, noting that cost guidance looks
high with the asset split (Syama 260,000 oz at US$960/oz, Mako 160,000 oz at US$800/oz) implying a Group average of US$900/oz," Canaccord says. The risk of a disruption to operations from the coronavirus could explain Resolute's conservatism, it adds.
- Allegheny Technologies says it will idle a stainless-steel processing plant in Midland, Pa., as a result of US tariffs on imported stainless the company uses from a joint-venture partner in Indonesia. The company has tried unsuccessfully for the last two years to get an exemption from the US government. "We have no viable alternative to imports," CEO Robert Wetherbee says. The Midland plant, which employs about 70 people, is expected to be idled by the end of June. Shares closed down 2.8% at $8.50.

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."