Forex & Commo Market News

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.

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

- Oil recovered ground after U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to talks to stabilise energy markets, with benchmarks climbing off 18-year lows hit as the coronavirus outbreak cut fuel demand worldwide.
- Gold prices fell as the dollar firmed and as shares rose on hopes of a rebound in China economic activity, while safe-haven demand amid concerns over the coronavirus outbreak kept the metal on track for its sixth straight quarterly gain.
- London copper prices hit near a one-week high as top consumer China surprisingly posted an expansion in its factory activities, but prices were set for the biggest monthly decline in eight-and-a-half years amid the fast-spreading coronavirus.
- Chicago corn futures ticked higher, but the market was poised for its biggest quarterly drop since 2014 as the coronavirus pandemic prompts global lockdowns, curbing demand.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE closed down on Monday, pressured by growing sentiment that the global market may swing into surplus in the 2020/21 season, while arabica coffee prices recovered some ground after steep losses late last week.
- Malaysian palm oil futures dropped almost 3%, ahead of March export data, as demand concerns due to coronarivus-driven global shutdowns outweighed supply disruptions in the world's second-largest palm producer.

- The dollar rose against the yen as Japanese investors and companies rushed to cover a greenback shortage before their fiscal year end, but sentiment remained fragile as the global coronavirus crisis worsened.

- Putin, Trump agree on importance of global energy market stability - White House
During a phone conversation on Monday, US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed on the importance of ensuring stability on global energy markets, the White House said in a statement.
"The leaders also discussed critical bilateral and global issues," the statement says. "President Trump and President Putin agreed on the importance of stability in global energy markets."
Earlier, the Kremlin press service said that the Russian and US presidents had a long telephone conversation. The topics included issues of coronavirus pandemic response and the situation on the oil market. Besides, certain aspects of bilateral relations were also discussed. The presidents agreed to continue personal contacts.

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

- Crude oil benchmarks fell sharply, with Brent hitting its lowest since November 2002, as the global coronavirus pandemic worsened and the Saudi Arabia-Russia price war showed no signs of abating.
- Gold prices edged lower as a flight to cash to cover losses in equities overshadowed measures by global central banks to contain the economic fallout from the coronavirus epidemic.
- Most industrial metals declined as investors feared prolonged worldwide shutdowns to contain the coronavirus epidemic could push the global economy into a deep recession.
- Chicago wheat futures rose for a second session as a proposal by the world's top supplier Russia to limit exports amid the rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic raised concerns about global food supply.
- ICE raw sugar prices fell on Friday as renewed economic growth fears caused by the coronavirus pandemic outweighed stimulus efforts by global policymakers, though white sugar continued to rise.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose, tracking a rally in Dalian edible oil prices, but gains were capped by worries about weaker demand from top buyers India and Europe due to lockdown measures, as the countries seek to check the spread of coronavirus.

- The dollar snapped a week of declines and the safe-haven yen rose, as coronavirus lockdowns tightened across the world and investors braced for a prolonged period of uncertainty.

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

- Oil prices rose as governments around the world pledged a huge injection of funds and other measures to limit the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, despite fears the outbreak will destroy demand for oil.
- Gold edged lower as investors booked profits, but was set for its best week since December 2008 as record high U.S. jobless claims due to the coronavirus fuelled hopes for more stimulus to stem the economic damage caused by the pandemic.
- Lead prices rose to their highest in more than a week, as halting of operations by some suppliers raised worries, while improving demand in China also lent support.
- U.S. soybean futures rose as concerns that the coronavirus pandemic will slow production set the oilseed on track for its best week in nearly six months.
- Arabica coffee futures on ICE closed down sharply after having reached a 2-1/2-month high earlier in the session on Thursday.
- Malaysian palm oil futures were set for a second weekly gain and changed course to trade higher as supply concerns stemming from coronavirus-driven curbs on some plantation activity offset pressure from a stronger ringgit.
- The dollar was on track for its biggest weekly fall in more than a decade as a series of stimulus measures around the world, including a $2.2 trillion U.S. package, helped temper a rout in global markets triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

- US stocks decline after the House passed the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill, which President Trump said he would sign today. The Dow falls 4.1% to 21636, the S&P 500 declines 3.4% to 2541 and the Nasdaq is off 3.8% to 7502. This leaves the major stock indexes with their biggest weekly gains in at least a decade thanks to a midweek rally, including a more than 10% rise for the S&P, but that index is still off 25% since its Feb. 19 all-time high. Ten-year Treasury yields fall below 0.7%. Oil falls 4.8% to $21.51, closing out its fifth straight week of losses.

Mar 26 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices slipped following three days of gains, with the prospect of rapidly dwindling demand due to coronavirus travel bans and lockdowns offsetting hopes a U.S. $2 trillion emergency stimulus will shore up economic activity.
- Gold prices fell as expectations of a surge in U.S. jobless claims due to the coronavirus outbreak eclipsed a massive U.S. stimulus package and kept alive a rush for cash among investors.
- Copper prices fell as worldwide lockdowns to curb the spread of the coronavirus fed demand concerns and as investors weighed the impact of a massive U.S. stimulus package.
- U.S. wheat futures fell more than 1.5% to retreat from a two-month high touched in the previous session as traders booked profits after a rally sparked by rising demand amid the coronavirus outbreak.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE rose for a third consecutive day on Wednesday, buoyed by a rebound in global equities and as traders started to price in stockpiling linked to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Malaysian palm oil futures reversed early gains, as concerns deepened over demand disruption with more countries, including top buyer India, imposing lockdowns to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
- The dollar fell against the yen and the euro ahead of U.S. data due to be released later in the global day that is expected to show a surge in unemployment benefit claims as firms lay off workers due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

- The $2 trillion stimulus deal struck by the White House and the Senate last night is a significant step for supporting households and businesses, but won't prevent significant economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, says Moody's Investors Service. The deal's provisions for direct payments to households, enhanced unemployment
insurance and emergency business loans will help blunt the worst of the economic shock; "nonetheless, we expect the virus to have a significant negative impact on growth and the fiscal deficit this year," Moody's says.
- European stocks pare earlier gains, but remain mostly in positive territory after U.S. lawmakers agreed an aid package to limit the impact on the U.S. economy of coronavirus. The Stoxx Europe 600 gains 1%, the FTSE 100 advances 1.1%, the CAC-40 is up 1.3%, though the DAX drops 1.2%. "Stocks are driving higher today as U.S. lawmakers have agreed the terms of a rescue package worth more than $2 trillion," says David Madden at CMC Markets. "They'll vote on it today and dealers are optimistic they'll support it. It's worth noting the German government announced a EUR750 billion rescue package yesterday. Until the rate of new confirmed Covid-19 cases starts to slow, the markets are likely to remain jittery."
- The $2 trillion stimulus package approved by U.S. lawmakers has had a muted impact on high-yield corporate bonds compared with equities, says Oliver Blackbourn, multi-asset portfolio manager at Janus Henderson Investors. "Equities tend to act more on hope for the future than credit markets, which focus on the need to survive the intervening period," he says, adding that it was noticeable that U.S. dollar high yield debt Tuesday was still close to its lows. Energy junk-rated borrowers make up a sizable share of the U.S. high-yield market, and "these companies are more likely to fall through the cracks in both Fed and government policies," he says.
- USD/SGD declines as risk-on sentiment is encouraged after the Trump administration and U.S. lawmakers struck a deal on an estimated $2 trillion stimulus package to cope with the economic damage of the coronavirus. The currency pair's bias is still tilted to the downside even though, according to technical analysis, there is relatively strong support at 1.4420 and this level may not be easy to break, UOB says. On the upside, USD/SGD has to rise above 1.4560 to indicate that the current weakness has stabilized, UOB says. USD/SGD is at 1.4449 vs 1.4463 late Tuesday in New York.
- The unfolding Australian economic recession is shaping up to be more severe than the GFC. The Federal budget position will deteriorate sharply over this year and next. Westpac anticipates a deterioration in the budget: from a balanced outcome for 2018/19 to a deficit of 4.5% of GDP or A$90 billion for 2019/20 and then widening to a deficit of 8% of GDP to $160 billion for 2020/21. The cumulative budget deficit over 2019/20 and 2020/21 would lift the supply of government securities on issue by an additional $250 billion to $820 billion by June 2021 or 40% of GDP.

Mar 25 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices extended gains for a third session, rising alongside broader financial markets on hopes Washington will soon approve a massive aid package to stem the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Gold prices edged lower in volatile trade as a flight to cash offset growing hopes for a massive U.S. economic stimulus to stem the coronavirus outbreak's economic toll.
- London aluminium prices rose after seven straight sessions of losses, as some smelters in China trimmed production to cut losses amid the coronavirus epidemic, but weak demand kept a lid on prices.
- Chicago soybean futures rose for a seventh consecutive session, with the market hitting its highest in more than two weeks on concerns over the coronavirus pandemic disrupting world supplies.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE closed up on Tuesday, buoyed by a rebound in crude oil prices, while coffee and cocoa prices were also mostly up.
- Malaysian palm oil futures reversed course to gain more than 1% on supply concerns driven by Malaysia suspending some palm operations, while strength in rival soyoil also supported prices. 
- The dollar slipped for a third consecutive session, as a deal to backstop the U.S. economy with a huge fiscal stimulus package promised to further ease some of the pandemic-driven skyrocketing demand for hard cash.

- The unfolding Australian economic recession is shaping up to be more severe than the GFC. The Federal budget position will deteriorate sharply over this year and next. Westpac anticipates a deterioration in the budget: from a balanced outcome for 2018/19 to a deficit of 4.5% of GDP or A$90 billion for 2019/20 and then widening to a deficit of 8% of GDP to $160 billion for 2020/21. The cumulative budget deficit over 2019/20 and 2020/21 would lift the supply of government securities on issue by an additional $250 billion to $820 billion by June 2021 or 40% of GDP.
- US oil prices climb for a second consecutive session, up 2.2% at $23.88/bbl after President Trump, speaking about coronavirus shutdowns that have sharply reduced oil demand, said he's weighing a re-opening of large parts of the economy in a matter of weeks, not months. "Our country wasn't built to be shut down," Trump said in a briefing Monday night. Also, Italy is posting a decline in its virus death toll for a second straight day, adding to speculation the world's economies may soon start to get back to business. Oil markets will watch US oil inventory data from trade group API at 4:30 pm ET, followed by EIA's official report Wednesday.
- Even the prospect of a looming fiscal stimulus bill in the U.S. later on Tuesday "is unlikely to kick off a major recovery yet" in credit markets, says Cem Keltek, credit strategist at Commerzbank. With "plenty of unpleasant virus headlines" in store, even the U.S. Federal Reserve's unlimited bond-buying program unveiled Monday had a limited impact, he says. The announcement only markedly moved the needle on U.S. investment-grade credit default swaps, which tightened, while dollar investment-grade cash bonds still moved wider, he says.

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

- Oil prices rose on hopes that the United States will reach a deal soon on a $2 trillion coronavirus aid package which could blunt the economic impact of the outbreak and in turn support oil demand.
- Gold rose 2% extending gains from a near 4% surge in the previous session, after the U.S. Federal Reserve's unprecedented measures to help an economy reeling from the coronavirus pandemic halted a rush for cash.
- Copper prices rose as investors cheered the U.S. Federal Reserve's stimulus measures, while coronavirus containment measures in major mining countries raised supply concerns.
- Chicago wheat futures slid more than 1%, giving up some of the last session's strong gains, although losses were limited by a jump in demand for grains amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE closed higher on Monday, regaining some ground after their recent prolonged slide, while coffee and cocoa also rose.
- Malaysian palm oil futures inched up, tracking a jump in rival oils and crude oil prices but concerns over demand due the coronavirus pandemic kept a lid on gains..

- The dollar slipped on signs tight funding conditions are easing slightly after the U.S. Federal Reserve pulled out all stops to supply much needed greenback liquidity.

Brutal Day for the Markets a Sign of Things to Come: Investors fear a global recovery from the effects of COVID-19 will take much longer than previously thought-and Trump's proposed payroll tax cut is no quick fix (WSJ)

- OPEC+’s announcement of a price war and escalating concerns about the novel coronavirus set off such severe declines in the stock markets that trading on the New York Stock Exchange was halted for 15 minutes on Monday morning just after 9:30 a.m.
- At Monday’s closing bell, it officially became one of the worst days in the markets’ history, with the Dow falling by more than 2,000 points or 7.8 percent, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite plunging by more than 7 percent each, and the energy sector falling by 20 percent.
- The spread and treatment of the highly infectious new respiratory virus, which causes a disease known as COVID-19, has been an increasing health concern worldwide as the number of cases has passed 100,000 and spread to more than 90 countries. However, the impact on U.S. businesses and the financial markets only became clear a few weeks ago, then quickly accelerated in the country after more cases were confirmed in several states.
- Global supply chains for everything from complicated technology products to clothing and plastic toys experienced the first pressure points from COVID-19 after operations at manufacturing facilities in China were suspended during mass quarantines in several major cities. This was accompanied by declines in Chinese demand for clothing, travel, luxury goods, movies, high-end dining, and electronics. Then, at the end of last month, both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 recorded major declines during several consecutive trading days.
- The stock market is not the economy, but investors have been selling shares and fleeing to government bonds, gold, and short-term Treasury bills amid real fears that a global recovery from the effects of COVID-19 will take much longer than previously expected. In more prosperous times filled with growth and global demand, the crash in oil prices would mean low prices and reduced expenses for trucking, airline, energy, and manufacturing companies. Groceries, trade, and tourism industries would also benefit. But the crash happened after China’s demand fell during its quarantines—when airlines reduced routes, transport ships and trucks stopped moving goods, and the production of millions of plastic items were halted, all to help prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.
- Even as a limited number of manufacturing facilities in China restart production, citizens return to low-risk areas, and demand for oil slowly returns in the country, worldwide demand for oil has fallen due to politicians and residents in other countries implementing quarantines and social distancing policies, as well as other efforts to reduce the spread of the virus through movement and public interaction.
- Social distancing policies include 16 million Japanese children being kept home from school for a month. On Monday, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the entire country would adopt the lockdown and social distancing rules that were implemented on Sunday in the northern region of Lombardy after Italy recorded 463 deaths and more than 9,000 coronavirus cases (per day). In South Korea, 30,000 people are under self-quarantine, many of them using an app to report their symptoms and provide updates to government officials.
- In the U.S., companies like IBM, JPMorgan Chase, and Amazon are suspending “non-essential” international and domestic travel, large conferences like SXSW are being canceled, and work-from-home policies are being implemented across organizations and changing cities like Seattle. Consumers are canceling trips abroad and rushing to stock up on hand sanitzer and staples like toilet paper and canned goods. Government officials in California, Washington, and New York are implementing precautionary and preventive measures aimed at reducing exposure and further spreading of the virus, especially for the elderly and individuals with compromised immune systems.
- It’s also worth noting that even after President Trump and top US officials said 1 million to 1.5 million tests for COVID-19 would be available, on Monday the CDC acknowledged that its real supply was significantly lower, saying it had just 75,000 tests across 78 state and local public health labs. Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow has also provided information that is contradictory to that of financial experts.
- A payroll tax cut announced by Trump on Monday evening or tax relief to the airline, travel, and cruise industries will also not undo the damage from closing the Directorate for Global Health and Security in 2018 or help tackle institutional issues that will make treating the virus more difficult. These include a national lack of sick leave, the high cost of health care even with insurance, the millions of kids dependent on free school lunches distributed at schools, misinformation about treatments like drinking bleach rapidly spreading online, and the lack of health care resources in rural areas.
- COVID-19 exposed the weaknesses in the global economy, as well as America’s vulnerability and lack of preparation for a health crisis of this magnitude. Investors realized the 11 years of growth had finally come to an end for the near future and sought safety. It will be extremely difficult to predict how small and large businesses might recover from this period and how long this economic shutdown will extend into the year, including its effect on the Summer Olympics in Japan and the November presidential election. Effectively dealing with COVID-19 will require significant changes in fiscal policies, government health care policies, labor rights, and cultural behaviors, as well as how the U.S. fundamentally deploys and manages health services at both the state and national level. This is something the president can’t fix or solve with a tweet.

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

- Brent crude prices extended falls amid more action by governments to contain the global coronavirus outbreak that has slashed the demand outlook for oil and threatened a worldwide economic contraction.
- Gold prices fell as investors stockpiled cash, with a rising numbers of coronavirus-led national lockdowns threatening to overshadow stimulus measures from global central banks to combat the pandemic's economic damage.
- Shanghai copper prices dropped to their lowest in nearly 11 years as more shutdowns and restrictions imposed to curb the coronavirus outbreak deepened worries about a slowdown in global economic growth.
- Chicago soybeans climbed to a 10-day high while wheat traded near last session's four-week peak, with Chinese buying and expectations of higher demand keeping both markets on track for their fifth consecutive session of gains.
- Arabica coffee rose strongly as dealers noted strong physical demand with roasters seeking to secure supplies amid worries about potential supply chain disruptions over the coronavirus outbreak.
- Malaysian palm oil futures fell, dragged down by worsening demand concerns as governments across the globe imposed lockdowns to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

- The dollar held gains against most peers as fresh declines in stocks accelerated the flight to cash, although it lost ground against the euro and yen as U.S. lawmakers failed to pass a stimulus package to fight the coronavirus.

- Trump, Federal Reserve tackle economic stimulus
With each passing day, the impact the COVID-19 virus has on economies around the world rises. As nations increasingly close their borders, shut down businesses and impose social distancing standards, the result is inevitable - a brutal short-term decline in economic growth.
Around the globe, national leaders are crafting economic aid and stimulus packages to bolster economic growth and provide financial relief to their citizens and businesses. Here in the U.S., President Trump has already signed into law a number of economic measures.
- On March 6, Trump signed an $8.3 billion bill that funds vaccine development and provides money to state and local governments for prevention efforts. On Wednesday, he signed a $100 billion bill that expands unemployment insurance and paid leave to workers while providing free testing for the COVID-19 virus.
- Trump's latest endeavor is a mammoth $1-plus trillion proposal - the largest economic stimulus plan in American history. As of Friday, the plan was still pending Congressional approval. If passed, it would dwarf the $787 billion stimulus plan passed in 2009 to address the global financial crisis.
- Trump's proposal consists of two rounds of $250 billion in direct cash payments to Americans, totaling $500 billion. Another $300 billion would be allocated toward small businesses. Lastly, $200 billion would target specific sectors of the economy highly impacted by the global pandemic, such as airlines.

Equally important to our economic recovery are the actions of the U.S. Federal Reserve. As America's central bank, the Federal Reserve serves as the decision-making body for U.S. monetary policy. Its mandate is to promote the health and stability of our financial system.
- The Fed has enacted extraordinary measures to combat the economic impact of COVID-19. In less than two weeks, the Fed slashed its benchmark fed funds rate - upon which short-term debt is often based - from a range between 1.50-1.75% to near 0%. By effectively lowering interest rates on short-term debt such as credit cards, short-term bank loans, variable rate mortgages and home equity lines of credit, the Fed hopes to induce consumer and business spending to boost economic growth.
- The Fed will also infuse more than $1 trillion in cash into the U.S. economy. In a process known as quantitative easing, the Fed purchases long-term government debt or securities. The effect is to increase the money supply while driving down long-term interest rates. The Fed hopes that flooding the economy with cash, combined with lowering long-term interest rates, will artificially create demand for goods and services, thus stimulating economic growth.
- Other measures will bolster the stability of banks by providing them access to an unlimited line of credit. Finally, the Fed will start making loans to American corporations via commercial paper - a short-term IOU that companies can use to help finance their day-to-day operations.

The global COVID-19 pandemic will deliver a punishing blow to the U.S. economy in the April-June second quarter. This comes in stark contrast to January and February, when stellar economic data was projecting a robust pace of economic growth throughout 2020. How things have changed. But the massive setback should be temporary. A sharp recovery is expected in the second half of the year as the pent-up consumer and business dollars suddenly flood the economy. But in the short-term, the goal is to limit the economic fallout. Hopefully, the combined efforts by Trump and the Fed will deliver that objective.

Mar 20 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices recovered further following steep gains in the previous session after U.S. President Donald Trump hinted he may intervene in the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia at an "appropriate time".
- Gold prices rose 1% as safe-haven buying offset a rush for cash amid fears over the economic hit from the coronavirus, but bullion was headed for a second weekly drop as investors sold the metal to meet margin calls in other assets.
- London copper prices fell sharply erasing gains made late in the previous session, as the coronavirus-driven sell-off resumed despite growing economic stimulus across the globe.
- Chicago wheat futures rose for a fourth straight session, with the market set for its biggest weekly gain in nine months on expectations for higher consumption during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Arabica coffee futures jumped 4% in New York as worries about potential disruptions to the supply chain due to the coronavirus outbreak raised fears of occasional shortages.
- Malaysian palm oil futures climbed, tracking gains in rival edible oils and crude oil, but the contract was poised for a second straight weekly drop amid a sharp fall in exports due to the coronavirus outbreak.

- The dollar lost steam after an ascent that left it set for its biggest weekly gain since the 2008 global financial crisis, as the coronavirus pandemic caused a stampede for cash that has trampled asset markets.

- WTI crude oil climbs in early Asian trading after the U.S. Energy Department formally requests to buy up to 30 million barrels for the country's strategic reserves. The rebound in prices was also driven by comments from President Trump that he would intervene on crude oil prices "at the appropriate time," says Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets. "The moves may see energy shares bounce today after weeks of relentless selling," he says. WTI crude oil futures is up 2.2% at $25.78/bbl, while Brent crude oil futures are down 0.5% at $28.34/bbl.
- Fitch expects to see lower oil and natural-gas prices in the short- and medium-term because the market will be oversupplied this year given the fallout from the novel coronavirus and the failure of oil-producing nations to agree on supply cuts. With Saudi Arabia planing to increase production and utilize its spare capacity, "this could keep the Brent price below $40/bbl for the rest of this year." Fitch "also trimmed our long-term assumptions to reflect continued efficiency gains, low break-even oil prices of many greenfield projects and a potential for demand to slow due to energy transition." Fitch says natural-gas markets are oversupplied, with prices expected to stay low in the next two years "due to weak demand for LNG in China, high volumes of gas in European storage and commissioning of new LNG capacity."

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

- Oil prices rose but pared early gains as investors tried to assess how effective massive stimulus by central banks will be in shoring up the global economy as the shock from the coronavirus pandemic deepens.
- Gold prices fell more than 1% in volatile trade, as investors sought to hoard cash in unstable market conditions despite additional measures from the European Central Bank to deal with the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.
- Copper crashed nearly 8% to a more than four-year low under $4,400 a tonne in London and hit the 9% limit down in Shanghai, as investors cashed out base metals positions across the board on panic over the coronavirus.
- U.S. corn futures rose nearly 1%, rebounding from a three-year low hit in the previous session, as a surge in oil prices raised hopes for an uptick in demand for oil-substitute ethanol.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE hit 1-1/2 year lows on Wednesday, with the second month falling to the lowest level since December 2007, with equities and oil plunging as fears over the coronavirus pandemic eclipsed support measures.
- Malaysian palm oil futures extended losses as the government's move to exempt the country's plantations from a coronavirus-related shutdown added to demand concerns stemming from the spread of the epidemic.

- The dollar resumed its relentless climb against major currencies as wild financial market volatility and worries over tightening liquidity triggered by the coronavirus pandemic sparked an investor flight into cash.

- Stocks plunged on Wednesday, reaching a new crisis low—and nearly below the levels they were at when Trump first took office—as the coronavirus pandemic continues to take a toll on markets and inflict damage to the U.S. economy.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 6.3%, nearly 2,000 points. The S&P 500 was down 5.2%—breaking below its low point during the Christmas 2018 sell-off, while the Nasdaq slid 4.7%.
The Dow has nearly fallen below 19,827—the level it was at when Trump was inaugurated. That means that all of the stock market gains during Trump’s presidency—which he has often touted are as a result of his leadership—have almost been completely wiped out.
Wednesday was the eighth consecutive day where the S&P 500 swung more than 4% in either direction, which has never happened before—and the trend looks like it will continue. That level of market volatility is far worse than the previous record of six days in November 1929, during the Great Depression, according to LPL Financial.
As nervous investors grappled with the ongoing uncertainty from the coronavirus, billionaire investor Bill Ackman urged President Trump to shut down the country. “Hell is coming… America will end as we know it,” he said on CNBC. “I’m sorry to say so, unless we take this option.” Ackman’s emotional interview, which at times verged on panic, quickly prompted a larger market sell-off: Trading was halted after a “circuit breaker” mechanism was tripped up—for the fourth time in a week—by the S&P 500 falling more than 7%.
Stocks briefly bounced back before the market close later in the day, however, after news that the Senate has obtained the votes to pass legislation extending paid leave and unemployment insurance for struggling Americans. (That bill was already passed by the House and is separate from the $1 trillion relief package floated by the Trump administration.)

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

- Oil prices steadied after slipping to new four-year lows, sapped by fears for fuel demand and the global economy amid travel and social lockdowns triggered by the coronavirus epidemic.
- Gold prices inched higher as additional stimulus from the United States eased some concerns over the economic impact of the coronavirus and halted a trend of selling precious metals for cash, although a strong dollar capped gains.
- London copper prices dived below $5,000 a tonne for the first time since November 2016, as a base metals rally driven by mine closures in Peru gave way to renewed fears about the hit to demand from the coronavirus.
- Chicago soybean futures jumped 1.6% as Malaysia's move to shut down businesses to contain the rapidly spreading coronavirus raised concerns over production of rival palm oil.
- Raw sugar and cocoa futures on ICE hit fresh six-month lows on Tuesday as equities and oil struggled to stabilise after the coronavirus panic caused Wall Street's worst one-day rout since 1987 on Monday.
- Malaysian palm oil futures climbed as supply concerns rose after plantations were forced to temporarily shut operations to comply with a government order aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.

- The dollar edged down amid signs central bank measures were beginning to ease some of the funding squeeze, although it retained most of its whopping overnight gains on mounting fears about the fallout from the coronavirus crisis.

- One gauge of US stock market performance has erased the entirety of its gains since President Trump took office. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was recently down 8.8% at 19353, below 19787, where it closed the day of Mr. Trump's inauguration. Stocks initially soared after Mr. Trump's election, boosted by optimism around the administration's plans to cut taxes and loosen regulations. But they've tumbled this year as the worsening coronavirus pandemic has taken a big toll on the global economy.
- President Trump pledged to protect Boeing amid the coronavirus crisis, saying at a press conference: "We'll be helping Boeing." The president offered no specifics, but Trump's public support will bolster Boeing's push to get financial help for it and its suppliers as well as airlines and the broader aviation industry. A Boeing executive told WSJ that the manufacturer's senior leaders have been making the case for financial aid to administration and congressional officials. Trump alluded to the 737 MAX crisis that has hobbled Boeing for a year and new company leadership under CEO David Calhoun, adding the company was "coming along well and then all of a sudden this hits." Boeing shares are down more than 6%, deepening a decline of more than 60% this year.
- Bank of America expects manufacturing companies to have revenue declines of 15%-25% from last year compared with a 30%-50% decline during the financial crisis. The firms assumes a flash recession of one or two quarters that begins to fade by the end of the summer when the coronavirus may slow down, Fed stimulus takes hold and election uncertainty begins to resolve. The sector's stock multiples aren't likely to return to peak levels, citing potential for a lackluster recovery, continued China uncertainty and the oil price war. The firm also gives a two-notch upgrade to buy for industrial equipment auctioneer Ritchie Brothers as "the one name in the group that can actually benefit from a sharp slowdown or an actual recession." The analysts expect a sharp rise in auction volumes as the economy stalls in the next two quarters.
- Chicago futures-exchange operator CME Group was caught by surprise by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's suggestion of reducing trading hours in response to the coronavirus-fuelled market panic, CEO Terrence Duffy tells WSJ. "If we're in the dark, that's not good," Duffy says, adding that better coordination between the government and exchanges was needed. Mnuchin said at a press conference "we may get to a point where we shorten the hours." Mnuchin said he had consulted with the New York Stock Exchange about the situation in the markets. NYSE is owned by CME's largest competitor, Intercontinental Exchange.

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

- Oil rose more than $1 as bargain hunters emerged after recent sharp falls due to the coronavirus pandemic and the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, but fears of a recession still dragged on the market.
- Gold prices fell over 1%, extending losses from the previous session's meltdown, as investors continued to sell assets to keep their money in cash because of heightened concerns over the economic toll of the coronavirus outbreak.
- London copper prices edged up from a 40-month low hit in the previous session, on hopes the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy measures could boost long-term demand for metals.
- Chicago soybean futures rose for the first time in five sessions with bargain buying supporting prices, although gains were limited by concerns over the economic damage from the fast-spreading coronavirus.
- Wheat was little changed after Monday's slide to its lowest since October, while corn recovered from a six-month low to trade higher.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE fell to a six-month low on Monday, weighed partly by a further sharp decline in the crude oil market, while cocoa prices were also down sharply.

- Arabica and robusta coffee fell as traders fear that higher home consumption would not compensate for lost sales in cafeterias.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose as supply concerns were raised after the world's second-largest producer ordered two weeks of restricted movement that requires most businesses to shut down in an effort to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

- The dollar recouped lost ground on the yen and extended gains against risk currencies, in a choppy trading session that underlined fragile confidence in frazzled markets.

- Trump hit by market collapse
US president Donald Trump is finally learning how reckless it is to tie your political fortunes to stock markets. Trump has long claimed the credit for market gains; now, facing a bear market in an election year, he risks being blamed for the collapse. Just as Trump didn't deserve the credit for a bull market that began almost eight years before his election, he can hardly be blamed for the coronavirus outbreak. Still, his handling of the issue has been brutal.
Denying the scale of the problem, talking about the coronavirus "hoax", cheerleading stocks after the initial minor falls - all that was bad, but last Wednesday's Oval Office address really spooked investors.
The European travel ban, characterising it as a "foreign" virus and blaming Europe, insubstantial fiscal stimulus, getting policy details wrong - little wonder futures markets tanked in the wake of what Evercore ISI dubbed a "disaster speech".
To quote Harvard economist and former US treasury secretary Larry Summers: "Loose lips sink ships. Imprudent rhetoric sinks markets."

- US benchmark oil prices erase earlier gains to slide 2.1% to a session-low $28.08/bbl after President Trump says the government may increase limits on travel. Trump offers the American people this advice: "I would recommend that they just enjoy their living room." The administration has imposed travel bans on China and Europe, and the
president says more limits are possible, noting travels between the US and Canada and/or Mexico have been considered. Such limits could continue to slash demand for jet fuel and other oil-related products. WTI is now on track to close the session at a fresh four-year low.
- The Federal Reserve still has a couple of tools in its toolbox but it would need the act of Congress to move ahead with them, says Michael Mullaney, director of global markets research at Boston Partners Global Investors. Instead of buying Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities, the Fed could buy corporate bonds or bank paper directly, adopting the approach of the European Central Bank following the 2009 financial crisis, he says. The Fed could also adopt the Japanese central bank's approach of buying stock ETFs, Mullaney says. "That would be something which would take that kind of decree coming from Washington. I'm not sure that the politicians at this juncture are willing to go that far."
- Trump administration purchases of US crude to fill strategic stocks and WTI's shrinking discount will do little to stem the loss of demand for US exports -- Saudi Arabia and Russia can both produce oil at a lower price than the US can -- but the government purchases may slightly soften the blow to US producers. "We're going to have slowing
exports out of the U.S., that seems pretty clear," says Jamie Webster, senior director at the Boston Consulting Group Center for Energy Impact.. "But it does give a little bit of upside and an additional demand source for US crude intra-country depending on how much they can pull in and at what pace."

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

- Oil extended losses as an emergency rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve failed to soothe global financial markets panicked by the rapid spread of the coronavirus while a price war rages on between top producers.
- Gold prices jumped in early trade after another emergency rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve, before paring gains as some investors sold the metal for cash amid a sell-off in equities.
- London copper prices fell as dismal industrial data from China and emergency policy measures from the U.S. Federal Reserve underscored the extent of economic damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.
- Chicago soybeans ticked higher, supported by bargain buying after prices earlier dropped to their lowest since May on concerns about the economic impact of the fast-spreading coronavirus.
- Wheat slid, falling for three out four sessions, while corn rose.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE rose on Friday, boosted by tightening supplies and broad-based gains in commodity markets, while cocoa fell as rains improved the crop outlook in West Africa.
- Arabica and robusta coffees closed down.
- Malaysian palm oil futures fell as fears of the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak stoked demand worries, though a weaker ringgit limited losses.

- The dollar fell against a broad range of currencies after the U.S. Federal Reserve made another surprise interest rate cut and major central banks took steps to relieve a shortage of dollars and provide extra liquidity.

- US President Donald Trump on Thursday signed a law banning the use of US subsidies to buy network equipment from Huawei Technologies, ZTE and other companies deemed as threats to national security, Reuters reported Friday.  With the proposal now a law, small providers in rural areas are now barred from using gears made by the Chinese telecommunications companies. Pursuant to the law, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is required to help affected providers secure funding to remove and replace restricted equipment from their networks. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has urged Congress to allot funding to support affected companies.

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

- President Trump has finally declared a national emergency, in order to open up the resources of FEMA & Homeland Security among other things for controlling coronavirus (?) . So the U.S. shale industry is going to extract oil from underground reservoirs only for Uncle Sam to inject the same crude back down an underground cavern. And that process is going to cost about $2.6 billion (of taxpayer money). Capitalism at work.

- Large retailers aim to provide testing sites for people who believe they may have Covid-19, said the CEOs of Walmart, Target, CVS and Walgreens at a White House press briefing. Flanked by the CEOs, President Trump said his administration aims to expand testing and use parking lots of retailers to set up drive-through coronavirus testing
areas. "When we got the call yesterday from the White House we were eager to do our part to help serve the country," CEO Doug McMillon says. "We've been asked to make portions of our parking lot available in select locations in the beginning and scaling over time as supply [of tests] increases so people can experience the drive-through experience the President described," McMillon says. "We're currently working with officials and task force partners to identify real estate that can serve as temporary testing locations, and will share more details as they are available," Target says.
- Air travel restrictions to the US from continental Europe could be expanded to include the UK, President Donald Trump said Friday. The UK and Ireland had been excluded from the restrictions announced this week. The president flagged the move while answering questions at the White House, and also said travel restrictions could be eased to "a couple" of unidentified countries. Shares in American, United and Delta, which have all culled much of their trans-Atlantic flying, all fell in after-hours trade.
- US benchmark crude oil prices surge 5% to $33.06/bbl as President Trump says he's ordered the Energy Department to buy large quantities of crude oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to take advantage of a fall in oil prices and reinforce America's strength in the energy sector. The move to buy the crude "is helping us even further toward that wonderful goal which we've achieved, which nobody thought was possible, of energy independence," Trump says. "It puts us in a position that's very strong and we're buying it at the right price." He said the plan is to fill the SRP reserves "to the top." Oil prices closed Friday's session 23% lower for the week, at $31.73/bbl.
- CNOOC's earnings are likely to be further weighed by lower demand for jet fuel due to Trump's 30-day suspension of all travel from Europe, says Daiwa Capital. The investment bank trims its 2021 Brent forecasts to US$38 per barrel from US$48 per barrel projected earlier, resulting in downward revisions of 60.4% in 2020 and 16.6% in 2021
to CNOOC's earnings. Daiwa expects more nations to follow suit in imposing stricter restrictions on travel, which could further weigh on demand for oil and jet fuel. Daiwa cuts the stock's target price to HK$7.80 from HK$8.90, with an unchanged hold rating. Shares are down 8.2% at HK$7.18.

Mar 13 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices were set for their worst weekly drubbing since the 2008 financial crisis, despite eking out a 2%, as investors eyed evaporating demand from the coronavirus pandemic and a production ramp-up by top producers.
- Gold prices extended losses and were set for their steepest weekly decline in nearly seven years as traders sold bullion to finance margin calls in other assets hammered by panic over the coronavirus.
- London zinc prices edged higher, but were set for a fourth straight weekly decline as the fast-spreading coronavirus deepened worries about a global recession and metals demand.
- Chicago soybean futures slid nearly 1.5% with the market on track for its biggest weekly drop since July 2018 as mounting worries over the economic damage from the coronavirus outbreak pulled down global markets.
- ICE sugar, coffee and cocoa futures tumbled on Thursday as global stocks entered a bear market and oil slumped after U.S. President Donald Trump imposed limits on travel from much of Europe to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
- Malaysian palm oil futures were set for a weekly drop of 9% after extending losses, as worsening panic over the coronavirus outbreak drove heavy selling across assets.
- The dollar stood tall as investors scrambled for the world's most liquid currency amid deepening panic about the coronavirus, while the euro nursed losses after the European Central Bank disappointed by not cutting rates.

- The VIX fell below 63 early today, but it is back near 70 as we approach this afternoon's presentation by President Trump, reflecting elevated levels of anxiety on Wall Street. That accounted for losses in the markets off this morning's early relief rally. Traders feel Europe may be closer to passing meaningful stimulus, with the euro breaking sharply lower, while pushing the dollar more than 1,100 points higher as a safe-haven trade. Yields on 10-year Treasuries traded just shy of 1.0% earlier today, but are currently near 0.897%. The commodities are mixed. Soybeans are under pressure on a lack of demand, while corn and wheat show modest gains. The livestock sector quickly erased early gains to trade sharply lower today, taking advantage of expanded trading limits today. Western port authorities note a marked increase in U.S. meat exports, but traders are worried about domestic demand as we stay away from restaurants, reducing consumption of protein.

- Delta is suspending at least eight routes between Europe and the US in response to new restrictions on European travel. Flights among Paris, Amsterdam, and London and several US cities throughout the US will operate today and then will be suspended following their returns tomorrow. Delta says it will evaluate additional schedule adjustments based on consumer demand. The airline is also capping fares for travel to Europe.
- Jay Johnson, owner of California-based Coastline Travel Advisors, woke up with more than 70 text messages after President Trump laid out a travel ban for most Europeans. "We're not getting any new business to Europe," Johnson says. "Our travel for within the next--oh, gosh--60 to 90 days has pretty much stopped." The case is similar with cruise bookings, Johnson says, as Princess Cruises canceled its sailings for the next two months. "We're actually working harder than we ever have, but it's pro-bono," he says.
- U.S. President Donald Trump's speech in which he outlined a controversial ban on travel to the U.S. from 26 EU nations was a disaster and won't help his re-election hopes, says asset manager AGF Investments. The ban faced criticism for potentially damaging trade and arbitrarily stopping travel by citizens from EU nations relatively unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic. AGF says Trump was confusing on trade and didn't address potential measures to help those most affected by the outbreak. "Markets are certainly giving this speech a vote of no-confidence," AGF's chief U.S. policy strategist Greg Valliere told CNN. "In the last fortnight, his re-election chances have dropped considerably. Joe Biden looks strong and I think he's got a plausible shot at winning."
- HSBC downgrades Norwegian Air Shuttle to reduce from buy, with the U.S.-Europe travel ban "a blow too far." The bank notes that 46% of Norwegian's 2020 capacity is scheduled to serve the U.S. market and although the measures do not apply to the U.K. and Ireland, HSBC believes the announcement will significantly discourage demand even in markets excluded from the ban, including the UK-U.S. market, Norwegian's most important country pair by available seat kilometres. HSBC now expects Norwegian to face near term cash flow challenges. The bank cuts its FY20 net loss forecast to NOK4.4 billion from NOK0.9 billion and cuts target price to NOK0.50 from NOK30. "These are challenging times for the airline industry, particularly for the highly leveraged Norwegian." Shares fall 25.46% to NOK7.13.

Mar 12 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices sank again along with the broader market after the United States banned travel from Europe following a World Health Organization delaration that the coronavirus outbreak is now a pandemic.
- Gold inched up on worries about the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak as the United States suspended travel from virus-hit Europe, although gains were capped as traders covered margin calls after a plunge in equities. 
- Copper prices fell to multi-year lows as the United States shocked world markets after suspending travel from Europe to stem the rapidly spreading coronavirus, which world health officials have labelled a pandemic.
- Chicago soybean futures slid for a second session to a six-month low as the threat of deeper economic damage from the coronavirus dragged down global stocks and commodities after world health officials declared the flu-like virus a pandemic.
- ICE raw sugar prices fell on Wednesday as oil tumbled on an escalating price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, prompting fears Brazil will raise sugar output at the expense of ethanol. Arabica futures reversed early gains and closed lower, while cocoa firmed.
- Malaysian palm oil futures fell 3% as concerns over demand deepened after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.
- The dollar slid in another seismic shift to price in more U.S. interest rate cuts, after President Donald Trump disappointed markets with a coronavirus plan light on details.

- Brent crude oil is down 6.5% at $33.45 a barrel and WTI futures are down 6% at $30.99 a barrel as broader markets receive yet another hammering as the coronavirus pandemic spreads across Europe. With President Trump ordering a stop to most air travel from Europe, "European jet demand was already suffering due to less domestic travel, and this
is the nail in the coffin," says analyst Olivier Jakob. "Jet storage tank space is going to be a rare commodity in Europe that will be a growing problem for refiners in Europe and the Middle East," he adds. In the shipping market, "there is a frantic search for tankers to ship Saudi crude a result, crude oil freight is starting to surge, which will narrow the refining margins but also the U.S. export economics."
- Airline and other transportation stocks are among the biggest market fallers as investors ponder the impact of increasing travel restrictions to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Shares in over-50s tour operator Saga are down 15%, while bus and train operator FirstGroup, tour operator TUI, cruise-ship operator Carnival and IAG are also lower. "The markets are increasingly concerned by the negative impact the coronavirus will have on the global economy and the political weaponization of the virus by the American president exacerbated that even more," says ActivTrades analyst Ricardo Evangelista. "In this environment, further gains for safe havens and more losses for risk-related assets are likely."
- The U.S. ban on most travel from Europe sends airline and related stocks sharply down. Shares in airline Lufthansa, considered to have the most exposure, led the fall. "The market simply expects a collapse in passenger traffic, as German airport operator Fraport figures already show," a trader says. Passenger traffic at Frankfurt airport dropped 14.5% in the last week of February, according to Fraport, with the trend accelerating in the first week of March. Lufthansa shares trade 11% lower, Fraport 10% lower and Air France-KLM 15.5%.
- Eurozone government bond markets are defensive, with yields on core government bonds dropping, and those on Italian bonds rising after President Trump ordered a 30-day travel ban for the Schengen area in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The backdrop is challenging as Italy and Ireland line up for government bond auctions, while the market awaits the European Central Bank's monetary policy meeting, anticipating a broad-based package of measures. The 10-year German Bund yield is trading 3 basis points lower at -0.776%, while yield eases on other eurozone bonds is somewhat lower, according to Tradeweb. The 10-year Italian BTP yield is trading 7 basis points higher at 1.261%.

- President Trump's speech announcing new measures to mitigate the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic is "too little, too late" in the market's judgment, says Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets. He notes the strength in haven assets such as the Japanese yen and Swiss franc. "To negotiate with Congress on the payroll tax illustrates that Trump can't wave a magic wand," he adds. USD/JPY slides 1.2% to 103.32; USD/CHF falls 0.6% to 0.9332.
- Trump's speech that outlined travel restrictions on Europeans will probably slow global economic activity and is likely another sell signal for the markets after a huge negative signal from overnight trading, AxiCorp says. "FX risk barometers are trading heavy and flashing red, red, red," says Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at AxiCorp. Movements in forex and U.S. Treasury markets after Trump's speech point to investors viewing an increased probability of a global economic downturn, he says, noting USD/JPY, AUD/USD and the Treasury 10-year yield are all lower. USD/JPY slips 0.9% to 103.56, AUD/USD falls 0.4% to 0.6460 and Treasury 10-year yield is down 10bps at 0.73%, according to FactSet.
- Japan's Nikkei Stock Average extends falls, hitting its lowest intraday level in nearly three years after U.S. President Trump announced a travel suspension from continental Europe to the U.S. for the next 30 days as part of efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic. The Nikkei is last down 4.1% at 18619.99 while USD/JPY falls to 103.43 from 104.60 before Trump's speech. Coronavirus-related headlines remain in focus. Japanese stocks are broadly lower amid persistent concerns about economic disruption caused by the spread of the coronavirus. The Nikkei Stock Average is down 2.4% at 18944.66 and is on track to enter a bear market, which is a drop of 20% or more from the Jan. 20 close of 24083.51. Those with the sharpest declines include Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, down 4.1%, and Panasonic which is off 3.4%.
- Farmers say that if the Trump Administration moves forward with an appeal of a decision made by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals that challenges the EPA's legal authority to grant small refinery exemptions from compliance with renewable fuel standards, then they may reconsider their support of the President. "If it comes down to farmers
versus oil companies, farmers will remember that in November," says Dave Walton, a soybean farmer from Wilton, Iowa. If Trump follows through with an appeal, then farmers will again wade through a period of uncertainty regarding the economic viability of their corn crop, says Walton. Corn futures are down 1%.

- Trump's European Travel Ban Shakes Global Stock Markets / Asian markets signal investor distress over the outbreak.
- Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region fell broadly and heavily on Thursday on mounting signs that the coronavirus outbreak would take a dramatic toll on the global economy.
- Shares in Japan were down more than 5 percent midday, while shares in Australia led the region’s slump with a fall of more than 6 percent. Futures markets signaled dire openings for Wall Street and European stocks as well.
- The fall was driven by a sharp drop on Wall Street on Wednesday, but it worsened considerably following a spate of late news from the United States. President Trump on late Wednesday said the United States would stop most Europeans outside Britain from traveling to the country for 30 days in an effort to slow the spread. The State Department advised Americans to reconsider all international travel. An aide in the United States Senate tested positive. The National Basketball Association suspended its season after a player tested positive.
- With global growth on the line, investors have been looking for world leaders to step in to keep the economic gears turning. Mr. Trump on Wednesday said he would extend financial relief for sick workers and would ask Congress for more. Britain has said it would spend more than $30 billion. Central banks are cutting interest rates.
So far, for investors, it hasn’t been enough.
- Prices for 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds, a traditional safe haven for investors, jumped in Asian trading on Thursday, helping to keep yields at historic lows.
Oil prices were down more than 5 percent, shaken by a clash between Saudi Arabia and Russia over excessive production and by fears that the world simply does not need as much fuel as it once did.
-Among stock markets, in Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index was down 5.2 percent in midday trading. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index tumbled 6.3 percent. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index was down 3.6 percent. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite Index was down 1 percent. Steep sell-off highlights fears that Washington’s response won’t be enough.

- Stocks plunged on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones industrial average falling into a bear market, in a drop that reflected investors’ fear that Washington won’t be able to muster a response to the economic crisis triggered by the spreading coronavirus.
- A bear market begins when stocks have fallen 20 percent from their high. Though it’s a somewhat arbitrary threshold, in financial markets the designation acknowledges what many investors are surely feeling — that fear-based trading in the stock market may not end soon.
The last time stocks in the United States were in a bear market was during the height of the financial crisis, more than a decade ago.
- The S&P 500 fell nearly 5 percent on Wednesday, while the Dow dropped nearly 6 percent. From its February high, the S&P 500 is down 19 percent, while the Dow is down 20 percent.
Stocks have whipsawed this week as investors vacillated between the threat that the coronavirus poses to the global economy and the hopes that governments around the world will unveil a series of measures to help businesses. On Wednesday, World Health Organization officials officially designated the spread of the coronavirus as a global pandemic.
- President Trump has signaled he would consider ways to stimulate the economy, and lawmakers and administration officials spent the day Wednesday outlining their possible steps. Options include cutting payroll taxes and extending the American tax filing deadline past April 15. But so far, the White House has not announced any specific measures, and most experts say a payroll tax cut is not an effective way to combat the problems facing the economy. “What we’ve seen over the past 36 hours is hope for something from a fiscal policy perspective and then this sense that it’s not going to come, or it’s not thought out, so I think that’s the disappointment right now,” said William Delwiche, an investment strategist at Baird, an investment banking and money-management firm based in Milwaukee.
That the virus is unlikely to prove fatal to the vast majority of people who get it offers little comfort to financial markets. Rather, the worry is that efforts to contain the spread of the illness caused by the virus are certain to slow the global economy and corporate profits.

- Chinese hackers exploit virus fears.
- Criminals and nation-state hackers are capitalizing on the coronavirus outbreak to commit fraud and steal sensitive data. Over the past two weeks, two well-known Chinese state hacking groups have been baiting employees at large telecommunications companies and government agencies in Asia into downloading fake documents that purport to contain critical coronavirus information, three cybersecurity firms said.
- Two California companies, Crowdstrike and FireEye, and the Israeli company Check Point confirmed this week that the Chinese groups were sending out coronavirus-themed documents loaded with malware. For now, the breaches have focused on targets in Vietnam, Mongolia and the Philippines.
- FireEye reported that Russian hackers have been using legitimate coronavirus update documents to target entities in Ukraine, and North Korea hackers have used coronavirus information as bait to target a South Korean nongovernmental organization.
Security researchers worry the campaigns are an early warning for cyberattacks that could hit the United States. “We’re seeing cybercriminals and Chinese groups jump on coronavirus,” said Adam Meyers, the head of threat intelligence at Crowdstrike. “People need to be aware of what is coming.”
- Criminals have also been using coronavirus maps to lure people into downloading hacking tools that can be used for everything from stealing usernames and passwords to downloading ransomware. They have been sending what appears to be a Johns Hopkins University interactive map of coronavirus infections to bait victims into clicking.
- For now, the attacks have been largely limited to Asia, Mr. Meyers said, but American victims are vulnerable. He said that with global fears of coronavirus mounting, the virus will undoubtedly be used for “big-game hunting,” taking advantage of employees at big companies to demand larger payouts.

- European nations present emergency relief plans.
- Governments across Europe have announced emergency spending plans to support businesses facing lost revenue and individuals who have lost income because the outbreak.
- Britain: The nation’s new budget, delivered Wednesday, includes a fiscal stimulus plan of 30 billion pounds (about $39 billion), including tax breaks for businesses, additional money for the National Health Service and more generous sick pay.
- Italy: The government is spending 25 billion euros ($28 billion) to help businesses and individuals, potentially including broader unemployment benefits and aid for parents forced to take time off work. Details are expected Friday.
- Spain: The nation’s economic measures are expected to be announced Thursday, including support for tourism and transportation and families caring for out-of-school children.
- Germany: The government announced a spending program of 12.4 billion euros ($14 billion), and it will expand subsidies to prevent layoffs; spending on infrastructure will increase, and government banks will provide loans to small businesses facing a short-term declines in sales.
- France: Businesses affected by the outbreak have been offered financing to pay for partial unemployment benefits, as well as eased credit terms. Suppliers will not be penalized for failure to fulfill government contracts.

- Mortgage refinancing applications surge as interest rates fall.
- Consumers unnerved by the turmoil wrought by the coronavirus on Wall Street can focus on one bright spot, at least: falling mortgage rates. The rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has dropped to about 3.74 percent, and the Mortgage Bankers Associationsaid Wednesday that refinancing applications jumped 79 percent last week.
- The index that tracks refinancing activity surged to its highest level since 2009, the worst of the financial crisis, and there has been an almost equally robust rise in applications for new mortgages. If interest rates remain low, the association said it expected refinancing activity to exceed last year’s levels by 37 percent. The best refinancing deals may not be the ones found on lender websites or so-called mortgage lead generation websites run by firms like Bankrate, Lendingtree and Zillow.
“Very seldom does a borrower get the rate advertised on an aggregator website,” said Rick Sharga, founder of mortgage and real estate consulting firm CJ Patrick. “What we are hearing is some firms are pricing themselves out of the market to slow down the flow of leads, especially to people who are just rate shopping.”
- Even the website for Wells Fargo listed the going rate for a refinancing on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 4.25 percent — well above the rate cited by the Mortgage Bankers Association. Walter Schmidt, a manager with the mortgages strategy group at FHN Financial, said that posted rates were probably higher than in reality, and that he had heard good customers were getting better rates by dealing directly with the banks that underwrote their existing mortgages.

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

- Oil prices climbed as hopes U.S. producers would cut output lent support, but gains were capped by growing doubts about Washington's stimulus package to fight the coronavirus, which continues to spread globally.
- Gold rose after a steep fall in the previous session, as doubts about a stimulus package proposed by U.S. President Donald Trump to soften the economic impact of the coronavirus epidemic weighed on risk sentiment.
- London copper prices advanced, backed by hopes for stimulus measures to cushion the rising economic damage of the coronavirus outbreak, although worries over the virus' unabating spread capped gains.
- Chicago soybeans rose for a second consecutive session as the market continued to recover from a six-month low hit earlier this week, although gains were curbed by expectations of higher global stocks.
- Wheat slid for the first time in three sessions, while corn lost ground after Tuesday's gain. Arabica coffee futures were sharply higher on Tuesday, boosted by tightening supplies, resilient demand and gains in and other commodities.
- Cocoa futures also rose, while sugar was down slightly following energy futures lower.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose, supported by lower February inventories, although gains were capped by concerns over demand due to the coronavirus outbreak.

- The dollar resumed its descent against the safe-haven Japanese yen and the Swiss franc as investors worried over how much governments and central banks can do to limit the economic damage from the coronavirus epidemic.

- Markets rebound, with Dow jumping more than 800 points on Trump stimulus plan (NBC News)
The Dow soared by almost 800 points at the opening bell, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq each notching up gains of around 3 percent. Global stock markets plummeted Monday, after an all-out price war between key oil producers Saudi Arabia and Russia added to heightened concerns connected to the economic impact of the rapidly spreading virus. Companies have canceled industry gatherings, banned non-essential travel, and asked employees to work from home where possible. Health officials have even urged older people to avoid cruise ships, lengthy trips, and public events. The rebound in stocks came after President Donald Trump said on Monday he will take "major" steps to ease concerns about the economy in light of the coronavirus outbreak. Trump said he would be meeting with congressional Republicans on Tuesday to discuss payroll tax cuts.

Mar 10 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices bounced 8% from the biggest one-day rout in nearly 30 years, as investors eyed the possibility of economic stimulus amid a price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia and as new virus cases slowed in China.
- Gold fell more than 1%, retreating from last session's jump above the key $1,700 level, as hopes for global stimulus measures to cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak lifted riskier assets and the dollar.
- Prices of industrial metals rose as a drop in new coronavirus cases in China boosted hopes for an improvement in domestic demand, while President Xi Jinping's visit to the outbreak epicentre in the central city of Wuhan aided sentiment.
- Chicago soybean and corn futures rose for the first time in four sessions on expectations of a coordinated global policy action to prevent further economic damage from the coronavirus outbreak.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE sank to four-month lows on Monday as crude oil prices tumbled as much as 33% after Saudi Arabia launched a price war with Russia following the collapse of their three-year supply pact.
- Malaysian palm oil futures recouped some of the sharp losses suffered in the previous session, helped by a smaller-than-expected drop in March exports.

- The Trump administration ramps up rhetoric toward Russia and Saudi Arabia over their role in Monday's market collapse. "These attempts by state actors to manipulate and shock oil markets reinforce the importance of the role of the United States as a reliable energy supplier to partners and allies around the world," Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said in a news release sent after the market closed. The Saudi-led Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on Friday failed to agree with its Russia-dominated allies on a deal to cut production. That led the Saudis to cut prices dramatically, prompting major losses across oil and then other financial markets. A Treasury Department release Monday also said Secretary Steven Mnuchin "emphasized the importance of orderly energy markets" in a meeting with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov.
- U.S. oil and gas companies aren't asking the Trump administration for help and many are prepared to ride out a market downturn without it, says the leader of the industry's largest trade group. Mike Sommers, president of the American Petroleum Institute, tells reporters in a conference call Monday that his group is talking to administration officials, but not about any kind of bailout. API's member companies haven't directed him to demand any type of intervention from Washington, he adds. "This is a very difficult time in the industry, but they're not asking for anything from the government," Sommers says after the market close. "I think they understand these markets change over time. They've been through these kinds of cycles before." WTI falls 25% to $31.13 a barrel, the largest percentage-decline since 1991. That pulls the whole sector down; producer share prices with the XOP ETF fall 37%.
- Hawaiian Air CEO Peter Ingram says US carriers aren't seeking government aid, despite the big slowdown in traffic and bookings. "There's no active request out there for specific relief, at least in this country," he says on an investor call. Ingram says the drop is driven by "anxiety," and the best help the administration can provide is clear information.
- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Lawrence Kudlow will brief Senate Republicans on the spreading coronavirus at their weekly caucus lunch Tuesday, an administration official says. The Trump administration has also invited Wall Street executives to a White House meeting Wednesday to discuss the effects
of the virus on the economy, another official says. The president's economic team is planning to present him with a slate of potential fiscal stimulus measures Monday to combat the epidemic, including paid sick leave.

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

- Losing more than a quarter of their value, oil prices were set for their biggest one-day decline in 29 years, after Saudi Arabia ignited a price war in a market already reeling from the impact of the coronavirus on global demand.
- Gold prices fell 1% as investors booked profits after the metal rose above the $1,700 per ounce level for the first time in more than seven years on fears of a deeper economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.
- Base metal prices dropped, with London copper hitting its lowest in nearly three years, as crashing oil prices and fast-rising coronavirus cases battered global risk sentiment.
- Chicago corn and soybean futures slid 2%, both extending losses into a third session, as concerns over the economic fallout from the fast-spreading coronavirus dragged down equities and commodities.
- Wheat fell for a second session to hit its lowest in almost 4 months.
- Cocoa futures fell to their lowest level in nearly two months on Friday, pressured by a potential weakening in demand partly linked to the global spread of the coronavirus, while raw sugar slid to a three-month low.
- Malaysian palm oil futures slumped by the 10% daily limit on demand concerns, as crude oil prices crashed after Saudi Arabia slashed its official selling price and the coronavirus outbreak spread outside China.

- The dollar dived against the euro and yen as a slump in oil prices combined with coronavirus fears to drive U.S. yields to once-unthinkable lows.

- The FTSE 100 index slides by 8.6%, or 556 points, to 5903.15, reaching its lowest levels since mid-2016, as a Saudi-Russian price war causes oil prices to tumble, leaving heavyweight oil stocks down by around a fifth. Mining stocks also drop sharply as base-metal prices fall. BP loses 20.3%, Royal Dutch Shell B shares are down 22%, while Anglo American loses 14.3% and Glencore falls 13.1%. The price of Brent crude falls 23% to $34.74 after Saudi oil giant Aramco cut prices. The latest crisis in oil prices adds to growing concerns over the coronavirus epidemic as much of Italy's north is placed in lockdown. Travel stocks continue to suffer, with TUI down 13.5%.
- Shares in energy producers fall sharply in early European trading, hit by the slump in global oil prices. Among the majors, Royal Dutch Shell is down 22%, BP is down 20% and Equinor and Repsol 17% apiece. Later, all eyes will be on the bonds of indebted U.S. shale producers. "The market where most concerns may be felt will be the shale-heavy U.S. high-yield corporate-bond market," says Kit Juckes of Societe Generale. "Bad news and bad liquidity make for a particularly toxic mix."
- The crash in oil prices, down 24%, has triggered a fresh push into safe-haven assets, with the yield on 10-year U.K. benchmark government debt, or gilts, sinking to a record low of 0.121%, according to Tradeweb. Saudi Arabia's move to raise the supply of crude as the coronavirus hits demand sparks a sharp increase in buying of sovereign bonds as global stocks tumble. The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield dropped below 0.5% for the fist-time ever, Tradeweb data show.
- Oil prices trim their losses in early European trading, but the slump remains dramatic as producers gear up for a price war. Brent-crude futures are down 26% at $33.71 a barrel, while WTI futures are down 27% at $29.98 a barrel. "We are likely heading into an oil-price war," says Helge Martinsen of Norway's DNB Bank. Saudi Arabia's decision to slash its official selling prices and ramp up output is "a clear signal that the gloves are off and that the kingdom is hunting for market share," he adds. However, Martinsen thinks it is unsustainable for Brent crude to cost less than $50 a barrel because such low prices will lead to a structural decline in output by non-OPEC producers. "The best cure for low oil prices is low oil prices."
- The collapse of talks at OPEC's meeting caused by disagreements between Saudi Arabia and Russia over production cuts threatens a return to early 2016, when oil prices fell toward cash operating costs, forcing the U.S. to lower activity, says Berenberg. Last week, the cartel's de-facto leader pushed for deeper crude-production cuts in an effort to balance global supply against coronavirus. When Russia posed its veto, the Saudis reacted aggressively, cutting pricing for its crude while increasing production. "With a severe market imbalance and inventories growing rapidly, prices will fall to rebalance the market," say analysts at Berenberg. "We note that the Saudi actions could be a negotiating tactic designed to bring Russia back to the table, but the market is unlikely to be sanguine in the near term."
- China stocks slid alongside global equities jolted by a plunge in crude prices that mixed with coronavirus anxiety to spur selloffs. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index declined 3.0% to 2943.29, while the smaller Shenzhen Composite Index and the startup-heavy ChiNext Price Index slid 3.8% and 4.6%, respectively. Energy stocks tumbled, with China Oilfield Services losing 8.5%. However, China Fortune Securities says A-shares' long-term outlook remains positive as foreign investors may increasingly turn to them as safe havens in the global downturn. It notes that as the virus spreads globally, it has subsided in China, where improved market sentiment has kept A-share daily turnover above the CNY1-trillion mark for more than 40 sessions.
- Brent crude oil is down 25% at $33.98 a barrel and WTI futures are down 26.8% at $30.13 barrel after Saudi Arabia's decision over the weekend to cut most of its oil prices and boost output, despite existing threats to demand from the coronavirus epidemic. "We believe the OPEC and Russia oil price war unequivocally started this weekend when Saudi Arabia aggressively cut the relative price at which it sells its crude by the most in at least 20 years. This completely changes the outlook for the oil and gas markets," says Goldman Sachs's Damien Courvalin. "The prognosis for the oil market is even more dire than in November 2014, when such a price war last started, as it comes to a head with the significant collapse in oil demand due to the coronavirus." Goldman Sachs cuts its 2Q and 3Q Brent price forecasts to $30 a barrel.
- China's oil imports could drop sharply in 1H due to the OPEC+ price war and coronavirus-weakened demand, DBS says. The Singaporean bank cuts its Brent price forecast by around $10 a barrel, now expecting prices to average between $47-$52 a barrel in 2020. Chinese oil demand is likely to shrink around 20% this year, declining more steeply than it did during the SARs outbreak in 2003 as global authorities tighten travel and quarantine regulations in a bid to stop the coronavirus's spread, the bank says. WTI futures are down 28% at $29.58 while Brent crude is down 27% at $33.24.

- The Aluminum Association is petitioning the US government for tariffs on aluminum producers in 18 countries. Since US duties were imposed on low-cost common alloy aluminum sheet from China 18 months ago, the trade group alleges common alloy from Bahrain, Brazil, Croatia, Egypt, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Italy, Oman, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan and Turkey is now being sold in the US at prices below the cost of producing the product. The association also accuses producers in some of these countries of unfairly benefiting from numerous government subsidy programs. "We simply cannot continue in an environment where unfairly traded imports are impacting our members' ability to operate," says Lauren Wilk, the association's vice president for policy and international trade. Common alloy aluminum is used in gutters and downspouts, street signs and license plates, electrical boxes and truck trailers.
- President Trump says on Twitter tumbling commodity prices are good for consumers. "Good for the consumer, gasoline prices coming down!" he tweets. But analysts say the typical increase in demand due to lower fuel prices might not happen with the coronavirus denting travel around the globe. "We're going to see lower prices but it might not yet spur demand," said Andy Lebow, senior partner at Commodity Research Group. Trump also blamed today's market rout on the Saudi-Russia clash and "the Fake News."
- Elizabeth Duke resigns as Wells Fargo chair days ahead of her scheduled appearance at a what is shaping up to be a hostile House Financial Services Committee hearing. Board member James Quigley also resigns. The committee last week said Wells has failed to comply with regulators following series of scandals. US Rep. Maxine Waters, who chairs
the committee, called Wells "a reckless megabank with an ineffective board and management" and said she would call for the resignations of Duke and Quigley. New Wells CEO Charles Scharf is scheduled to appear at the hearings Tuesday, with Duke slated to appear Wednesday.

Mar 06 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil slid nearly 1% as worries about global oil demand and economic growth slowdown caused by the coronavirus outbreak were heightened by concern over non-OPEC crude producers not yet having agreed to cut output further to support prices.
- Gold rose, on track to post its biggest weekly gain since October 2011, over fears that the global coronavirus outbreak could deal a hard blow to the world economy.
- Shanghai aluminium touched its lowest in 41 months, tracking a broader fall in prices of metals, on fears of a severe hit to the global economy as the coronavirus outbreak spread rapidly outside China.
- Chicago wheat ticked lower with the market set for a second week of decline, while prices of corn were pressured by a drop in global markets as the coronavirus spread rapidly outside China.
- Raw sugar prices on the ICE hit a two-month low on Thursday as fears the coronavirus outbreak will hit global growth hard persisted across the financial markets, while New York cocoa prices hit seven-week lows and arabica coffee fell by around 4%.
- Malaysian palm oil futures fell as some investors booked profits after a four-day rally, though the market was set for a weekly gain on hopes of demand improving ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

- The dollar nursed savage losses against the yen and euro as a plunge in U.S. yields to record lows wiped out the currency's single greatest attraction for investors - higher interest rates.

- Tourism is taking a hit as the coronavirus spreads through the EU, Fitch says. The firm says initial spillover from coronavirus saw a disruption of tourist arrivals from China and adds travel restrictions are further reducing the number of travelers. Fitch says in Northern Italy "media reports point to a marked decline in tourism, while industry body Confimprese said retailer turnover fell 40% in the first week of the outbreak." Amid the spread of the virus in the EU, the combination of restrictions on and unwillingness to travel "are starting to materially affect economies where tourism is a significant contributor to GDP," according to Fitch. In addition to economic effects, a failure to effectively address the outbreak could add to political volatility in EU member states, Fitch says.
- Trade-policy uncertainty is a force that can wound the economy, but its resolution may not augur much in the way of a recovery, NY Fed research says. The key is how businesses feel about the outlook: "Subsiding trade policy uncertainty does not necessarily result in a recovery of the manufacturing sector and investment spending as long as business sentiment remains negative," a report by NY Fed economists Gianluca Benigno and Jan Groen says. Even though some of the trade uncertainty that drove the Fed to lower rates last year has declined, the report says in the US "the mitigation of trade tensions might not coincide with a rebound in economy activity as long as business sentiment does not recover."

Mar 05 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices rose more than 1% o ahead of an OPEC meeting in which Saudi Arabia is expected to push the group and its allies including Russia to agree to further output cuts to support the market.
- Gold edged up on safe-haven buying fuelled by worries about the fast-spreading coronavirus, but a rise in equity markets limited bullion's gains.
- Base metals rallied as stronger equity markets boosted sentiment, outweighing worries about the global economic impact from the fast-spreading coronavirus.
- Chicago soybeans futures gained for a fourth consecutive session, driven by expectations of higher demand for U.S. supplies after rival exporter Argentina raised taxes.
- Arabica futures on ICE fell on Wednesday as the market readjusted after soaring to a seven-week peak in the prior session, while cocoa and sugar slipped again on fears over the coronavirus outbreak.
- Malaysian palm oil futures recovered from early losses on short covering and Ramadan demand, extending a three-day winning streak.
- The dollar struggled to make headway, as very low U.S. yields and the prospect of even more monetary easing held back gains, while virus fears supported the safe-haven yen.

- Joe Biden's comeback in the Democratic presidential race will help offset some of the headwinds facing the dollar, MUFG Bank says. "The resurgence of Joe Biden will help to dampen some of the downside risks for the U.S. dollar given fears over a sharper shift to the left under Bernie Sanders have eased," MUFG's Lee Hardman says. "However, it remains far from certain that Joe Biden will go on to secure the Democratic nomination." Biden won nine of the 14 states that voted for a Democratic White House candidate on Super Tuesday. The dollar index rises 0.1% to 97.2530, having fallen to an eight-week low of 96.9790 Tuesday after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates by 50 basis points.
- The limited amount of space for Fed rate cuts and the uncertain potency of forward guidance and asset buying has raised the importance of fiscal policy as a source of stimulus. Fed Chair Powell, in his post-emergency rate cut press conference, said of fiscal policy that it's "not our role to give advice" on that front. He added, "In terms of moving forward, I would say that we do like our current policy stance. We think it's appropriate to support our dual mandate goals. But as I said in my statement, we are prepared to use our tools and act appropriately, depending on the flow of events," Powell said.
- President Trump is not all that happy about the Fed's emergency rate cut. Trump tweets following the Fed's action: "The Federal Reserve is cutting but must further ease and, most importantly, come into line with other countries/competitors. We are not playing on a level field. Not fair to USA. It is finally time for the Federal Reserve to LEAD. More easing and cutting!" Notably, Trump was opposed to low rates before becoming president, and became a policy dove once he was elected.
- Shares of health insurers are building on their Monday gains, putting them among the best performers in the S&P 500 even with the index edging lower. Cigna is up 2.1%, while Anthem adds 1.2% and UnitedHealth rises 0.8%. Some analysts see growing support for former VP Joe Biden among moderate Democrats as potentially halting Sen. Bernie Sanders' path to the Democratic nomination. Sanders' proposed overhaul of the health-care system has been seen as a threat to shares of insurers.

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

- Oil prices jumped 1.5% on hopes that major producers have made progress towards sealing an agreement to implement deeper output cuts aimed at offsetting the slump in demand caused by the global coronavirus outbreak.
- Gold prices rose, extending gains from a 3% rise in the previous session as the U.S. Federal Reserve slashed its benchmark interest rate to cushion the economic impact from the fast-spreading coronavirus.
- London copper prices rose after an emergency rate cut from the U.S. Federal Reserve weakened the greenback, making dollar-denominated metals cheaper for buyers using other currencies.
- Chicago soybean futures rose for a third consecutive session to trade near their highest in nearly six weeks, on technicals and as global stimulus packages eased concerns over the economic impact of the coronavirus.
- Arabica coffee futures on ICE rose sharply to a seven-week peak on Tuesday, boosted partly by a shortage of high-quality supplies, while cocoa and sugar prices were lower.
- Malaysian palm oil futures erased early losses to trade little changed, as buyers stocked up ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, but a stronger ringgit and an industry estimate of higher production in February weighed on the market.

- The dollar hovered near five-month lows versus the yen after the U.S. Federal Reserve's emergency 50 basis point rate cut sparked more anxiety about the impact of the coronavirus and sent Treasury yields tumbling to record lows.

Mar 03 - DJ Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices rose for a second day on expectations that central banks are likely to enact financial stimulus to offset the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak and growing optimism that OPEC will order deeper output cuts this week.
- Gold prices rose as expectations grew for monetary policy easing by major central banks to limit the economic fallout from the fast-spreading coronavirus.
- London copper prices scaled their highest in more than a week, buoyed by growing hopes that global central banks would roll out policy stimulus to combat the economic fallout from the coronavirus epidemic.
- Chicago soybean futures rose for a second session to hit six-week highs, as rising expectations of a coordinated global effort to offset the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak buoyed investor sentiment.

- Raw sugar prices on ICE slid to a seven-week low on Monday as funds scaled back long positions, with the spread of the global coronavirus outbreak dampening risk appetite.

- Malaysian palm oil futures firmed, supported by gains in rival soyoil, but falling exports and prospects of higher production amid the coronavirus outbreak capped gains.
- The safe-haven Japanese yen gained on the dollar, as the market tempered hopes for global monetary easing with worries about its scale and efficacy in combating the economic damage from the coronavirus outbreak.

- Shares of health insurers have surged in afternoon trading with the AP reporting that Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg will endorse former VP Joe Biden after dropping out of the presidential race, moves that could obstruct Sen. Bernie Sanders' path to the Democratic nomination. Sanders' proposed overhaul of the health-care system has been seen as a threat to shares of insurers. Humana shares are up 7.1%, while CVS Health is up 6.7% and Anthem, Cigna and UnitedHealth are all up over 4% or more.
- US lawmakers tentatively have decided against holding additional hearings examining MAX airliners, allowing newly installed Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun to avoid the type of grilling his predecessor experienced late last year. The Senate Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Federal Aviation Administration's programs, at this point
isn't planning any more public hearings about the design and approval of the embattled 737 MAX fleet. The House Transportation Committee, which has collected hundreds of thousands of pages of FAA and Boeing documents as part of its probe, held some high-profile hearings in 2019 revealing internal documents raising questions about the plane maker's engineering and safety culture. But barring unexpected developments, according to people familiar with the details, the panel isn't slated to kick off any more hearings. A final report is expected in coming months.
- Fed chairman Jerome Powell kicked the door open to a coronavirus-related rate cut Friday, and President Trump is stewing over the fact the central bank hasn't done it yet. President Trump, who is ever-frustrated at the Fed and shrugged off by central bankers when he attacks, writes on Twitter: "As usual, Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve are slow to act. Germany and others are pumping money into their economies. Other Central Banks are much more aggressive. The US should have, for all of the right reasons, the lowest Rate. We don't, putting us at a....competitive disadvantage. We should be leading, not following!"

Mar 02 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices rebounded more than $1 a barrel after earlier hitting multi-year lows, as hopes of a deeper cut in output by OPEC and stimulus from central banks countered worries about damage to demand from the coronavirus outbreak.
- Gold rose more than 1%, rebounding from a steep decline across precious metals in the previous session, amid hopes of a rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve to cushion the impact of the fast-spreading coronavirus.
- Nickel prices rose, rebounding from eight-month lows hit in the previous session on worries over ore supply as top producer Indonesia reported its first coronavirus cases.
- Chicago soybeans rose to a one-week high as global markets recovered on hopes of monetary stimulus, although gains were curbed by concerns over declining demand in top importer China due to the coronavirus outbreak.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rose more than 2%, as Asian stocks gained on hopes of stimulus from central banks to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, and expectations of a pick-up in demand.
- Raw sugar futures on ICE fell to a seven-week low on Friday, while cocoa prices were sharply down as concern about the spread of the coronavirus sparked widespread losses in crude oil and other commodity markets.
- The yen and the euro were on the front foot against the dollar as traders raised their bets of an interest rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve this month to shield the economy from the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

- Stocks soared into late morning on positive economic data combined with expectations that we will see central bank stimulus here, and elsewhere. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell added to that optimism with a statement that the central bank is ready and prepared to provide support as necessary. Additional support comes from evidence that global central banks are coordinating efforts to support economic growth. Fed fund futures today are pricing in 100% odds of a 50-basis point cut in the Fed's benchmark rate when it meets in two weeks, with 71% odds that we'll see the rate 75-basis points lower by the April meeting and one-in-three odds of the rate being 100-basis points lower by June.
- The VIX collapsed to 33 late-morning, while the dollar index fell to fresh six-week lows, down more than 2,600 points from the February 20 high. Momentum-trading Algos are amplifying the swings. Yields on 10-year Treasuries are trading near 1.08%, after falling to a record low of 1.03% earlier in the session. Crude oil prices are 5% higher on the rebound, while many of the Ags are posting impressive gains as well, in what is turning into a "risk-on" session - at least for now.
- The PMI manufacturing index for February came in at 50.7, down from 51.9 in January, but near analyst expectations of 50.8. The ISM manufacturing index for February slipped to 50.1, down from 50.9 previously, and slightly below analyst expectations of 50.4. These numbers aren't great, with coronavirus not considered a significant threat for the first half or more of the month. Yet, the numbers at least show modest growth. However, construction spending rose by 1.8% in January, a turn from the 0.2% upwardly revised growth seen in December and triple the 0.6% growth rate expected by analysts. Construction spending was up 6.8% year-on-year in January, up from 6.4% grown in December.
- Larry Kudlow, the director of the White House's National Economic Council, tells reporters the economy is "fundamentally sound" and the threat from the virus for Americans is low. Kudlow, a member of the administration's coronavirus taskforce, said the administration is always discussing options, but said officials aren't currently
planning major actions like suspending tariffs on China in response to the plunging markets. Kudlow says he has spoken to CEOs about the effects of the virus on business.
- The safe-haven dollar should remain supported by coronavirus worries in the near-term but the U.S. presidential elections could dampen demand for the currency later this year, Bank of America says. The U.S. election in November "could lead to some downside" for the dollar, BofA analysts say. "In this context, the Super Tuesday for the
Democratic primaries next week is very important, with elections in 15 states and Bernie Sanders leading the polls," they say. The dollar index is last down 0.2% at 98.2960.
- A leading oil and gas trade association says a ban on fracking--which several Democratic presidential candidates are calling for, including front-runner Bernie Sanders--would have "dire economic consequences" for American families and businesses. "Banning federal leasing and fracking on public and private lands ... would cost up to 7.5
million American jobs in 2022 alone, lead to a cumulative GDP loss of $7.1T by 2030, slash household incomes by $5,400 annually, increase household energy costs by more than $600 per year and reduce farm incomes by 43% due to higher energy costs," says the Washington-based American Petroleum Institute in a study, adding US oil exports could collapse.

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."