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Commodities slide as investors misread policy signals



Commodity Monthly Monitor - Commodities slide as investors misread policy signals Confusion around China’s currency policy drives volatility across the commodity complex.

Commodity Monthly Monitor – Commodities slide as investors misread policy signals

August/ September 2015


Confusion around China’s currency policy drives volatility across the commodity complex. With many market participants thinking the change in Chinese currency policy was a competitive devaluation rather than a move to introduce more market dynamics, fears that the authorities have become desperate to reignite economic growth has led to a sell-off in cyclical commodities. At the same time, the gold price has benefited, reversing some of the negative sentiment towards the metal we have seen in past months. As the dust settles, we believe that industrial metals will grind higher as supply tightens and the market realises that Chinese demand is not bad as feared. Although consensus expectations are for a Federal Reserve rate hike in September, recent Fed minutes indicate it is not a sure thing and so some of the US dollar pressure on commodities may ease. The capitulation in oil prices has driven demand higher and will likely provide high-cost producers the incentive to cut back on production. US$200bn of capex cuts have announced across the oil and gas sector, which will help the market come closer to balance as we move toward year-end and into 2016.

Strengthening El Niño to become a catalyst for wheat, corn, cocoa and sugar prices in coming months. While plentiful supplies have led to wheat, corn and sugar price declines over the past month, an intensifying El Niño is likely to impact sensitive growing periods for these crops and drive prices higher.

Uncertainty around Chinese currency policy reinstates gold’s haven status. In recent weeks gold has increased as China’s change in currency policy caught investors off-guard. That contrasts the waning defensive role of the metal during the worst of the Greek financial crisis.

Negative sentiment surrounding the Chinese growth outlook weighs on industrial metals. Renminbi depreciation has prompted speculation that the outlook for economic growth will not favour Chinese metal demand. At the margin the stronger US Dollar has also adversely impacted industrial metals prices.

Oil prices capitulate as OPEC production hits a 3-year high. Higher OPEC production and rising US rig counts have driven prices sharply lower. We believe that these low prices are likely to drive non-OPEC, non-US, high-cost production down, shifting global market share.

For more information contact:

ETF Securities Research team
ETF Securities (UK) Limited
T +44 (0) 207 448 4336
E  info@etfsecurities.com

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