Precious Metals: Platinum climbs on industrial demand outlook
Precious metals rallied on Friday, being boosted by the latest Fed’s decision to stick to its loose monetary policy. Weaker greenback coupled with mixed US labour market data also spurred the rally. Gold moved higher as market players remained focused on the Fed’s stimulus measures. Furthermore, strong demand from central banks across the globe as well as weakness in the US Dollar lent support for the yellow metal.
Silver advanced, following the gold’s suit after US jobs market numbers. The grey metal jumped near a three-month high in the week ended February 3 on signs of robust demand for 2013 American Eagle silver coins. The US Mint announced sales of silver coins skyrocketed 84% in January compared with the preceding month.
Platinum went up as strong US manufacturing data boosted industrial demand prospects for the precious metal.
Palladium led gains, approaching a 16-month high amid concerns over Russian supplies. Norilsk Nickel, which accounts for 42% of the global palladium production, reported sales of palladium stocks were likely to drop below 100,000 ounces in 2013 and no stocks sales were expected after 2014.
Industrial Metals: Nickel rallies as stainless steelmakers restock
Industrial metals finished the week in the green territory amid positive US manufacturing numbers and weaker US Dollar. Moreover, China’s PMI indicated expansion despite being slightly below market consensus.
Aluminum moved higher on encouraging data from the US and China. However, aluminum remained under heavy pressure as LME stocks hovered near a record high of 5,24 million tonnes.
Copper jumped to a four-month high on signs of improving manufacturing activity in the US and China. Pushing the red metal higher, copper stocks monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange plunged to a two-month low last week.
Nickel was the top-performer, attaining a three-month high as stainless steelmakers are expected to stock up the metal amid more positive global economic outlook. Cancelled warrants at the LME jumped in January indicating a decline in inventories.
Zinc climbed on weaker US Dollar and expectations for robust demand from China. However, bloated LME inventories continued to put pressure on the metal.
Energy: Natural gas declined on mild weather forecasts, US stockpiles
Energy futures except for natural gas were bullish on Friday as upbeat manufacturing data boosted expectations for stronger energy demand from the US and China. Meanwhile, the Fed’s stimulus measures coupled with soft US Dollar continued to support the commodity complex.
Crude oil moved higher after falling in the previous session on elevated US inventories. The latest EIA report showed US crude oil stockpiles jumped 5.9 million barrels last week compared to a forecast of a 2.9-millio-barrel increase.
Brent oil advanced after positive PMI readings in the US and China. Moreover, persistent tensions between Libya and Algeria sent the commodity higher.
Natural gas was the only loser as market participants remained focused on mild weather forecasts in the US in next two weeks. Adding pressure, US natural gas stocks declined less-than-expected last week. US inventories dropped 194 billion cubic feet last week while analysts predicted a 202-billion-cubic-feet decrease.
Heating oil rallied on declining US supplies. The data showed US distillate fuel stockpiles slumped 2.3 million barrels last week and remained more than 40% below the average limit for this period of the year.
Agriculture: Sugar jumps as global output may decline
Rural commodities were mixed on Friday, with softs advancing and grains retreating. Supporting softs, global coffee and sugar crops may drop this year. At the same time, weak demand for US grains pushed wheat and corn futures lower.
Wheat was the top-loser for the second consecutive session amid signs of weak demand for US grains. The USDA report showed US wheat exports tumbled 40% in the week ended January 24 on a weekly basis.
Corn retreated on soft demand for US supplies. The USDA data indicated US export sales totaled 252,000 tonnes last week, the lower range of the experts’ projections. However, the downswing was capped by concerns over dry weather in Argentina.
Sugar extended previous gains on speculation that global production may decline as farmers are reducing plantings amid weak sweetener prices. India’s sugar output is likely to be much lower than predicted this year and India’s sugar market may even witness a deficit this year, according to Commerzbank.
Coffee moved higher on concerns over spreading leaf rust in Central America. Weaker US Dollar also supported the commodity futures.