Wednesday Briefing: Silver Continues to be the Dominant Commodity

July 6, 2016

As the silver rally continues in the market and on Sentifi‘s Top Commodity list, the markets have finally figured out the ones responsible for the price increase. In the U.S., President Barack Obama got called out on his statement regarding steel production in the country. It’s quite embarrassing, but his administrative should have fact-checked before letting him speak.  Those are the notable stories about commodities today, but there’s more on Sentifi, so read on.


1/ Silver: Manipulated by Chinese day trader

The metal had the biggest two-day rally in five years at the start of the week. But while trading volume was off the charts, Chinese silver futures saw a decline in open interest, which can be viewed as a sign that Chinese day traders are actually behind the rally. Precious metals such as silver and gold are being highly sought after by investors as they provide insurance against the concerns of Brexit and low U.S. interest rates.

2/ Steel: U.S. president was called out on his statement about steel production

Barack Obama had a bad day when his statement on the U.S. steel production was proved incorrect. (CATERS)

PolitiFact, a project of the Tampa Bay Times that fact-checks U.S. politics, has called Barack Obama out on his statement regarding the steel production. He said: “The steel industry is producing as much steel in the United States as it ever was. It’s just (that) it needs one-tenth of the workers that it used to.” PoliticFact points out he was incorrect. Pulling data from the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. produced 137 million metric tons of raw steel, which was a high point, in 1973, and only 87 million metric tons in 2013. 142,000 Americans were employed in 2013 compared to the all-time high of 650,000 employees in 1953, which translates to a loss of one in five jobs, not one in 10.

3/ Wheat: Ukrainian wheat exports increase

Ukraine had a successful year in wheat exports with a 54.5% increase year-on-year to 17.354 million metric tons. It’s all thanks to a high volume of feed wheat production relative to the dollar stimulated wheat exports. In contrast, corn sales, Ukraine’s biggest agriculture export by volume traditionally, fell 7.6% year on year because buyers switched to wheat to take advantage of competitively priced feed wheat.

4/ Corn: Heads back to bear market

Corn enjoyed a surge thanks to extensive U.S. rains easing crop concerns and boosting yield potential. But now corn futures for September delivery declined by 2.6% to $3.5075 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. The contract is now down 21%, pulling corn into the bear territory again.

5/ Soybean Meal: Marked down in Europe’s meals and feeds market 

Chicago soybean and soymeal futures fell at the open after the market was closed for Independence Day holiday, which caused European buyers to be reluctant to lock down on deals. Now they are waiting to see the trend in Chicago and the prospects of U.S. harvest to avoid further cuts in profit margins.

6/ Rice: Nigerian states collaborate on rice project

Project “Lake Rice” will help Nigeria break away from depending on imported rice.

Lagos State and Kebbi State of Nigeria are partnering for project “Lake Rice” to boost local rice production to make Nigeria less dependent on imported rice. The produce is expected to be in the market in the next six months. Kebbi will handle the cultivation, whereas Lagos will do much of the milling of the rice paddy. The goal is to increase the rice capacity to 20 million metric tons per hour.

7/ Brent Crude Oil: Brexit and China drags down oil

Oil prices plummeted 5%. thanks to Brexit. Prior to the EU referendum, the slowing Chinese economy was one of the prime factors for the price fall as demand wasn’t as strong to support a price increase. And now with Brexit engulfing the markets, concerns are it will slow the global economy which leads to a decline in energy demand, and the oil price drop reflected that expectation.

8/ Tin: Prices predicted for July

Edward Meir of INTL FCStone predicted tin prices in July to be $17,500 to $19,000 per tonne on the London Meta Exchange. He cited restricted supply, relatively decent demand and no free stocks on hand to cushion price spikes being the reasons behind his prediction.

9/ Palladium: Goes through price correction due to weak U.S. auto sales

Palladium is experiencing a price correction and weak demand, which cause its prices to go down, and it has the U.S. auto industry to blame. The seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate in the U.S. fell 2% in June year on year. Being a three-month low, it subdued the demand for palladium in June and created a burden on its prices.

10/ Rubber: Prices bounce back

India’s rubber sector may be over a crisis.

The planter community in India had a good day when rubber prices increased to ₹143 to ₹130. The price increase is viewed as a positive trend of increasing production, and a sign that the rubber sector is passing through a crisis.

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