What to watch in commodities as China adds to global demand fear

Commodities are heading for a difficult end to a yr of turmoil, with geopolitical tensions and global demand uncertainty set to buffet markets from oil to copper and crops by means of December.

China’s struggles with Covid-19 supply an across-the-board headwind that may probably linger into 2023. Crude is on the cusp of a 3rd weekly loss after plans for a value cap on Russian barrels stumbled, whereas fuel merchants will monitor Europe’s still-uncertain provide scenario as temperatures fall. Dim prognoses for the world economic system are stacking up.

In subsequent week’s diary, there’s China’s newest manufacturing facility exercise and America’s third-quarter GDP, plus one other public outing by Fed Chair Jerome Powell and the newest UN snapshot of meals prices. Finally, in new power, watch for a vital US commerce discovering on Chinese photo voltaic and the newest on lithium’s slide.

What Next?

November started with some investor optimism for China’s exit from strict virus controls. It ends with fear {that a} recent wave of restrictions will as soon as once more pummel commodity demand. Case counts throughout China are at document ranges and the capital is seeing some panic shopping for as residents fear lockdowns.


Traders will carefully monitor how authorities react throughout December, and the way key metrics like city visitors exercise, flight numbers and building exercise pan out. Manufacturing PMI figures due Wednesday also needs to affirm widening financial weak spot. “Recent price rallies in a number of commodities in reaction to the prospect of China’s reopening look to have run ahead of themselves,” Citigroup Inc. mentioned.

The Energy Squeeze

Europe’s power crunch seems to be like much less of a disaster than it did a number of months in the past however there’s quite a bit nonetheless at stake as winter deepens. First, oil merchants are ready for the ultimate particulars of a deliberate price-cap on Russian oil as negotiators wrestle with variations between member states.


Perhaps extra importantly, a broader EU power package deal together with fuel value caps additionally hangs in the steadiness. A choice on that was simply punted into mid-December. Meanwhile, peak cold-weather demand lies forward and temperatures are set to drop beneath seasonal norms subsequent week. That ought to once more ramp up demand, sharpen global competitors for fuel and set off extra volatility.

Counting the Cost

Global food costs probably held regular or eased slightly in November, even as they continue to be elevated traditionally. Supplies from recent crops in the Northern Hemisphere, and the renewal of the Black Sea export deal, have capped costs for now. Wheat futures have tumbled this month, and corn is down too. Still, merchants will preserve a cautious eye on the climate. Torrential rains and floods have already damage Australia’s wheat harvest, threatening to push up costs of bread and noodles.


Global inventories of grains and oilseeds are tight, and any extended dry spell in Brazil in coming months might scale back crop yields and trigger a scarcity. “All it takes is one really bad crop, let’s say in North America or South America, to really send prices higher,” mentioned David MacLennan, CEO of Cargill Inc., America’s largest personal firm. The UN’s meals index is due subsequent Friday.

Trade Tensions

The world’s largest photo voltaic producers can be watching the US carefully for developments that might reshape the business and exacerbate geopolitical tensions. The US Commerce Department is predicted to ship its preliminary findings inside the week on whether or not Chinese photo voltaic panel makers have circumvented 10-year-old tariffs by assembling gear in Southeast Asia.


If China is deemed to have skirted the principles, it might worsen commerce tensions between Washington and Beijing and enhance calls from American protectionists to scrap a moratorium on new tariffs. Meanwhile, a few of China’s photo voltaic producers are due to seem on the BNEF Summit in Shanghai.

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