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Commoditized Wisdom: Report (Week Ending April 19, 2024)

Topic: Commodities
Publication Type: Market Commentaries
Commoditized Wisdom: Report (Week Ending April 19, 2024)

Key point

  • Energy prices were all lower.  Crude oil and gasoline prices fell 3%, heating oil prices lost 5% and gasoil prices dropped 6%.  Natural gas prices decreased 2%.
  • Grain prices were all lower as well. Wheat and corn prices decreased 1% and soybean prices fell 2%.
  • Spot gold and silver prices increased 2% and 3% respectively. Spot platinum prices fell 4%.
  • Base metal prices were all higher. Nickel and aluminum prices gained 9% and 7%, respectively. Copper prices rose 5% and lead prices increased 2%. Zinc prices rose 1%.
  • The Bloomberg Commodity Index increased 0.2, again with base and precious metals gains offset by energy and agricultural sector losses.
  • Decent inflows dominated by gold and crude oil ETPs. Silver ETPs offset a portion of the inflows, experience noticeable outflows.


A markedly lower week for stock markets with the Nasdaq Composite Index faring the worst, followed by the S&P 500 Index and with both of those indexes sharply underperforming the Dow Jones Industrial average.  Strong economic data (including much better-than-expected retail sales, sharply higher Philly Fed Mfg Index and continued low level of initial jobless claims) along with hawkish comments from Fed Chair Powell (basically promoting higher-rates-for-longer-than-expected) drove U.S. Treasury rates to 5-month highs and tech stocks, in particular, significantly lower. Iran-Israel tensions somewhat added to risk-off sentiment with markets reacting negatively on Friday to Israel’s overnight attack on Iran.   For the week, the S&P 500 Index fell 3.1% to 4,967.23, the Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 5.5% to 15,282.01, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was practically unchanged at 37,986.40, the 10-year U.S. Treasury rate rose 10bps to 4.62% and the U.S. dollar (as measured by the ICE U.S. Dollar index – DXY) strengthened 0.1%.

Increased expectations of higher-rates-for-longer, lessened Mideast-blowup concerns and growing U.S. oil inventories acted to push crude oil prices about 3% lower on the week.   Israel’s overnight attack on Iran initially pushed oil prices sharply higher Friday, but those gains were all but removed after the extent of the attack and Iran’s response became known.  Plans regarding U.S. oil sanctions on Iran also lent some support to prices.

Spot gold prices continued their move higher bolstered by Mideast-tension haven buying and despite diminished rate cut expectations.    Prices did retreat Wednesday in the aftermath of strong retail sales data and hawkish Fed Chair Powell comments but moved higher the remainder of the week as Mideast concerns flared.

Copper and other base metal prices moved sharply higher last week, buoyed by U.S. and UK sanctions on Russian metals (the sanctions prevent delivery of Russian metal to the LME), increased expectations of a copper deficit and signs of China economic growth.  Aluminum and nickel prices, directly affected by the U.S. and UK sanctions, increased the most, followed by copper prices.

Grain prices moved lower last week mainly on favorable weather forecasts and weakish export inspections.  Prices did move noticeably off Thursday’s lows, prompted primarily by short covering perhaps due to flaring Mideast tensions before the weekend.

Coming Up This Week

  • PMIs, Durable Goods, GDP and, most importantly, the PCE Price Index Friday.