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Commoditized Wisdom: Report (Week Ending March 8, 2024)

Topic: Commodities
Publication Type: Market Commentaries
Commoditized Wisdom: Report (Week Ending March 8, 2024)

Key points

  • Past PerformanceEnergy prices all fell between 2% and 3%.
  • Grain prices were mostly higher with Kansas City wheat and corn prices gaining 4% and soybean prices rising 3%. Chicago wheat prices fell 4%.  
  • Spot gold and silver prices rose 5%. Spot platinum prices increased 3% and spot palladium prices gained 7%.  
  • Except for aluminum, base metal prices were all higher. Zinc and lead prices increased 5% and 3%, respectively.  Copper and nickel prices rose 1% and 2%, respectively.   Aluminum prices fell 1%.
  • The Bloomberg Commodity Index increased 0.9%. Gains in the base and precious metals and grains sectors were only partially offset by losses in the energy sector.
  • Outflows from each ETP category but primarily from gold and silver ETPs


Past AUMAll 3 major stock indexes finished the week lower, pulling back from recent highs on no real news.  Uncertainty before  Fed Chair Powell’s testimony before Congress Wednesday and Thursday and Friday’s payroll report reduced risk-on appetite, pushing all 3 indexes at least 1% lower with tech stocks (excluding Nvidia) bearing the brunt of the downturn and as a result, the Nasdaq Composite Index as well.  Powell’s testimony Wednesday and Thursday in which he stated the Fed may soon be in a position to cut rates helped push longer-term Treasury rates lower and stock indexes higher.  Friday’s mixed payroll report, showing a larger-than-expected increase in jobs created but slower-than-expected wage growth and a higher-than-expected unemployment rate, ended up moving indexes lower to close the week lower.  For the week, the S&P 500 Index decreased 0.3% to 5,123.69, the Nasdaq Composite Index fell 1.2% to 16,085.11, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.9% to close at 38,723.15, the 10-year U.S. Treasury rate fell 10bp to 4.08% and the U.S. dollar (as measured by the ICE U.S. Dollar index – DXY) weakened 1.1%.

Oil prices moved lower last week, falling every day but Wednesday.  Increased China growth concerns, primarily due to lack of concrete stimulus measures combined with declining oil imports, greatly contributed to oil’s price decline.   Wednesday’s move higher followed a much greater-than-expected decline in distillate and gasoline inventories and dovish Fed Chair Powell testimony.    

Spot gold prices powered higher again last week driven by growing expectations of rate cuts as soon as June and by continued haven demand.    Prices rose every day last week, at first in expectation of favorable Fed Chair Powell testimony and then following Powell testimony that the Fed will likely be in a position to lower rates soon.  Friday’s employment report showing slowing wage growth and a higher unemployment rate also helped gold prices move higher. 

Base metal prices moved higher as well last week benefiting from better-than-expected China trade data and a noticeably weaker U.S. dollar.  Fed Chair Powell’s congressional testimony, affirming the possibility of rate cuts sooner than later, weakened the U.S. dollar and, as a result, boosted base metal prices.   Copper prices were also supported by falling inventory levels and zinc prices were buoyed by reduced South Korea smelter production.   

Grain prices, except for Chicago wheat prices, all moved higher last week.  Corn prices seemingly moved higher on no real news, perhaps buoyed by short covering.   Soybean prices benefited from better-than-expected exports and higher soybean oil and meal prices and wheat prices rose on decent export inspections and concerns regarding India crop production due to adverse weather forecasts/conditions.  Chicago wheat prices declined due to China’s continued cancelation of orders.

Coming Up This Week

  • Upcoming EventsBusy Friday but all eyes will be lifted toward Tuesday’s CPI release.