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Commodities decline on increased crop expectations for coffee and grains

MILAN – Commodities declined as favorable weather conditions supported the growing and harvesting stages of grains and softs, especially coffee. As a result, the Bloomberg Commodity Index Total Return decreased for the month, with 13 out of 23 constituents posting losses.

Credit Suisse Asset Management observed the following:

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  • Agricultural commodities declined 5.12%, led down by Coffee and Wheat, after beneficial weather conditions increased supply expectations.
  • Energy returned 0.13% for the month. Crude Oil and petroleum products rose after OPEC+ extended their production cut agreement while Natural Gas declined on reduced summer cooling needs.
  • Industrial Metals gained 1.41%, led higher by Nickel, after Indonesia announced plans to enforce a restriction on the export of raw unprocessed nickel ore in January 2022.
  • Precious Metals gained 2.35%, due to higher demand for Silver and Gold as global growth concerns and geopolitical risks increased.
  • Livestock was 2.85% higher, led up by Lean Hogs, after a decline in Chinese hog herd sizes and renewed trade negotiations raised prospects for higher US pork exports to China.

Nelson Louie, Global Head of Commodities for Credit Suisse Asset Management, said:

“While trade discussions between the US and China continued in July, the timing of a trade deal remains unclear. A prolonged negotiation process may be likely.

However, as the 2020 US presidential election approaches and economic indicators worsen in China, both sides may face further pressure to come to an agreement. In the Middle East, tensions remained high as oil tankers are facing difficulties navigating off of the coast of Iran.

Crude oil and petroleum product prices would likely go significantly higher should the odds of a military conflict increase. Meanwhile, the potential for supply shocks in the other sectors remains as well. Major flooding in the US Midwest in June may have affected the accuracy of data for planted acreage.

The August data release may provide answers, and notable differences in corn and soybean yield estimates may introduce significant volatility into these markets. In addition, Indonesia recently announced its commitment to ban unprocessed ore exports, beginning in January 2022, to encourage its own domestic refining capabilities.

The pace at which producers will be able to build processing facilities by the deadline remains in question. Delays in these smelting projects may restrict the production of nickel significantly.”

Christopher Burton, Senior Portfolio Manager for the Credit Suisse Total Commodity Return Strategy, added:

“Various central banks globally have already cut their key rates in July, with others seemingly planning to do so in future months. In the US, although jobs, consumer spending and manufacturing data remain mixed, the US Federal Reserve (Fed) cut the Federal Funds Rate for the first time since 2008 in an effort to help withstand heightened risks to global growth and in an attempt to target higher inflation. If headwinds to growth persist, the Fed may choose to implement additional rate cuts in 2019.

The European Central Bank also signaled its intention to cut rates at its September meeting and restart its bond purchasing program in an effort to support the Euro bloc, particularly as the likelihood of ”Brexit“ progressing became more likely after the election of a new UK Prime Minister.

China, meanwhile, may act to implement additional fiscal measures in order to attempt to meet its annual growth target, particularly as the country’s manufacturing PMI reading for June remained in contraction. The dovish sentiment of central banks globally reinforces their commitment to attempt to support growth and stabilize inflation at higher levels.”