Portfolio

Commodities: Brent tops $80 per barrel for the first time since 2014

By Alexander Bueso

Date: Thursday 17 May 2018

Commodities: Brent tops $80 per barrel for the first time since 2014

(Sharecast News) - Moves in the commodities space were muted on Thursday, despite the news headlines around oil after Brent crude futures topped the $80 per barrel mark for the first time since 2014.
By 2040 BST, the front month Brent contract was up by just 0.15% to $79.40 a barrel, paring an earlier rise to as high as $80.50.

Weighing on what many in markets term 'black gold' was the continuing rise in the Greenback with the US dollar spot index having also recovered from weakness overnight to edge higher by 0.09% to 93.4760.

The Bloomberg Commodity index meanwhile was up by 0.14% to 90.31.

In a sign of the social tensions that higher oil prices are capable of stoking, India's petroleum minister, Dharmendra Pradhan, reportedly aired his concerns about the impact of higher energy costs, prompting Saudi to reiterate its commitment to maintaining market stability.

Triggering Thursday's gains in Brent, overnight French oil major Total said it would be forced to stop development of phase 12 of Iran's giant South Pars field if the US administration did not grant it a specific waiver from sanctions for that specific project.

As an aside, analysts at Barclays Research bumped up their forecast for the price of oil in 2020 and beyond from $60 a barrel to $65.

Among metals, Capital Economics sounded a somewhat positive note on gold, telling clients that higher demand for inflation hedges and US dollar weakness "should prevent prices from falling much further this year".

June gold on COMEX was nevertheless slipping 0.17% lower to $1,289.40/oz..

Copper futures also found a bid, with the June COMEX contract up by 0.41% at $3.0830 a pound.

Among agriculture contracts, three-month cocoa futures were again on the back foot, with the July 2018 ICE cocoa down 3.33% at $2,639 per metric tonne.

Similarly-dated corn futures on CBoT were also lower, erasing 1.0% to $3.9525 per bushel.



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