Industrial and precious metals go their separate ways

4153Commodities have been generally flat this week as a rise in industrial metals was offset by losses across other sectors such as metals and grains. The energy sector was flat as natural gas and gasoline rose, while both crude oils were lower on the outlook for rising supplies. Precious metals suffered, but still managed to find support despite a near perfect storm of non-supportive news. A massive US crop continues to suppress grain and soybean prices as hedging activity from farmers and speculative selling from traders continue to weigh on prices.

The Bloomberg Commodity Index was unchanged, as a near 3% gain across the industrial metal sector help offset declines in both precious metals and agriculture commodities.

While commodities were mixed, the S&P 500 index rose to a new record high and the dollar reached its highest level against a basket of currencies since last September.

Platinum, which found support in the first half of the year on the back of a five-month mining strike in South Africa, the world’s biggest producer of the metal, has since been increasingly running out of steam. The spot price has been falling for the past 10 trading days, the longest stretch of losses since January 1987, according to Bloomberg.

Copper, along with aluminum and zinc, rose strongly despite mixed signals from the world’s two largest consumers: China and the US. Factory activity and house price developments in China disappointed, while activity across US factories expanded at the fastest pace in four years and three housing activity indicators all beat consensus estimates.

As a result, HG copper rose for the first time in four weeks after finding support at 3.10 USD/lb and it should now settle into a range with 3.30 USD/lb offering resistance.

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