(MT Newswires) – Crude oil ended Friday’s session higher, as supply issues continued to help boost prices. US sanctions against Iran and Venezuela have put pressure on global supplies, amid signs that Russia is chafing against the pact it made with the Organization for the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to cut global output by around 1.2 million barrels per day. Saudi Arabia, one of the leading member countries of OPEC, is said to be in the process of convincing Russia to remain with the pact. OPEC cancelled a meeting planned for April, which means that the organization’s supply cuts will last through at least June when the next meeting is scheduled. Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump has once again taken to Twitter to demand an increase in production from OPEC to keep prices lower. Back home, the Energy Information Administration reported that US stockpiles grew by 2.8 million barrels to 442.3 million barrels during the seven days ended March 22. The Street had been expecting a decrease of 1.0 million barrels. Late Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute said that crude inventories climbed by 1.9 million barrels last week, according to reports. Finally, energy services firm Baker Hughes (BHGE) reported Friday that the number of oil rigs operating in the US fell by eight to 816 in the week, edging closer to the lowest level since last April.
Light, sweet crude oil for May delivery rose 2.00% for the week, settling at $60.14 per barrel at the end of Friday’s session. In other energy futures, gasoline was down 0.27% for the week, settling at $1.88 per gallon on Friday. Natural gas fell 3.61% this week at $2.66 per 1 million British thermal unit.
The SummerHaven Dynamic Commodity Index Total Return Index (SDCITR) was 0.55% lower this week, compared with an increase of 0.20% in the previous week.
Gold wrapped up the Friday session with gains but failed to cement its grip on the $1,300 mark, instead settling at $1,298.50; for the week, the yellow metal fell 1.73%. Gold has recently benefitted from its safe-haven status amid worries over a slowdown in global economic growth. Lower bond yields have also pushed gold higher, but pressure on the bond markets has eased somewhat following positive developments in the US-China trade talks. The US 10-year bond yields rose to 2.42% intraday, rebounding from their lowest level in 16 months on Wednesday, after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin wrote in a Twitter message: “US Trade Representative and I concluded constructive trade talks in Beijing. I look forward to welcoming China’s Vice Premier Liu He to continue these important discussions in Washington next week.” Trade optimism also helped the equity market tide over downbeat data from the US Commerce Department, as the increase in US consumer spending in January missed expectations a day after it emerged that the pace of economic growth slowed in the fourth quarter. Data released on Friday also show incomes rose modestly in February, while savings dropped to $1.19 trillion last month from $1.22 trillion in January. Also benefitting from the upbeat trade news are industrial metals such as copper, which closed Friday’s session at $2.94 per pound, rising 2.91% for the week.
In agriculture commodities, grains ended the week lower following the release of the US Department of Agriculture’s report on Grain Stocks, as well as its report on Prospective Plantings: corn fell 5.81% in the week and settled at $3.57 per bushel in Friday’s session; wheat slipped 1.24% and settled at $4.58 per bushel at the end of Friday’s session; and soybeans were down 2.24% for the week, and closed Friday in the red at $8.84 per bushel.
According to the USDA Grain Stocks report for March 2019, corn stocks were down 3%; soybean stocks were up 29%, and all wheat stocks were up 6%. Meanwhile, the Prospective Plantings report showed that corn planted acreage for 2018 was down 2% year over year; soybean acreage was down 1%; and all wheat acreage was up 3%.
Other commodities were mixed: sugar had a weekly decline of 0.48% and settled at a price of $1.25 per pound on Friday; coffee was around $0.95 per pound at Friday’s close, up 0.53% for the week; and cocoa was up 5.88% for the week and closed Friday’s session at $2,280 per tonne.
The SummerHaven Dynamic Agriculture Index Total Return Index (SDAITR) was down 1.83% for the week, compared with the prior week’s increase of 0.94%.
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