American Express to Offer Amazon Co-Branded Credit Card for Small Businesses

10:50 AM, Jun 26, 2018 — American Express (AXP) is linking up with Amazon.com (AMZN) to offer a credit aimed at small business owners as part of a multi-year partnership between the firms.

The co-branded card will “enhance the way small businesses buy goods and services across Amazon,” the companies said in a statement on Tuesday. It follows a launch this year between American Express and Amazon for an “enhanced data solution that gives businesses in the US greater insight into their purchasing activity, as well as a continued global card acceptance relationship.”

Amazon has been sharpening its focus on corporate clients, offering special deals and services and expanding the availability of its Amazon Business e-commerce marketplace service to six countries as of February, according to its website.

“Amazon’s global product selection and selling services help small businesses think big and run efficiently,” Glenda McNeal, American Express’ president of enterprise strategic partnerships said in the statement. The companies will also use their “collective insights and expertise” to deliver value to customers who use Amazon’s services, McNeal said.

The credit card for small business will “combine the buying power, convenience and value small businesses have come to know and love from Amazon backed by the world-class service, benefits, access and security of American Express,” said Max Bardon, vice president at Amazon.

The “enhanced data solution” agreed on earlier this year allows businesses to get line-item detail on Amazon transactions, the companies said. It’s meant to bring better monitoring and control of Amazon Business purchases made with American Express corporate cards or corporate purchasing cards in the US. It also allows customers to “run more advanced analytics,” they said.

Price: 98.46 Price Change: -0.08 Percent Change: -0.08

Premium Financial News

USCF logo

Weekly Commodities ETF Report: Oil Surges Higher as OPEC Implements Limited Increase in Oil Production; Trade War Fears Continue to Plague Copper, Soybeans

(MT Newswires) – – Crude rallied higher despite some weakness earlier early last week, as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said it will try to increase global output by about 1% in coming months. The plan was adopted by OPEC’s 14 members, with Iran ending up agreeing to the plan hatched by its regional rival Saudi Arabia. The plan is set to be formally adopted Saturday in an OPEC meeting with non-OPEC countries in Vienna. Friday’s decision was taken in “the mutual interest of producing nations” and “the efficient, economic and secure supply to consumers,” OPEC said in a statement.

Over the last week, light, sweet crude oil for August delivery was up 7.90% and closed at $68.58 per barrel. In other energy futures, gasoline rose during the week, up 2.59% and settled at $2.05 per gallon at the close of Friday’s session. Meanwhile, natural gas fell 2.61% lower this week and was weaker in today’s session at $2.95 per 1 million British thermal unit.

The SummerHaven Dynamic Commodity Index Total Return Index (SDCITR) fell 0.05% last week, from a decline of 2.66% in the previous week.

Gold ended the Friday lower, settling at $1,270.70 to finish the week down 0.78%, weighed down by a stronger dollar. On Thursday, the yellow metal sank to six-month lows following Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s comments that “the case for continued gradual increases in the federal funds rate is strong.”  Overseas, the Bank of England decided to keep the key interest rate unchanged, in a split vote, and stood unanimous on quantitative easing. By Friday, IHS/Markit data signaled robust US economic growth for the second quarter. The IHS manufacturing index slipped to a seven-month low of 54.6 from 56.5. Any reading over 50 signals expansion. The flash PMI surveys add to evidence that the US economy is enjoying a strong second quarter. Despite growth cooling slightly in June, the latest numbers round off the best quarter for three years. Meanwhile, copper settled at $3.05 at the end of Friday’s session, and was down 3.41% for the week — near three week lows. Prices continued to be weighed by concerns over a possible trade war between the US and China, which could affect the demand for metals in China, the world’s largest metal consumer. These fears have been amplified by recent developments, after US President Donald Trump on Thursday directed US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to identify $200 billion worth of Chinese goods for additional tariffs at a rate of 10%; and on Friday, Trump said he would impose new tariffs on automobiles from the European Union unless the EU removes tariffs and trade barriers placed on the United States.

Agriculture commodities were also being pressured by these trade war jitters, with soybeans for the fourth straight week trading in the red, sinking to near 10-year lows. Soybeans were down 1.21%, closing at $9.16 per bushel on Friday. Among other grains, corn was down 1.63% in the week and settled at $3.78 per bushel in Friday’s session but the outlook for the corn crop has become favorable following wet and warm weather for the so-called US Corn Belt. Rains have soaked fields in South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa, with some areas suffering flooding. More storms are expected in the following week. Just last week, the US Department of Agriculture had given the corn crop and soybean crop their strongest ratings in recent decades: the US corn crop was given a 78% rating and the soybean crop, a 73% crop rating. Meanwhile, sugar had a weekly decline of 2.90% and settled at a price of $0.12 per ton on Friday; coffee was at $1.17 per pound at Friday’s close, with a weekly drop of 0.51%; and cocoa fell 0.44% for the week and closed Friday’s at $2,514.

The SummerHaven Dynamic Agriculture Index Total Return Index (SDAITR) fell 0.69% for the week, compared with a decline of 1.73% in the prior week.

 

Copyright © 2018 MT Newswires, www.mtnewswires.com.

Information Contact: Justin Hillstrom – 720.917.0770 Email: Justin.hillstrom@alpsinc.com, Website is www.uscfinvestments.com

Investing involves risks, including loss of principal.

Commodity ETP Disclosures:  Download a copy of a Fund’s Prospectus by clicking one of the following:
USCIUSAGUSOUSLUSOUDNOUSODBNOUNGUNL, UGAUHN, or CPER  

Please read any Prospectus carefully before investing.

These Funds are not mutual funds or any other type of Investment Company within the meaning of the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, and are not subject to regulation thereunder.

Commodity trading is highly speculative and involves a high degree of risk. Commodities and futures generally are volatile and are not suitable for all investors. Investing in commodity interests subject each Fund to the risks of its related industry. An investor may lose all or substantially all of an investment. These risks could result in large fluctuations in the price of a particular Fund’s respective shares. Funds that focus on a single sector generally experience greater volatility. Leveraged and inverse exchange-traded products pursue daily leveraged investment objectives which means they are riskier than alternatives which do not use leverage. They are not suitable for all investors and should be utilized only by investors who understand leverage risk and who actively manage their investments. For further discussion of these and additional risks associated with an investment in the Funds please read the respective Fund Prospectus before investing.

Please read the Prospectus carefully before investing.

Performance is historical and does not guarantee future results; current performance may be lower or higher. Investment returns/principal value will fluctuate so that an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Most recent performance is available at www.uscfinvestments.com.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

This information is intended for U.S. residents.

Funds distributed by ALPS Distributors, Inc. 

 

 

Get Live Briefs Pro

CarMax_Stock Image

CarMax Shares Jump to Record as Net Profit, Sales Top Prior Year Figures, Expectations

1:12 PM, Jun 22, 2018 — CarMax Inc (KMX) shares surged to a record after the company reported better-than-expected financial results on Friday.

The auto retailer reported fiscal first-quarter net profit of $1.33 a share, up from $1.13 share a year earlier and higher than the $1.21 consensus provided by Capital IQ. Net sales for the quarter ended May 31 were $4.79 billion, up from $4.54 billion reported for the same period last year, topping the $4.60 billion Street estimate.

Quarterly used vehicle sales rose 4.6% year-over-year to $4 billion. Wholesale vehicle sales jumped 12% to $617.7 million. Sales of extended protection plans gained 9% to $100.1 million, the company said. Used unit sales in comparable stores declined 2.3% while total used unit sales rose 1.6%.

“The comparable store sales performance primarily reflected lower store traffic, partially offset by improved conversion, as well as a tough comparison as we lapped our strongest prior year performance,” said Bill Nash, president and chief executive officer. “While our comparable store unit sales performance improved significantly from the February 2018 quarter, we believe macro pricing factors still had some effect on our first quarter sales.”

Shares were up 13% on Friday.

CarMax Auto Finance income increased 5.7% to $115.6 million, reflecting an 8.7% increase in averaged manageable receivables and a slightly lower interest margin. Loan loss provisions totaled $30.9 million, or 1.1% of average managed receivables, the company said. The allowance for loan losses as a percentage of ending managed receivables remained relatively stable at 1.13% as of May 31 compared with 1.18% a year earlier.

Gross profit increase almost 2% to $661.3 million, and used-car profit rose 1.7%. Profit per unit was steady at $2,215 versus $2,212 in the same quarter a year earlier. Wholesale vehicle gross profit increased 9.6% versus the prior year’s quarter, driven by a comparable increase in wholesale unit sales.

SG&A expenses, however, rose 8.6% to $438.2 million partly due to a 10% increase in store base since the start of last year’s first quarter, which represents an 18 additional stores, and an $8.9 million increase in stock-based compensation expenses.

“We also continued to update our technology platforms and support our core strategic initiatives as part of our focus on improving the customer experience,” the company said. SG&A costs per used unit was $2,209 in the current quarter, up $143 year-over-year, largely reflecting the deleverage associated with the decline in comparable store used unit sales. Stock-based compensation expenses increased SG&A per unit by $43.

CarMax said during the first quarter it opened three stores total in Dallas, Miami and Greenville, North Carolina. Subsequent to the end of the quarter, it opened its second store in Albuquerque.

Companies: CarMax Inc
Price: 80.28 Price Change: +9.23 Percent Change: +12.99

Get Live Briefs Pro

Wildfires_Stock Image

Pacific Gas & Electric to Take $2.5 Billion Charge Over California Fires as Losses May Go Higher

2:18 PM, Jun 21, 2018 — PG&E Corp. (PCG) and its Pacific Gas & Electric utility will record a $2.5 billion pre-tax charge for possible losses it may take related to wildfires in northern California last year, which fire investigators said were caused by power distribution, lines, conductors and poles that failed.

“PG&E Corporation and the Utility have determined that it is probable they will incur a loss for claims in connection with fourteen of the northern California wildfires,” the company said in a regulatory filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday.

That figure is in the lower end of the company’s reasonably estimated losses and could go higher, it said. “There are a number of unknown facts and legal considerations that may impact the amount of any potential liability, including the total scope and nature of claims that may be asserted against PG&E Corporation and the Utility,” it said.

CAL FIRE said the October 2017 “fire siege” burned at least 245,000 acres in the northern part of the state. Investigators said earlier this month that they are continuing to look into the causes of the other fires in both October and December.

A blaze that killed nine people in Mendocino county was caused by trees or parts of trees falling on PG&E lines, according to investigators. Another fire that left six dead in Napa country was also caused by tree or tree debris on lines, CAL FIRE said on June 8, although PG&E said the blaze known as the Atlas fire isn’t included in the amount outlined Thursday because it’s not probable that a loss will be incurred from that incident.

The charge also doesn’t include any potential fines that may be levied by government regulators, PG&E said. As of Monday, the company had received about 200 complaints on behalf of 2,700 plaintiffs related to the northern California wildfires, which have been coordinated in San Francisco’s superior court and is in the early stages of discovery.

Companies: Pacific Gas & Electric Co.
Price: 40.94 Price Change: +0.94 Percent Change: +2.35

Premium Financial News

UPS logo_Stock Image

United Parcel Service Expands Natural Gas Fleet With $130 Million Investment

12:12 PM, Jun 19, 2018 — United Parcel Service (UPS) will spend $130 million on natural gas-powered vehicles for its fleet and on building five new compressed natural gas, or CNG, fueling stations as it expands its investments into alternative fuel vehicles.

The spending will add more than 700 CNG vehicles including 400 semi-tractors and 330 terminal trucks, Atlanta-based UPS said in a statement on Tuesday. The delivery service company said that will build on investments of $90 million made last year and $100 million made in 2016 in CNG capacity.

“We strongly believe further investment in our natural gas fleet is a key element to help us achieve our long-term goals for reducing our CO2 emissions,” Carlton Rose, president of global fleet maintenance and engineering, said in a statement. “UPS is a catalyst for wide scale adoption of natural gas vehicles.”

UPS has invested more than $1 billion in alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles and fueling stations from 2008 through this year, and is the largest consumer of renewable natural gas in the transportation sector, the company said.

“RNG yields up to a 90% reduction in lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions when compared to conventional diesel,” UPS said. “The initiative will help UPS reach its 2020 goal of one in four new vehicles purchased being an alternative fuel or advanced technology vehicle.”

The five new CNG stations will be in Arizona, Kansas, Indiana and two in Texas. The semi-tractors will be supplied by Daimler AG’s Freightliner and PACCAR’s (PCAR) Kenworth, while the terminal trucks will come from Savannah, Georgia-based TICO.

Companies: United Parcel Service, Inc.
Price: 114.67 Price Change: -2.10 Percent Change: -1.80

Get Live Briefs Pro

USCF logo

Weekly Commodities ETF Report: Renewed Trade War Jitters Weigh on Precious Metals, Agricultural Commodities; Oil Slumps on Higher Crude Supplies

(MT Newswires) – – Crude ended in negative territory for the week, as the the possibility of a higher crude supply continued to rattle global markets. Next week, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will hold a meeting where heavyweights Russia and Saudi Arabia will probably signal an increase in production, ending a policy of curtailing output to remove excess supply. Saudi Arabia is looking at raising production by 500,000 to 1 million barrels per day (bpd) and Russia is mulling lifting it by as much as 1.5 million barrels a day, according to media reports. However, certain OPEC members such as Iran and Venezuela look to be resistant to the move, and so the increase may not be as much as Saudi Arabia and Russia want. In the US, Baker Hughes (BHGE) reported that the number of oil rigs operating in the US over a rolling seven-day period ending June 15 rose by one to 863, its highest level since March 13, 2015. The combined oil and gas rig count in the US fell by three to 1,059 as gas rigs slipped by four to 194. Expectations for the increase in crude supplies had been bolstered earlier in the week by the International Energy Agency (IEA), which revised up its estimate for 2018 non-OPEC production growth to 2 million bpd and a “bumper growth” of 1.7 million bpd in 2019. The US shows by far “the biggest gain” in output, about 75% of the total across 2018 and 2019, the IEA noted.

Over the last five days, light, sweet crude oil for July delivery was down 1.4% and closed at $65.06 per barrel. In other energy futures, gasoline fell during the week, down 4.42% and settled at $2.01 per gallon at the close of Friday’s session. Meanwhile, natural gas rose 3.89% higher this week and was higher in Friday’s session at $3.02 per 1 million British thermal unit.

The SummerHaven Dynamic Commodity Index Total Return Index (SDCITR) fell 2.66% this week, from an decline of 0.09% in the previous week.

Gold ended the Friday lower, settling at $1,278.50 to finish the week down 1.62%, and reversing mid-week gains as the dollar continued to rise amid rekindled trade war fears. President Donald Trump approved tariffs on about $50 billion of Chinese goods, as the US ratcheted up its trade fight with Beijing over China’s alleged pressure on US firms to transfer technology to Chinese partners. China is expected to retaliate with its own tariffs in return. Earlier in the week, the yellow metal held modest gains despite a much bigger-than-expected increase in US retail sales in the month of May. The Commerce Department said retail sales jumped by 0.8% in May after climbing by an upwardly revised 0.4% in April. That will likely result in US GDP above 4% in the second quarter. The Federal Reserve said this week that it intends to raise interest rates twice more in 2018 in order to prevent the economy from overheating. Copper, meanwhile, settled at $3.14 at the end of Friday’s session, and was down 5.08% for the week — the biggest weekly drop since April. Throughout the week the markets have been grappling with concerns over the slowing of growth, particularly in China, which is the top metals buyer. The new round of US tariffs on Chinese goods could put more pressure on China’s economy. This is coupled with China’s weaker-than-expected industrial output, investment and retail sales for May.

Agriculture commodities ended the week mostly lower: sugar had a weekly decline of 1.36% and settled at a price of $0.12 per ton on Friday; coffee was at $1.15 per pound at Friday’s close, with a weekly drop of 1.58%; and cocoa rose 3.71% for the week and closed Friday’s at $2,519. Among grains, corn was down 3.46% in the week and settled at $3.82 per bushel in Friday’s session; and wheat was down 4.86% for the week and settled at $5.13 per bushel at the end of Friday’s session. Soybeans took another weekly tumble, down 6.11%, closing at $9.31 per bushel on Friday as most traders saw the fresh round of tariffs on Chinese goods as largely negative for the soybean market. China could impose its own tariffs, particularly on agricultural products like soybeans and beef. Previously, China had threatened to impose a 25% tariff on American soybean imports.

The SummerHaven Dynamic Agriculture Index Total Return Index (SDAITR) fell 1.73% for the week, compared with a decline of 1.84% in the prior week.

Copyright © 2018 MT Newswires, www.mtnewswires.com.

Information Contact: Justin Hillstrom – 720.917.0770 Email: Justin.hillstrom@alpsinc.com, Website is www.uscfinvestments.com

Investing involves risks, including loss of principal.

Commodity ETP Disclosures:  Download a copy of a Fund’s Prospectus by clicking one of the following:
USCIUSAGUSOUSLUSOUDNOUSODBNOUNGUNL, UGAUHN, or CPER

Please read any Prospectus carefully before investing.

These Funds are not mutual funds or any other type of Investment Company within the meaning of the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, and are not subject to regulation thereunder.

Commodity trading is highly speculative and involves a high degree of risk. Commodities and futures generally are volatile and are not suitable for all investors. Investing in commodity interests subject each Fund to the risks of its related industry. An investor may lose all or substantially all of an investment. These risks could result in large fluctuations in the price of a particular Fund’s respective shares. Funds that focus on a single sector generally experience greater volatility. Leveraged and inverse exchange-traded products pursue daily leveraged investment objectives which means they are riskier than alternatives which do not use leverage. They are not suitable for all investors and should be utilized only by investors who understand leverage risk and who actively manage their investments. For further discussion of these and additional risks associated with an investment in the Funds please read the respective Fund Prospectus before investing.

Please read the Prospectus carefully before investing.

Performance is historical and does not guarantee future results; current performance may be lower or higher. Investment returns/principal value will fluctuate so that an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Most recent performance is available at www.uscfinvestments.com.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

This information is intended for U.S. residents.

Funds distributed by ALPS Distributors, Inc. 

US FED

Powell Looks to Separate Himself From Yellen, Stresses `Practical’ Approach to Interest Rate Hikes

9:35 AM, Jun 14, 2018 — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, in a generally soothing news conference on Wednesday, stressed his “practical” approach to rate hikes, keeping pace with a strengthening economy while being careful not to do too much.

The chair confirmed that he will indeed begin holding a news conference after every Federal Open Market Committee meeting to an unprecedented amount of Fed guidance to the markets beginning in January — and making clear the Fed is moving past the Janet Yellen era with a new chairman in place.

“That will give us more opportunities to explain our actions and answer questions,” he said.

The latest dot-plot projections, which Powell said will continue to be updated only quarterly, pegged median growth up 0.3 points to 2.8% this year, 2.4% next year and just 2% in 2020, less than the at least 3% projected by the Trump administration steadily through the next three years.

Yet Powell, on that question as well as on whatever is the neutral rate of unemployment, suggested he is willing to let future data resolve any discrepancy rather than being concerned about forecasts for which precision is impossible.

The Powell Fed remains “grounded in the data,” he said, with a lean toward “practical” policy, perhaps in contrast to any more rigid academic theory. His answers to questions were notably free of economic jargon. The view of Fed officials implied that when this year is ended, there will have been four rate hikes, or one more per quarter.

Powell said the labor participation rate, having moved hardly at all, is actually sending a positive signal, since the retirement of Baby Boomers and other factors would be expected to show it declining.

“We expect the job market to remain strong,” he said.

The FOMC’s policy statement repeated “the stance of monetary policy remains accommodative” and Powell acknowledged that at some point that language will have to be dropped. That question, of when, is another that at this point is unanswerable, he suggested.

“In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 1.75 to 2 percent,” the policy statement said. “The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, thereby supporting strong labor market conditions and a sustained return to 2 percent inflation.”

The dot plot suggested the unemployment rate at the end of this year will be 3.6%. a bit lower than was seen previously, he said. Inflation has moved close to the 2% target and Powell reaffirmed that the Fed not overreact if it slips above that mark for a time.

“We do not want to declare victory” on inflation, he said, until it can be shown that a 2% rate can be sustained, and at the same time the Fed would continue to be concerned if inflation persistently ran above or below the target. Higher oil prices, he said, will alone likely be enough to take inflation above 2% in the months ahead but nevertheless is a temporary influence with little lasting effect on the long-term.

The FOMC statement no longer said the federal funds rate is expected to remain accommodative for some time, something Powell said was to be expected as short-term rates approach whatever is the neutral interest rate.

“We expect to make further gradual increases in that rate,” he said.

The natural rate of unemployment, he said, moves very slowly with “wide bands of uncertainty.” On wages, he said it’s a “bit of a puzzle” as to why wages have not had a more positive reaction to the growing scarcity of labor.

The FOMC did not alter its announced program to shrink its balance sheet but it did what Powell termed a “minor technical adjustment” in its rate of interest on excess reserves, again, as expected, setting it five basis points below the Fed funds ceiling.

Powell, answering questions, said he is not overly concerned about being close to the “zero bound,” where the policy rate is zero, now that the fed funds rate tops out at 2%, and that risks are roughly balanced. In fact, Powell reflected few concerns about policy or the economy, other than non-financial corporate bonds, where leverage, he said, is above historical averages. The fact the yield curve is flattening, rather than being a warning sign, is what is to be expected when the Fed is raising rates, he said.

Staying with Yellen’s trajectory on rate hikes, Powell said, has borne fruit, but future data will determine whether that trajectory needs to change. Asked how the Fed is dealing as a regulator with the marijuana legalization by many states while banks are still constrained by the federal prohibition Powell said he wished Congress would resolve the legal confusion.

Asked if the Fed has a view of the Trump administration’s turbulent trade policy, Powell said he is not inclined to comment other than to say he would rate it another risk factor.

Get Live Briefs Pro

Microsoft_Stock Image

Microsoft Unveils Office Apps Revamp With Simplified Ribbon, Search Functions

11:12 AM, Jun 13, 2018 — Microsoft (MSFT) is revamping its Office applications, which the company said is the world’s most-used productivity product, after it gathered feedback from users to guide design changes that it’s touting as a “balance of power and simplicity.”

Business and consumer customers will start getting the refreshed design of the software beginning from Wednesday, Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft said. The technology giant also said it’s conducted a survey within the product to “ascertain how features make people feel.”

“Through gathering feedback from thousands of people, we’ve found that people react most positively to feeling in control, productive and secure,” Trish Miner, Microsoft’s principal design researcher, said in a statement. The Office suite includes Word for documents, PowerPoint for presentations, Excel for spreadsheets and Outlook for email.

Initial changes including new icons and colors meant to modernize Office and make it “more inclusive and accessible,” Microsoft said. The revamp is offering a simplified version of the ribbon set of toolbars, and the search function will bring up suggestions when a user just places their cursor in the search box.

“Customers will benefit from a more simplified experience while maintaining the full power of Office and a design ethos that is more inclusive — empowering everyone to create, communicate and collaborate,” Microsoft said.

In a blog post, Microsoft said the updates will be deployed to select customers in stages and will be moved into production “only after they’ve made it through rigorous rounds of validation and refinement.”

Companies: Microsoft Corporation
Price: 101.56 Price Change: +0.25 Percent Change: +0.24

Get Live Briefs Pro

USCF logo

Weekly Commodities ETF Report: Oil Slips Lower on Higher US Output, Possible Venezuela, Iran Production Cuts; Gold Sees Weekly Gain on Trade War Jitters Ahead of G7 Summit

(MT Newswires) – -Crude ended in negative territory for the week, with the weakness in oil prices as traders mulled signs that the US again inched closer to becoming the world’s largest oil producer; this, however, was counterbalanced by risks to the global output from geopolitical worries in Iran and cuts in Venezuela. Data from energy services firm Baker Hughes (BHGE) showed the number of oil rigs operating in the US over a rolling seven-day period ending June 8 rose by one to 862, its highest level since March 13, 2015. Earlier in the week, the EIA reported that domestic supplies of natural gas rose by 92 billion cubic feet for the week ended June 1. The increase was in line with average expectations of analysts surveyed by S&P Global Platts. Total stocks now stand at 1.817 trillion cubic feet, down 799 billion cubic feet from a year ago, and 512 billion below the five-year average. Meanwhile, oil prices have been undermined by the continuing economic crisis in Venezuela, which has forced cuts to the beleaguered country’s oil production. Additionally, the US plans to reinstate sanctions against Iran, the third-biggest producer in the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which also is likely to hit crude production and exports.

Over the last five days, light, sweet crude oil for July delivery was down 0.12% and closed at $65.74 per barrel. In other energy futures, gasoline fell during the week, down 0.09% and settled at $2.12 per gallon at the close of Friday’s session. Meanwhile, natural gas fell 2.68% lower this week and was down in Friday’s session at $2.89 per 1 million British thermal unit.

The SummerHaven Dynamic Commodity Index Total Return Index (SDCITR) fell 0.09% this week, from an increase of 0.45% in the previous week.

Gold ended the Friday session higher, settling at $1,302.70 to finish the week 0.40% higher, benefiting from its safe haven appeal, and equities floundered as tensions flared between long-time allies ahead of the G7 summit in Canada.  President Donald Trump sent out a series of provocative tweets aimed at France and Canada in retaliation to their support of excluding the US from a joint G7 statement. Earlier in the week, gold had seen some modest gains as the  dollar weakened versus the euro, amid hopes that Italy’s coalition government can get the nation’s economy into high gear. Meanwhile, copper was up at Friday’s session, settling at $3.30, and was 6.63% higher in the last five days. The surge in prices was sparked by concerns over the labor talks at BHP Billiton’s Escondida mine in Chile, which have remained unresolved, and consequently raised fears that mine output, which contributes to about 5% of global copper supply, could be affected.

Agriculture commodities ended the week mostly lower: sugar had a weekly decline of 2.16% and settled at a price of $0.12 per ton on Friday; coffee was at $1.23 per pound at Friday’s close, with a weekly drop of 4.44%; and cocoa fell 3.42% for the week and closed Friday’s at $2,393. Among grains, corn was down 3.52% in the week and settled at $3.78 per bushel in Friday’s session; and wheat was up 0.05% for the week and settled at $5.20 per bushel at the end of Friday’s session. Soybeans had a weekly decline of 5.37%, closing at $9.69 per bushel on Friday. This weekly decline is the biggest since August 2017 amid expectations for a bumper crop in North America, following forecasts for beneficial rains in the US Midwest.

The SummerHaven Dynamic Agriculture Index Total Return Index (SDAITR) fell 1.84% for the week, compared with an increase of 3.13% in the prior week.

 

Copyright © 2018 MT Newswires, www.mtnewswires.com.

Information Contact: Justin Hillstrom – 720.917.0770 Email: Justin.hillstrom@alpsinc.com, Website is www.uscfinvestments.com

Investing involves risks, including loss of principal.

Commodity ETP Disclosures:  Download a copy of a Fund’s Prospectus by clicking one of the following:
USCIUSAGUSOUSLUSOUDNOUSODBNOUNGUNL, UGAUHN, or CPER  

Please read any Prospectus carefully before investing.

These Funds are not mutual funds or any other type of Investment Company within the meaning of the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, and are not subject to regulation thereunder.

Commodity trading is highly speculative and involves a high degree of risk. Commodities and futures generally are volatile and are not suitable for all investors. Investing in commodity interests subject each Fund to the risks of its related industry. An investor may lose all or substantially all of an investment. These risks could result in large fluctuations in the price of a particular Fund’s respective shares. Funds that focus on a single sector generally experience greater volatility. Leveraged and inverse exchange-traded products pursue daily leveraged investment objectives which means they are riskier than alternatives which do not use leverage. They are not suitable for all investors and should be utilized only by investors who understand leverage risk and who actively manage their investments. For further discussion of these and additional risks associated with an investment in the Funds please read the respective Fund Prospectus before investing.

Please read the Prospectus carefully before investing.

Performance is historical and does not guarantee future results; current performance may be lower or higher. Investment returns/principal value will fluctuate so that an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Most recent performance is available at www.uscfinvestments.com.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

This information is intended for U.S. residents.

Funds distributed by ALPS Distributors, Inc. 

North Korea & USA Flag_Stock Images

Summit With US May Open North Korea Economy That’s Already Seeing Seeds of Growth

9:49 AM, Jun 5, 2018 — A June 12 summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore is seen as a calculated gamble that could end almost seven decades of hostility that started with the Korean War in June 1950.

If successful, the summit could transform economics on the Korean Peninsula.

Some business-minded North Koreans already have ties to Singapore, however, where the iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel fronts the dazzling Gardens on the Bay on land reclaimed from the sea.

Singapore citizen Geoffrey See, who studied at Wharton School — as did Trump — created the Choson Exchange in 2007, which has grown into a program that brings North Korean entrepreneurs to the wealthy city-state for “mini-MBAs” and holds practical business workshops on business planning in the hermit kingdom. The program also takes business owners on field trips to Malaysia and Vietnam.

See’s associate program manager Ian Bennett told MT Newswires that thousands of policymakers, entrepreneurs and business managers in North Korea eager to understand the mysteries of balance sheets, networking, business law and economics.

“We see huge entrepreneurial spirit in North Korea right out in the open,” Bennett said in a telephone call from his home base in London. “The days of hiding goods for sale under a blanket gone. The gray economy is very big now.”

The country faces UN-backed economic sanctions on imports and exports as well as financial transactions. The sanctions are effective in limiting trade in some areas, but arms shipments and commodities are still moved, Bennett said.

Banking and money transfers too are surprisingly easy and “quicker than Western Union” under a system of transfers where a call from North Korea to money changers worldwide gets cash to places from New York to Seoul, he said.

“It’s still largely a cash system dollars, euro and North Korean won and Chinese yuan – but it has efficiencies,” he said.

That’s a bit different than the picture painted in the CIA World Factbook that says North Korea’s economy had an estimated gross domestic product of $28 billion in 2013 for its 25 million citizens who have a per-capita income of $1,700.

“Since 2002, the government has allowed semi-private markets to begin selling a wider range of goods, allowing North Koreans to partially make up for diminished public distribution system rations,” the Factbook says. “It also implemented changes in the management process of communal farms in an effort to boost agricultural output.”

By contrast the 51 million people in South Korea have a $1.5 trillion GDP and a per-capita income of $39,400, making it a member of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development.

“There is a lot that needs to be fixed in North Korea, but economic sanctions and other controls have also sparked local products like electricity surge protectors that are surprisingly robust,” Bennett said. “There are a surprising number of such companies as there are mobile phones, point-of-sales transactions and technology despite a largely cash society.”

Initial public offerings on the Kospi, Hang Seng or the Shanghai Composite may be some ways off. But plenty of property and services firms in China, Singapore, Seoul and Hong Kong would rush to North Korea for planned cities with Shenzhen-listed Vanke and Singapore’s City Development regularly on the hunt for such mega projects in developing Asia.

Bennett said much of the infrastructure in North Korea is linked to the Japanese occupation of the Korean Peninsula in World War II. One way the country is trying to grow is by state-backed plans such as theWonsan-Kalma beach resort that’s now under construction “to make our people enjoy the highest civilization at the highest level,” Kim was quoted as saying by state-run news agency KCNA.

For his part, Trump said it’ll take work to make North Korea great again.

“North Korea has a chance to be a great country and it can’t be a country under these circumstances they are living right now,” he said in May. “I think they should seize the opportunity. His country would be very rich.”

Richard Koo, chief economist at the Nomura Research Institute in Singapore, however, said there’s skepticism about trusting the authoritarian regime in North Korea. Started by Kim Jong Un’s grandfather, Kim Il-Sung, and handed to son Kim Jong-Il under a cult of personality, North Korea operates an economic order known as juche (self-reliance). It is regularly cited for systemic human rights abuses, including the kidnapping of Japanese citizens and the death of US student Otto Warmbier.

But Koo said the grandson could be attempting to change the economic dynamic for the country in profound ways, which makes this summit particularly important, especially any perceived shift to influence by the US and regional players like Singapore.

“It really is high stakes,” Koo said in an interview. “China is certainly concerned about how far the younger Kim will go in talks with Trump. This could be an unprecedented diplomatic event.”

Still, China has its own aces in its Belt and Road Initiative to re-open the legendary Silk Road trading routes in greater Asia and its main backing of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank — a companion of sorts to the Japanese-backed Asian Development Bank for big regional development projects.

“China could bring a lot of money to bear on any major redevelopment of North Korea, taking the heat of South Korea to foot a costly aid effort that the US would be reluctant to spend too much on,” Bennett said. “More than a few companies in Asia, and elsewhere, would like to see that happen.”

Get Live Briefs Pro