Weekly Recap of the Metals, Energy, Grains, Meats, and Softs Markets
Gold fell 8.3-percent on the week with Friday marking the seventh consecutive lower close. Golds appeal as a flight to safety or as a hedge against future inflationary pressure from liquidity injections could not support gold from massive fund liquidations.
December copper settled the week nearly unchanged at $2.1795 a pound. Concerns over the slowdown in the global economy have sent copper 40-percent lower in the past few months. Inventories stored in London Metal Exchange warehouses fell 575 metric tons Friday, at 211,450 short tons.
The latest U.S. consumer confidence data showed the largest monthly decline on record in October and construction starts on new homes fell to a 17 1/2-year low in September.
December silver fell 83 cents on the week, settling at $9.335 an ounce, January platinum finished the week $78.25 lower at $881 an ounce, and December palladium fell $18.5 $174.50 an ounce.
Crude oil fell over $4 on the week, with the December contract settling $4.05 lower at $73.99 a barrel. Rising inventories of crude oil are increasing concerns that the slowing global economy will continue to eat away at demand.
U.S. crude oil inventories rose by 5.6 million barrels to 308.2 million barrels in the week to Oct. 10, the Energy Information Administration reported. Domestic refiners were up by 91,000 barrels per day at 14.12 million bpd, EIA said. Domestic refinery utilization rose 1.3-percent to 82.2-percent of capacity last week.
OPEC, which controls an estimated 40-percent of the world's oil supply, called a special meeting for next Friday in Vienna, Austria to discuss the recent collapse in energy prices.
Analysts are expecting OPEC to cut production by as much as 1 million barrels a day in an attempt to stop the slide in prices, in addition to the already 500,000 barrel per day cut announced last month.
Qatar's oil minister said Thursday that he expects OPEC to cut its output by no less than 1 million barrels a day during the upcoming meeting.
December heating oil settled the week 14 cents lower at $2.16 a gallon, December RBOB gasoline fell 22 cents to settle at $1.65 a gallon, and December natural gas settled the week 17 cents higher at $7.076
Grain futures were whipsawed by the schizophrenic equity markets. Concerns that prolonged weakness in the global economy will lead to further demand destruction had grain traders watching the equity markets for clues.
On the fundamental side, export sales of soybeans and corn were stronger than analysts were expecting. There was a pickup in demand from overseas as prices fell to yearly lows. Export sales of wheat were a little softer, coming in at the lower end of forecasts.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported corn export sales for the week ended Oct. 9 were 975,200 metric tons, 2-percent higher than the prior week. Increases from Japan, Mexico, and Egypt were noted for beating analysts forecasts from between 550,000 to 900,000 metric tons. December corn settled the week 14 1/2 cents lower at $4.03 a bushel.
Weekly U.S. export sales of wheat for the week ended Oct. 9, came in at 435,600 tons, 17-percent lower than the previous week. Wheat exports were at the low end of estimates, which ranged from 400,000 to 600,000 metric tons. December wheat finished the week 15 cents lower at $5.66 1/4 per bushel.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported total weekly soybean export sales for the week ended Oct. 9 were 1.028 million metric tons, 71-percent higher than last week. Analysts had forecast sales between 500,000 and 800,000 metric tons. November soybeans fell 37 cents on the week at $8.94 a bushel.
Orange juice gained 8-percent on the week, with the November contract settling 6.6 cents higher at 83.55 cents a pound. Short covering, bargain hunting, and Fridays option expiration after falling to a multi-year low early in the week was noted for the gain.
Cotton gained over 4-percent this week, with the December contract settling 2.27 cents higher at 52.57 cents a pound. Stronger than anticipated export sales were noted for the gain. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported total weekly exports rose 48-percent to 398,169 bales in the week ended Oct. 9.
December coffee settled the week nearly unchanged at 1.1560 cent a pound, March sugar gained 10 points to settle the week at 11.11.58 cents a pound, and December cocoa settled $153 lower at $2122 a metric ton.
Cattle settled the week mixed with December Live cattle settling less than 1 cent lower at 92.55 cents a pound. Concerns that cash strapped consumers will rotate into cheaper proteins has sent cattle futures 12-percent lower over the past 2-months. November feeder cattle settled the week 1/2 a cent higher at 98.65 cents a pound.
Wholesale choice beef fell to the lowest price since April 11, sliding 1.12 cents, or 0.8-percent, to $1.4449 a pound, USDA data show. Wholesale prices are down 12-percent over the past two months.
Hog futures closed the week mixed, with December lean hogs falling 4 1/2 cents at 56.30 cents a pound. Fund liquidation continues to weigh on prices. February pork bellies gained 3.325 cents on the week, settling 87.575 cents a pound.