Commodities Soar After FOMC Minutes

Global markets reacted to the strong words in the minutes from the FOMC supporting additional stimulus. The question seemed to be more when then what. Traders interpreted the minutes to mean that the stimulus would be at the upcoming meeting of the FOMC in Jackson Hole any later would be too late to help the economy before the holidays and the end of the year.

Commodities were the biggest winners yesterday, with gold surged above $1,660 per ounce for the first time since early May, breaking above its recent trading range as minutes from the US Federal Reserve convinced many bullion investors that another round of monetary stimulus is imminent. Gold holdingsĀ  of SPDR gold trust, the largest ETF backed by the precious metal, increased to 1,281.98 tons, as on August 22. Silver holdings of iShares silver trust, the largest ETF backed by the metal, declined to 9,784.63 tons, as on August 22.

The minutes from the July 31-August 1 meeting, which came just before a string of upbeat economic data, showed that central bankers were categorical in their dissatisfaction with the current economic outlook. Extra stimulus, most likely in the form of a third round of bond buying otherwise known as quantitative easing, amounts to the printing of more US dollars, thereby diluting its value.

Copper prices extended gains to fresh 1-month highs in after hour’s trade on Wednesday, after minutes of the most recent Federal Reserve policy meeting indicated the central bank was likely to further ease monetary policy “fairly soon” unless the economy improves. Refined Copper market was in production deficit of 21,000 tons in May 2012, as per release from International Copper Study Group (ICSG). However, after making seasonal adjustments the surplus was much higher at 42,000 tons. For the first 5-months of the year, refined Copper market was in deficit of 405,000 tons, compared to 98,000 tons during similar period last year, as per ICSG.

Oil prices rose (98.01) on indications that the Federal Reserve is likely to provide more stimuli while a sharp drop in US crude inventories countered concerns about Europe’s debt crisis. Crude oil inventories fell by 5.41mn barrels to 360.7mn barrels, Gasoline supplies shrank by 1mn barrels to 202.7mn barrels & Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, increased by 1mn barrels to 125.2mn barrels.

The center of Tropical Storm Isaac was approaching the Caribbean and expected to become a hurricane, lending support to oil futures because it could threaten U.S. energy production in the Gulf of Mexico.

Natural gas futures closed higher (2.846), as traders looked with anticipation at the potential for a tropical storm to disrupt energy production in the US Gulf of Mexico for the first time this season. Natural gas inventories are expected to increase by 33-35bn cubic feet, actual data will be released by EIA later in the day.

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