Sentiment overshadows fundamentals… for now


Outside the energy sector, investor sentiment for commodities has softened on the back of concern over the global economic outlook and the volatility that has pervaded financial markets.

Volatility has been a ubiquitous force not only across asset classes, but across regions, as uncertainty over the health of the Chinese economy has lingered at the same time as fears of a Grexit has risen. Although policymakers have warned investors to expect protracted market volatility, stimulus in China, Japan, Europe and beyond is likely to keep demand conditions favourable for most commodities. With improving commodity fundamentals beginning to reassert, we expect that sentiment will rebound in coming months as stronger evidence of the global recovery begins to be witnessed.

Currency impact overshadows stronger El Niño threat for softs. Sharp moves in sugar have largely been currency related, offsetting any concern over reduced supply if the El Niño intensifies later in the year. Meanwhile good US growing conditions have kept any gains in check for grains.

Gold stable as tighter US policy overshadows Greece concerns. Gold outperformed other precious metals, remaining resilient despite the threat of rising US rates. Other metals in the sector were adversely impacted by evidence of softer demand.

Softer Chinese economic sentiment weighs on industrial metals. Despite broadly tighter fundamental conditions, deteriorating Chinese economic sentiment weighed on the industrial metals complex. We expect recovery in prices, as supply optimism begins to fade in the latter stages of 2015.

Energy sector buoyant as demand strengthens. Investors have cut bets of a near-term upside move in oil prices, despite rising demand. With oil supply remaining elevated on a global scale, the risk of a downside move in crude prices will increase if demand growth fades.

Martin Arnold – Global FX & Commodity Strategist – ETF Securities (UK)