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Commodities Overview: Oil, Gold and Nickel

09/03/2020 | 09:29am

Hurricane Laura disrupted U.S. crude oil supplies, pushing Saudi oil imports to their lowest level since 1985. The ounce of gold is less popular in recent sessions but is still attracting the favors of investors and central banks. Finally, good Chinese economic data is keeping the flame burning in the hard commodities segment.

American imports of Saudi crude oil are sinking. If the Saudi Kingdom tends to increase its supply and load more and more crude oil for export, the share allocated to the United States, on the other hand, has fallen to its lowest level since 1985 at 355,000 barrels. This is at least what can be concluded by examining US Customs data, compiled below by Javier Blas for Bloomberg. 

Be careful, however, not to over-interpret the data. Imports in August were disrupted by Hurricane Laura. As a result, some ships could not reach the ports that could accommodate super-tankers in Louisiana or Texas. In fact, all of this import volume arrived via the West Coast.

Just a dollar story? The strengthening of the greenback weighs on the precious metals compartment. The ounce of gold is thus moving away from the USD 2000 area to trade around USD 1930. No cause for alarm as the total holdings of gold-backed ETFs continue to grow according to TrackInsight data.

Central banks increased their holdings of gold metal during the month of July, with those of emerging countries such as Turkey at the top of the list.

Nice rebound in nickel. Good Chinese economic statistics invigorate base metal prices.  The price of nickel has exceeded its level at the beginning of the year and retraces its fall from last year. It has risen by nearly 40% since April 1, 2020 to USD 15,600 per metric ton.

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