Commodities-Oil, Steel Rally as U.S., China Hold Fire in Trade War

December 3rd, 2018


Category: Grains, Trade

( – Oil and steel prices surged on Monday, leading an across-the-board rally in commodities after the United States and China agreed a 90-day truce in their trade conflict, in a reprieve for the global economy and financial markets.

Metals and grains also climbed, with soybeans – a casualty of the U.S.-China trade war – hitting its highest in over five months as investors snapped up risky assets. Gold was steady.

The White House said on Saturday that U.S. President Donald Trump told Chinese President Xi Jinping during talks in Argentina that he would not boost tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25 percent on Jan. 1, as previously announced.

Beijing for its part agreed to buy an unspecified but “very substantial” amount of agricultural, energy, industrial and other products, the White House said in a statement. If no deal is reached within 90 days, both parties agreed that the 10 percent tariffs will be raised to 25 percent.

“The agreement to keep talking for 90 days during which tariffs are paused is an upside surprise,” U.S. bank Morgan Stanley said in a note to clients, but added that trade negotiations would be “bumpy”.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was up 5.2 percent at $53.59 a barrel by 0347 GMT and international benchmark Brent oil jumped 4.9 percent to $62.37 a barrel.

Crude oil has not been included in the list of hundreds of products each side has slapped with import tariffs, but traders said the positive sentiment of the truce was also driving crude markets.

Prices of Chinese rebar steel and iron ore surged by their exchange-set trading limits of 7 percent and 5.9 percent, respectively, recovering from last week’s selloff that had been fueled by worries over a steel glut in top consumer China.

U.S. soybean futures jumped as much as 3.2 percent to an early peak of $9.23-3/4 a bushel, before trimming gains to around 1.8 percent.

U.S. soybean exports to top buyer China have declined in recent months after Beijing raised tariffs on the most valuable U.S. agricultural export to the country amid the trade war between the world’s top economies.

London copper gained 2 percent while Shanghai zinc climbed nearly 4 percent.

Mizuho Bank said “the durability (of the market rally) remains to be seen as both sides (U.S. and China) have a short time frame to iron out a deal that involves many thorny issues.”

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