While gold and natural gas saw outflows last week, oil continued to attract investors’ interest ahead of the OPEC meeting on November 27. Investors appear to be split in their expectations for the meeting, with both long and short oil ETPs receiving inflows. Bargain hunting is clearly becoming a recurrent theme with the correction in commodity prices likely to trigger a supply response next year….
ETF Securities Research
Both long and short WTI crude see inflows as investors position themselves ahead of the OPEC meeting. The price of WTI crude is now trading close to US$74/bbl, the lowest level in 4 years. While OPEC has historically played a fundamental role in keeping oil prices well supported, prices were under pressure as OPEC members sold oil at a discount in order to increase market share in Asia and the US, despite the Saudi oil ministers’ assertions that a price war was not occurring. With the majority of OPEC countries estimated to require oil prices of above US$90/bbl to balance government budgets, it appear only a matter of time before OPEC announce output reductions and that could happen as early as November 27, when OPEC holds its next meeting.
Mild winter expectations drive US$11mn out of long natural gas ETPs. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts average to above average temperatures for the US 2014-15 winter season, with warmer weather in the West and in New England, and cooler temperatures in parts of the south-central and south-eastern regions. Higher levels of production combined with lower levels of consumption should result in a significantly lower drawdown of natural gas inventories this winter, in turn putting downward pressure on prices. The EIA expects Henry Hub spot price to average $4.00/MMBtu this winter compared with $4.52/MMBtu last winter.
Bargain hunters prompt largest inflows since March for ETFS Cotton (COTN) as the price falls to a 5-year low. Inflows amounted to US$5.7mn last week as prices dropped following the USDA raising its projections for cotton inventories in the US. Excess production and lower demand from China have increased expectations for inventories for the US, The world’s largest exporter. Abundant stockpiles have weighed on cotton prices this year, as production is forecasted to outpace consumption for the 5th straight year. With China offloading some of the inventories accumulated in recent years by way of its subsidy programme, we expect the outlook for cotton to remain bearish.
Gold ETPs remain under pressure as price falls below US$1,150oz. Outflows from long gold ETPs continued last week as prospects for global growth improved and inflationary risk remains low. The release of the World Gold Council’s Gold demand trends for Q3 last week showed feeble gold demand, with jewellery and coin/bar demand softening. Demand from India could also weaken, as the government might reintroduce some of the curbs on gold imports that were eased in May. While in the short term those discussions might prompt consumers to buy gold ahead of the restrictions being introduced, the higher premiums that could follow a potential tightening of restrictions will likely dampen demand going forward, reducing some of the support for the gold price in 2015.
Key events to watch this week. Investors will be closely monitoring the monetary policy releases from the US Fed, the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan to gauge the policymakers’ outlook for growth and how this will affect demand for commodities going into 2015. However, the results for the upcoming OPEC meeting and the Swiss gold referendum will be key for the precious metals and energy sectors performance at the back end of 2014.