EnergySpeculators maintained a relative low conviction rate regarding the short term direction of crude oil with the 4% rally during the reporting week only attracting 34k lots of net buying, thereby only part reversing the 57k lots that was net sold in the previous week. Selling of natural gas continued during the reporting week with the front month contract briefly dipping below $5/MMBtu. The result being another small increase in the net short held across four Henry Hub related futures and swap contracts to -86k lots, a 31-month high.
MetalsGold, trading unchanged on the week, nevertheless saw increased short selling in response to another and failed attempt to break below $1615 suppor. As a result the net short jumped by 61% to 33k lots, just 8k lots below the near four-year high reached a few weeks ago. Silver, together with platinum and copper all saw net buying, not least platinum which during the past month has seen its discount to gold narrow by 100 dollars to around 700, the narrowest spread since July 2021.
In grains, four weeks of net selling was almost reversed as buyers added soymeal and soy oil length amid price gains of 3.4% and 5.1% respectively. Together with additional buying of corn these more than offset continued selling of CBOT wheat driving the net short up by 63% to 36k lots, a 28-month high. The latest selling occurring during a week where global demand worries attracted more attention than a rapidly expanding drought situation across the US grain belt, and also before Russia over the weekend announced that they were pulling out of a deal that has allowed Ukrainian grain exports from Black Sea ports.
As a result wheat futures (ZWZ2) in Chicago surged as much as 7.7% to $8.93 on the Monday opening. Since the UN and Turkey supported grain corridor opened three months ago Ukraine has shipped more than 9 million tons of foodstuff and it has helped ease tight world supplies and control global food costs. Food exports from Ukraine also includes corn and sunflower oil and reduced supply of those has lifted corn futures (ZCZ2) in Chicago by 2.5% to trade near resistance at $7/bu and soybean oil futures by 1.8%.
Soft commodities witnessed another awful week with net selling hitting all four contracts, not least coffee and cotton, now down 33% and 45% respectively from their early 2022 peaks. The coffee net long was reduced by 75% to 3k lots, the lowest bullish conviction in almost two year primarily driven by an increase in the gross short position. A similar development was seen in cotton where global demand worries and another week of selling helped attract fresh short selling, resulting in the overall net long being cut by 40% to 13k lots, a 28-month low.