INTERNATIONAL COMEX NEWS
- Gold prices were little changed on Monday, hovering close to two-week lows as traders began to focus on this week’s Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting. Comex gold futures were steady at $1,311.9 a troy ounce by 09:00 a.m. ET (13:00 GMT), just off a two-week trough of $1,307.4 hit overnight. Later in the week, the Fed is widely expected to raise rates by a quarter point at the conclusion of its two-day policy meeting.
- Crude oil remained lower on Monday, pulling away from recent two-week highs as news of a rise in U.S. drilling added to concerns over output levels and overshadowed upbeat global demand projections. The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude April contract was down 21 cents or about 0.29% at $62.23 a barrel by 10:00 a.m. ET (14:00 GMT), after hitting a two-week peak of $62.54 on Friday.
- Natural gas futures started the week on the back foot on Monday, amid speculation the end of the winter heating season will bring warmer temperatures throughout the U.S. and cut into demand for the fuel. Front-month U.S. natural gas futures slumped 5.0 cents, or around 1.8%, to $2.646 per million British thermal units (btu) by 9:50AM ET (1350GMT). It reached its lowest since Feb.
- The European Central Bank and Bank of Japan are about three years behind the Federal Reserve in policy normalization as inflation in Europe and Japan will likely stay below their 2 percent target in the foreseeable future, Bank of America Merrill Lynch (NYSE:BAC) said on Monday. The ECB would not raise its policy rates until 2019, while the BOJ would only make modest adjustments in yield curve control and raise its policy rate until at least 2010, Bank of America Merrill’s global economist Ethan Harris wrote in a research note.
- The United States has raised concerns about the functioning of the World Trade Organization and asked for reforms, WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo said on Monday, as global trade tensions increased. Azevedo, who is attending a two-day informal meeting of about 50 WTO members in New Delhi, told reporters that the global trade environment was quite risky and the trade body had sought an “open and honest” conversation with its members.
- The Brexit transition deal agreed with the European Union will make little difference to business leaders as they need legal certainty and will continue to plan for a no deal scenario until they get it, said James Stewart, KPMG’s head of Brexit. “I’m glad to see that terms have been agreed on transition– but we should remember that this is a contract that’s been written but not signed,” Stewart said.