INTERNATIONAL COMEX NEWS
- Gold prices fell sharply amid dollar strength following a jobs report showing the US economy created more jobs than expected in January, while signs of wage growth lifted investor expectations for a faster pace of rate hikes. Gold futures for February delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange rose by $9.80, or 0.73%, to $1,337.80 a troy ounce. The Labor Department said Friday, U.S. non-farm payrolls rose by 200,000 jobs in January.
- Crude oil prices continued to decline on Monday, as rising U.S. production offset optimism surrounding global suppky cut efforts to drain the market of excess supplies. The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude March contract was down 78 cents or about 1.19% at $64.67 a barrel by 04:00 a.m. ET (08:00 GMT). Elsewhere, Brent oil for April delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London lost 91 cents or about 1.33% to $67.67 a barrel, the lowest since January 8.
- Natural gas futures started the week off in negative territory on Monday, after updated weather forecasting models showed that temperatures won’t be as cold as previously expected through both the upcoming six- to 10-day and eight – to 14-day periods. Front-month U.S. natural gas futures slumped 4.9 cents, or around 1.7%, to $2.796 per million British thermal units (btu) by 9:20AM ET (1420GMT).
- The federal government’s first partial shutdown of the year came to a close just 14 days ago. Already, another shutdown is bearing down on Congress. Because of the short-term nature of the funding agreement that ended the shutdown, lawmakers have only until the end of the day on February 8 to pass another bill to keep the government open. If the government enters into another shutdown, it would also be theshortest time between government shutterings since 1984.
- Jerome Powell takes over as chair of the Federal Reserve just asnew figures show earnings and inflation edging up. It’s good news that the recovery is helping wages to rise faster and bringing inflation closer to the Fed’s target of 2 percent — but as last week’s big drop in equity prices suggests, it also complicates Powell’s job. Though the central bank has been gently reducing its monetary stimulus in recent months, its policy is still very expansionary. Powell needs to prepare investors for a faster withdrawal of this support.
- Global institutional pension fund assets in the world’s 22 biggest markets hit a record $41.3 trillion in 2017, a study on Monday showed. Total assets grew $4.8 trillion over the year, the study by the Thinking Ahead Institute, a global notfor-profit member organization, and consultants Willis Towers Watson said, the largest yearly growth in dollar terms in the last 20 years.