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Commodities Decreased in July as Supply Concerns Ease

Commodities decreased in July, largely driven by changing supply fundamentals, according to Credit Suisse Asset Management.

The Bloomberg Commodity Index Total Return performance was negative for the month, with 15 out of 22 Index constituents posting losses.

Credit Suisse Asset Management observed the following:

  • Energy was the worst performing sector, down 10.69%, with all sector commodities posting losses. WTI Crude Oil declined the most amid increased US production expectations. Brent Crude Oil also decreased as global excess supplies persisted.
  • Livestock declined 9.25%, led lower by Lean Hogs, after the US Department of Agriculture revised their estimated 2016 pork production higher.
  • Agriculture ended 7.42% lower. Soybean Meal declined the most due to an improved production outlook. Losses were partially offset by gains in Cotton, which increased due to tighter supply projections and increased crop concerns.
  • Industrial Metals gained 3.17%, led by Nickel, amid strong Chinese demand and tightening supply conditions in the Philippines.
  • Precious Metals was the best performing sector, up 4.29%. Silver increased the most due to weaker-than-expected US economic data and after the US Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged. Economic uncertainty generated by the UK’s decision to exit the EU also continued to fuel safe haven demand.

Nelson Louie, Global Head of Commodities for Credit Suisse Asset Management, said: "Within Energy, previous supply shocks began to ease. As production outages come back online, it may take longer for demand to reduce excess global crude oil inventories. However, the threat to OPEC oil supplies is likely to persist as militant groups continue to target key oil infrastructure in Iraq and Libya, and other groups attack oil facilities in Nigeria. Domestically, increased US crude oil production pushed prices lower, which may encourage producers to tighten supplies and prevent capital expenditures from expanding too quickly. Producers may be slower to increase hedging and restart idled production with WTI Crude Oil in the USD 40 range, as compared to when it was priced in the USD 50 range."

Christopher Burton, Senior Portfolio Manager for the Credit Suisse Total Commodity Return Strategy, added: "Macroeconomic factors may also impact commodity returns. Along with the UK’s vote to leave the EU, the Bank of England is expected to further expand stimulus measures by cutting interest rates. Meanwhile, in the US, the Fed indicated that near-term risks to the economy had subsided in their July statement. However, they left interest rates unchanged, with the market expecting a rate increase only once more this year, if at all. With other major global central banks indicating their bias towards further easing, it may be less likely that the Fed will rush to raise interest rates. Amid increased uncertainty and potential geopolitical turmoil abroad, commodities may serve as a valuable diversification tool and help to reduce overall portfolio risk."

About the Credit Suisse Total Commodity Return Strategy

Credit Suisse's Total Commodity Return Strategy is managed by a team with over 29 years of experience, and seeks to outperform the return of a commodities index, such as the Bloomberg Commodity Index Total Return or the S&P GSCI Total Return Index, using both a quantitative and qualitative commodity research process. Commodity index total returns are achieved through:

  • Spot Return: price return on specified commodity futures contracts;
  • Roll Yield: impact due to migration of futures positions from near to far contracts; and
  • Collateral Yield: return earned on collateral for the futures.

As of July 31, 2016, the Team managed approximately USD 8.6 billion in assets globally.