Most commodity prices fell this week as demand concerns picked up due to ongoing monetary policy tightening by major central banks. Speaking to the US Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell underlined his “strong commitment” to bringing current multi-decade high inflation back to target. A notable exception to this trend, however, was a rise in natural gas prices in Europe and Asia owing to fears that Russia could potentially further cut gas supply to Europe. If demand concerns intensify, further falls in commodity prices could be in store. However, we don’t think there is a great deal of room for prices to fall in the near term for a couple of reasons. First, energy prices will remain historically high due to supply constraints, putting a floor under other commodity prices. Second, stocks of many commodities, particularly industrial metals, are low, which will further underpin prices. And finally, China’s economy should recover somewhat in the second half of this year. Looking ahead, G7 leaders begin a three-day meeting on Sunday, during which they will discuss sanctions against Russia and how to support the long-term reconstruction of Ukraine. Any new sanctions coming out of that meeting could affect commodity prices. Data-wise, the EIA should get back to releasing weekly oil inventory data next Wednesday, after missing this week’s release due to technical reasons.
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