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Oil prices fall, but supply risks remain

In a week of relative financial market calm, there was a pause in the large, sentiment-driven swings that have characterised most commodity prices in recent weeks. Instead, prices seemed to take direction from more fundamental drivers. That said, the largest moves were to the downside. Fears about softer demand have weighed particularly heavily on oil prices. But, we would not place too much emphasis on one week of price moves. Volatility in commodity prices has been incredibly high in recent months, and given the scale of supply risks that remain, we suspect there is scope for oil prices to recover some ground. Next week, we’re expecting trade data from China to show that weakness in the construction sector kept imports depressed in July, which will probably weigh on industrial metals prices. However, we expect metals prices to receive some support from a pick-up in Chinese economic activity in the coming quarters. Indeed, despite the deteriorating market backdrop, we suspect that the sharpest falls in industrial metals and agricultural commodities are now behind us.

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