Commodity focus

The US energy department has predicted that natural gas production will continue to grow. Natural gas futures fell for five consecutive days on the New York Exchange and was headed for the biggest weekly drop in 17 years after a government report showed a US stockpile decline that was lower than forecasts. NYMEX natural gas prices crashed by a huge 31.60%, to $4.441/mmBtu on 27th February, from a high of $6.493 on 24th February. On the MCX, February futures crashed by 31.14%, from a high of Rs402.7/Mmbtu to a low of Rs277.3/mmBtu, over the same period.

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MCX price trends

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Commodity trends
Soybean
Soybean prices have rallied this year, amid signs of strong demand from China. Demand in the spot market improved over the week due to a rise in overseas soybean prices on concerns over emergence of El-Nino for the 2014 monsoon season. The Soybean Producers Association said that soybean production is to be lowered to 12.23mt (million tonnes) from 12.98mt earlier. The March soybean contract on the NCDEX closed 0.86% up, at Rs4,050.5/100kg on 27th February.
 
Copper
Copper prices have been under pressure on concerns about China’s economy and as China’s property prices cooled down. This has dampened demand for copper not only in the construction sector but in the home appliances sector as well. This affected prices internationally as China is the second in global copper demand, behind US. On 27th February, March futures prices on the MCX fell by 2.21%, to Rs442.55/kg from Rs453/kg on 19th February.
 
Gold
Gold prices continue to trade with a positive bias, as safe haven buying, due to Ukraine-Russia tensions, coupled with a weaker dollar, helped demand. However, expectations of the US Fed continuing to reduce its stimulus programme could dent gold’s appeal. Gold, in dollar terms, has gained nearly 7% in February 2014, to $1,330/ounce. Back home, movement of the rupee would play a major role.

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