INTERNATIONAL COMEX NEWS
- Crude oil prices continued to climb on Monday, as the market continued to recover from the previous week’s steep losses and investors turned their attention to the upcoming U.S. supply data. The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude March contract was up 81 cents or about 1.37% at $60.01 a barrel by 04:00 a.m. ET (08:00 GMT), off Friday’s one-and-a-half month low of $59.20.
- Natural gas futures started the week off in negative territory on Monday, falling to its lowest level in almost two years amid speculation the end of the winter heating season will bring warmer temperatures throughout the U.S. and cut into demand for the fuel. Front-month U.S. natural gas futures slumped 3.0 cents, or around 1.2%, to $2.554 per million British thermal units (btu) by 9:05AM ET (1405GMT).
- Gold prices pared gains on Monday, but the precious metal remained supported as sentiment on the greenback became more vulnerable ahead of this week’s highly-anticipated U.S. inflation data. Comex gold futures were up 0.42% at $1,321.1 a troy ounce by 08:15 a.m. ET (12:15 GMT), after climbing to $1,328.8 earlier in the day. Market participants were eyeing this week’s U.S. inflation data for further clues on how fast the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this year.
- President Donald Trump will unveil his second budget on Monday, seeking to make good on his promise to bolster military spending and requesting funds for infrastructure, construction of a wall along the border with Mexico and opioid treatment programs. The budget plan, which is viewed largely as suggestions by Congress, which has the constitutional authority to decide spending levels, will likely draw criticism from conservatives who worry that Republicans are embracing deficit spending.
- Saudi Arabia has ordered an inventory of all delayed payments to the private sector, state news agency SPA said on Monday, citing a royal decree. The decree urged a quick resolution of outstanding payments. It will also establish a committee headed by the trade and investment minister in charge of gathering data on payment delays to private sector contractors. The committee will look into reasons for the delays and come up with solutions for speedy repayment
- The European Union will have to cut spending in nearly all areas to deal with the gap that net contributor Britain leaves after its departure, Budget Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said on Monday. Britain’s exit in March next year will deprive Brussels of some 12 billion euros from an annual budget running around 140 billion euros. “Brexit will lead to a smaller budget. That is why we have to reduce spending moderately but notably at almost all our programs,” Oettinger told a news conference in Vienna.