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Commodity BulletinPolitics take over commodities market

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Trump, Xi and MBS
Following a two-year rise in prices, fully in line with the global economic expansion, with the strongest synchronised growth in years, politics now appear to be taking over. President Trump is introducing tariffs on steel and aluminium in the world's strongest economy. Xi Jinping will likely be president for the rest of his life, leaving him free to pursue his priorities in what is the world's largest producer and consumer of commodities. Meanwhile, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has outmanoeuvred his opponents in Riyadh and is ruling OPEC with an iron fist. If the economic climate drove commodities to this point, politics will have a greater influence moving forward.

China's decline deferred
Although the expectations of China's performance in 2018 have been low, the data has proved a pleasant surprise so far. There was uncertainty regarding the growth target since Xi has focused less on this lately. However, the growth target of "around 6.5%," remains in place, compared with the target of "around 6.5% or higher if possible" that was stated in 2017. The significance of the growth target has been played down, but the fact that it remains means that China will continue to steer its economy toward this target moving forward, probably until 2020, we believe.

OPEC gets a free ride due to Venezuela's collapse
Adherence to the agreement on production curbs by OPEC rose to 147% in February, the highest since the agreement was introduced in January 2017. The crisis in Venezuela is accelerating and reducing oil production so much that the oil market may approach a market balance deficit during the year. Venezuela is the reason that OPEC's adherence is nearly 50% higher than agreed. Even though we still think the oil price is on its way down, we raise our forecast for year-end 2018 from USD 50 to USD 55.

Disclaimer

Martin Jansson

Strategist

Commodities

nija03@handelsbanken.se

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