GLOBAL Commodities

Rubber market closes lower

THE Malaysian rubber market ended lower yesterday in tandem with the regional rubber futures markets due to investor concerns about the impact of the escalating Russia-Ukraine geopolitical crisis on the global economy. A dealer said further losses were, however, capped by gains in crude oil prices. The Malaysian Rubber Board’s (MRB) price for Standard Malaysian Rubber 20 (SMR20) was down by 12 sen to 732.5 sen a kg and latex in bulk decreased two sen to 711 sen per kg. At 5pm, MRB’s closing price for SMR20 stood at 753 sen per kg, while latex in bulk was at 713.5 sen per kg.

Commodities from metals to wheat rally

SINGAPORE • Commodities from aluminium to wheat and gold rallied in a jittery start to the week, as traders grappled with a fraught geopolitical environment and an array of supply risks triggered by war in Ukraine. Aluminium surged to a fresh record, while nickel rose and wheat advanced near its highest level in more than 13 years. Bullion —a haven in times of international tensions — climbed more than 2% before paring gains. The US and a sweep of European governments agreed to penalise Russia’s central bank and exclude others from the SWIFT messaging system that’s used for trillions of dollars worth of global transactions. While metals and agricultural commodities aren’t in the direct crosshairs of western policymakers, prices are surging as investors bet that the latest measures could snarl payments to suppliers, and prompt banks to further curtail financing for purchases of Russian goods. Aluminium rose 5% in London to go above US$3,500 (RM14,700) a tonne for the first time ever. Palladium climbed as much as 7.8%. Wheat futures in Chicago surged as much as 8.7% to $9.34 3/4 a bushel, while corn climbed 5% and soybeans rose 3.9%. Palm oil in Kuala Lumpur gained 6.4% at one point but remained below a record high. Iron ore exports from the region will be affected by any prolonged military campaign in Ukraine, Navigate Commodities MD Atilla Widnell wrote in a note. The steelmaking ingredient gained 3.4% in Singapore. Gold has outdone other haven assets including Treasuries, the yen and the Swiss franc in February with an advance of about 6%. Spot gold rose as much 2.2% to US$1,930.85 (RM8,110) an oz, before trading at US$1,899.83 by 3:28pm Singapore time yesterday. Silver and platinum were little changed.

European natural gas prices jump

DUBAI • European natural gas surged after another round of sanctions on Russia over the weekend fuelled concerned about energy shortages. Futures jumped as much as 36% yesterday as Western nations agreed to impose new penalties after the initial ones failed to persuade President Vladimir Putin to withdraw his forces from Ukraine. Europe relies on Russia for about a third of its gas, with many of those shipments flowing through pipelines crossing Ukraine. Any disruption to those flows could leave Europe freezing in the winter and curb the continent’s ability to produce enough electricity to meet demand, forcing energy intensive industries from metals smelters to fertiliser makers to slow or shut production. European gas prices climbed to €128 (RM601.60) a megawatt-hour (MWh), before trading 15% higher at €109 by 8:45am in Amsterdam yesterday. German power for next year, a European benchmark, gained as much as 13% to €165 a MWh.