Commodities

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Timing is everything, in a week where Australia's balance of trade was a surprise deficit and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions moved to dismantle American Medical Marijuana, Australia moved to become the world's biggest supplier.

Commodities for the most part came to the fore in 2017 led by palladium, rebar, lumber, base metals and oil. The worst performers were orange juice, sugar and natural gas. 

Bitcoin is now available on the two largest American futures exchanges, the CBOE and the CME. It has been a volatile week as Bitcoin slides 25% lower heading into Christmas. We take a look at the pros and cons of the two contracts.

Following Goldman Sachs bullish call for higher oil Goldman ramped up it's bullish call for commodities prices in 2018 in a note to clients late Monday. It seems $GS is all in on China growth.

Electric Vehicle excitment and changing China regulatons have seen nickel soar in 2017 with prices up about 30 percent since mid-June. At LME week the industrial metal has all the buzz as battery makers are using more nickel in electric vehicle's power sources.

Industrial metals have been on a tear in 2017 and the London Metal Exchange has taken the start of LME week Monday to announce that it is planning to launch futures contracts for the battery metals Lithium and Cobalt as early as the start of 2019.

Australian mining giant BHP Billiton posted quarterly production guidance with higher copper output helping offset lower iron ore volumes out of the Pilbara and lower petroleum production from Hurricane Harvey. $BHP has maintained full-year production guidance for all its commodities despite softer quarterly numbers. 

Copper prices soared on Monday after weekend data from China to the highest level since August 2014. The move was also fueled by position taking ahead of China's 19th Communist Party Congress this week.

Australian beef and cattle exports fell in 2016/17 as a 16% reduction in cattle slaughter impacted export volumes Rural Bank's 2016/17 Australian Agriculture Trade Performance report showed. Beef exports to the US declined -39%, the most out of Australia's major markets.

Australia’s agri-food exports increased in value for the seventh consecutive year in 2016/17, the top five destinations accounting for 48.2% of the value. The largest growth market in 2016/17 was India with China still the main destination.

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