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General news

  • The USD has surged to its highest level this year as the GBP and EUR have come under renewed pressure ahead of expectations of a rate increase and the prospect of early elections in Italy, respectively.

Agriculture

  • Chicago wheat futures have hit a one-week low on the back of an improvement in US winter crop ratings and abundant global supplies. The most active CBoT contract for front month delivery is currently trading at $5.10-1/2 a bushel.
  • The levels of certified Robusta coffee stocks have reached 3-and-a-half year lows following a wave of buying last week. Stocks currently stand at 76,790 tonnes, down nearly 37% since the start of the year. 

Metals

  • Last week Elon Musk announced that Tesla has managed to reduce the amount of cobalt in its batteries to the lowest of all its competitors. With battery demand accounting for as much as half as the world's total cobalt demand, and Tesla being responsible for 10% of the electric car market, many analysts are starting to believe lower cobalt demand is likely. 
  • Savannah Resources which is listed on AIM, the LSE's international market for smaller firms, has announced a 52% increase in the estimated amount of lithium at a mine in Portugal. The company has said that it now believes that there are 14m tonnes of mineral resources at the Mina do Barroso Lithium Project, which could make it the first European supplier of the lithium-containing mineral, spodumene.

Energy - UK 

  • The spell of warm weather experienced over the Bank Holiday weekend has resulted in subdued gas demand, weighing on NBP prices. North Sea outages and low continental storage levels remain bullish factors.

  • The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has referred the SSE-npower merger for an in depth review following an initial investigation, which flagged concerns over the fact that the deal could reduce competition and potentially result in higher energy prices for consumers.

  • It has been announced that EDF's Hunterston B nuclear power station, which last year produced enough electricity to power 1.8m homes, will remain offline following inspections that showed one of the reactor's core graphite bricks was developing cracks at a rate slightly higher than anticipated. 

Energy - International

Oil

  • As investors await Trump's decision on whether or not the US will withdraw from the international agreement which offers Iran some relief from sanctions contingent to Tehran dropping its nuclear weapons programme, oil prices reached new 4-year highs on Monday. Brent touched $75.89 with WTI at $70.46. The concern is that if Trump decides to withdraw from the agreement, Iranian oil exports could be hit.

Other

  • According to the latest numbers from Eurostat, EU carbon emissions, which account for around 80% of all of the EU's greenhouse gas emissions, were up 1.8% in 2017 compared to in 2016. 

  • The US Department of Energy has announced that as much as $78m of funding could be made available to bioenergy research and development projects.