The Keystone Gulf Coast pipeline continues to progress with Genscape reporting that Keystone Gulf Coast line fill has reached the Winnsboro pumping facility which is approximately half-way between Cushing, OK, and Port Arthur, TX. TransCanada was unavailable to confirm that crude has reached these points on the line. Keystone Gulf Coast line fill operations began on Saturday, Dec. 7 with commercial operations expected to begin Jan. 22, according to multiple sources.
Las year proved to be a mixed year for risk asset classes as shown in the EMI Investment Leader Board below. Silver (COMEX:SIH14) was the largest percentage loser on the board with the S&P showing the largest percentage gain for 2013 as a result of the massive quantitative easing program in the U.S. For all of the talk of the U.S. dollar completely falling out of bed as a result of all of the money printing by the U.S. Fed, the U.S. Dollar Index (NYBOT:DXH14) actually was marginally higher for the year while it remains the world's reserve currency and safe haven.
Gold ended the year with a huge loss for the first year after twelve yearly gains in a row as inflation in the developed world does not seem to be an issue. Gold declined by 28.26%. Silver also declined by 35.9%, while copper declined by 7.01%. Copper is an industrial metal that is highly dependent on the Chinese economy (to a lesser extent other emerging market economies). China and the rest of the emerging market economies grew modestly in 2013 but at a slower pace than what was originally projected.
After a year with a drought and the row crops gaining strongly in 2012, this year saw the opposite with a robust supply situation. All of the row crops declined on the year with Corn showing the largest percentage decline of 39.56%. Wheat declined by 22.2% with soybeans falling by 8.9%.
In the energy sector, oil put in a mixed performance in an uncertain year that was driven by strong supply gains in the U.S. but offset by ongoing international crude oil supply interruptions. In 2013 oil fundamentals played a modest role in setting prices. Since the beginning of the financial crisis back in 2008 oil supply, demand and inventory balances have continued to move toward a more normal pre-recession level. WTI and HO ended the year higher while Brent and RBOB declined last year.