While volume is drying up in most other markets, oil traders are getting new life. Another impressive run in oil as WTI (NYMEX:CLN14) hit a three month high as improving global economic data in China, Japan and U.S. economic data raised expectations for more energy demand against a backdrop of market rumors. Sinking supply in Cushing, Okla., is giving WTI a lift over Brent (NYMEX:SCN14).
RT News reported that Russia says NATO's actions are provocative and is taking measures to balance the shift in military power. "We can't take this military buildup by the alliance next to Russia's borders as anything but a demonstration of hostile intention. The deployment of extra NATO troops in Central and Eastern Europe, even on a rotational basis" is a violation of Russia's agreements with the alliance, Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov said Monday. "Of course we won't stand idly and watch the militarization of the countries in our neighborhood and will take all necessary political and military measures to ensure our security," the diplomat told Interfax.
Yet at the same time Ukraine say that progress is being made in peace talks with Russia. Reuters reported that Ukraine said on Monday it had reached a "mutual understanding" with Moscow on parts of a plan proposed by President Petro Poroshenko for ending violence in the east of the country. Kiev gave no details and Russia did not comment directly but two days of talks, following a brief encounter in France last week that broke the ice between Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin, have given momentum to peace moves. Maybe the war games were effective?
'Yet it is not helping on the natural gas talks. Dow Jones reported that Ukraine and Russia failed to reach a deal to end their long-running dispute over natural-gas prices during late-night talks Monday. So perhaps the possibility of a gas supply cut-off is another reason why oil prices are high. The market has anticipated a deal but at this point the talks go on.
Natural Gas (NYMEX:NGN14) is pulling back a bit as cool weather is weighing on sentiment. The big picture on gas supply is still bullish and it is one reason why natural gas is not breaking harder. Internationally the demand expectations for gas continue to rise. Dow Jones reports that the International Energy Agency says that China's natural gas demand is forecast to nearly double by 2019, offsetting slower growth in Europe and elsewhere, the International Energy Agency said Tuesday in its annual medium-term gas market report.
While the U.S. is delaying Keystone Canada is making other plans. Dow Jones report that Canadian Finance Minister Joe Oliver said failure to find new markets for the country's energy products would have stark economic consequences, signaling that the government is moving toward approving a contested pipeline to transport Alberta crude to the Pacific Coast. It seems that Canada is getting tired of waiting for President Obama.
Platinum hit the highest level since May 27 as strike talks are failing in South Africa. Reuters reports that wage talks between South Africa's AMCU union and major platinum producers were deadlocked on Monday, prompting the mining minister to abandon his mediation role and dashing hopes for an end to a strike that is pushing the economy towards recession.
The five-month strike has halted mines that normally account for 40 percent of global platinum output and has hit wider economic output in Africa's most advanced economy, driving it into contraction in the first quarter of this year. The meeting on Monday was crucial as the government had said it would pull out of its mediation role if a deal was not struck then - and, after the talks ended at an impasse, it duly announced that the mining minister would no longer take part in negotiations.
"No agreement was reached today," Joseph Mathunjwa, president of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), told reporters as he left the talks in Pretoria. "AMCU made many concessions. We actually moved twice to make employers move closer to us," he said, but added that the union did not compromise its demand for a 12,500 rand ($1,200) a month basic wage, which excludes allowances. About 70,000 AMCU members downed tools in January at mines run by the world's top three platinum producers - Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin - to demand that their basic wages be more than doubled to 12,500 rand ($1,200) a month.
Copper (COMEX:HGN14) is not impressed with China. Dow Jones reports that China's consumer-price index advanced 2.5% year-over-year in May after a 1.8% rise in April. The data points to an improving Chinese economy, but not quite good enough to blunt expectations of further stimulus measures. Since China is the world's top consumer of metals like copper, signs of economic growth there tend to be welcomed by metal traders.