SM Commodities Index - October

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
14 November 2018

Overview: low stock heralds costly winter gas

Natural gas, corn and sugar show biggest rise in prices, while cotton falls almost 4% on previous month

US natural gas markets have finally caught up to the reality of heading into this winter with a start-of-winter inventory that will be the lowest since 2005.

In the face of a glaring Gulf Coast inventory deficit, cash and futures prices of Henry Hub gas rose to firmly above $3/MMBtu, as market participants seek to ensure storage deliverability through the winter, according to IHS Markit. 

Iron ore prices also gained 3.7% in October, based on supply disruptions and demand surge. A train derailment in Australia severely curtailed BHP Billiton shipments, and at the same time, China relaxed its cuts to steel production, pushing up demand.

Sugar prices rose again, with Brazil sugar supply remaining constrained. Rains hampered harvesting and many mills are finishing for the season, and global sugar supply estimates for the 2018/19 season from October to September are being revised lower in the market.

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