With President Donald Trump now into his second year in office, several key commodity prices were 5% stronger on average through the end of February, compared with on January 19, 2017, the day before his inauguration.
Eight of the 11 commodity benchmark, running-average prices being tracked by S&P Global Platts since Trump took the oath of office were up, led by Chicago gasoline (+11.8%) and jet fuel (+8.9%).
Dated Brent crude’s running average during the Trump era was $56.14/b for the January 20, 2017 through February 28, 2018 period, compared with $53.31/b on January 19 a year ago, an increase of 5.3%. New York Harbor fuel oil’s running average was $49.04/b for the same period, up 4.3% from the January 19, 2017 mark of $47.03.
But the running average prices of natural gas (-6.5%), thermal coal (-5.9%) and global iron ore (-11.1%) remain lower than on President Barack Obama’s last day on the job.
Among key metals benchmarks, gold (+6.4%) and aluminum (+5.3%) lead the way, charting higher running averages through the end of February from Trump’s first day on the job.
For steel, US-made hot-rolled coil was only averaging 1% higher ($636.10/st) for the period, but this was before a 25% tariff on US imports of steel was announced, and then signed on March 8 by the president. In recent days, since March 1, this same benchmark steel price has averaged $823.61/st, nearly $188/st above the 13-month running average.
Platts has been monitoring this group of 11 price benchmarks and comparing them in Trump’s term to date versus Obama’s eight years in office — although fundamentals and a range of other factors influence commodity prices.
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