US stocks advanced today after the focus shifted to the Fed once again. Jerome Powell stated the Fed's intention to lift off rates by 25bps in March, despite the Ukraine crisis clouding the outlook, as policymakers continue to tackle high inflation and tight labour market conditions; he has also stated that inflation is expected to peak and come down this year. US companies hired more people than forecast, up by 475,000 in February, as the labour market seemed to have rebounded from an omicron-driven slump in January. The dollar edged higher before falling back to 97.51, and the 10yr US Treasury yield rallied back to 1.83%. Elsewhere, Euro-zone inflation advanced to all-time highs of 5.8% in February, higher than expected; the Russian invasion in Ukraine is set to further trickle down to consumers in the near term as energy prices continue to rise. The ruble headed for the third consecutive decline despite Russia's efforts to shore up the local currency.
The base metal group continued their advance, and some metals surged to multi-year highs; supply-related anxieties continue to drive Russia's key metals further. Aluminium hit a fresh record high of $3,597/t as markets continued to digest the news in relation to sanctions against Russian companies; the metal closed at $3,569/t. Likewise, nickel tested the $26,500/t level, closing lower at $25,879/t; cash to 3-month spread tightened into $454/t. Copper followed a similar trajectory but softened to close at $10,166/t in the second half of the day. Only tin and lead were lower on the day, closing at $45,628/t and $2,400.50/t, respectively.
Oil futures skyrocketed once again, with the latest spike driven by the President's Biden signal that the country is open to restrictions on oil and gas imports. WTI and Brent jumped to $106.75/bl and $109.18/bl. Both silver and gold sold off to $25.01/oz and $1,919/oz, respectively.
For more in-depth analysis of base and precious metals, please see our Quarterly Metals report.
All price data is from 02.03.2022 as of 17:30