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US stocks softened today as the bond markets cooled following the Fed’s strong conviction to keep hiking rates. The 10yr US Treasury yield held its nerve, and the dollar strengthened. At the same time, markets remain watchful of continued rises in inflationary pressures, more recently spurred by increases in energy and commodity costs. Indeed, the UK saw a 6.2% y/y rise in consumer prices in February, the highest number in more than 30 years. Likewise, Euro area consumer confidence fell to early-pandemic levels in March, with high energy bills deterring consumer sentiment. Russian stock exchange said to reopen partially tomorrow, however, a ban on short positions will be in place, further adding to restrictions prohibiting foreign nationals from exiting their positions.

A strong day of gains on the LME today as the Russian energy crisis gave metals a boost. Nickel jumped in the first half of the day, quickly hitting the 15% limit to close at $32,380/t. Aluminium strengthened, breaching resistance of $3,600/t before closing at $3,653/t; cash to 3-month strengthened into -$8.50/t. Copper was also seen higher, edging up towards $10,438/t before a close of $10,438.50/t. Zinc jumped more than 5.5% to close at $4,100/t, the level not seen since the beginning of March. Lead closed higher at $2,370/t.

Oil futures strengthened, once again driven by the possibility of sanctions from the EU this week. However, Germany continues to halt the progress, dampening the probability of an oil embargo in the near future. In the meantime, Russia has demanded European nations to pay for oil imports in rubbles, as it aims to shore up the local currency, further escalating the energy conflict. WTI and Brent increased up to $114/bl and $120/bl. Gold and silver saw marginal gains today, up to $1,934/oz and $25/oz, respectively.

For more in-depth analysis of base and precious metals, please see our Quarterly Metals report.

All price data is from 23.03.2022 as of 17:30

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