Commodity Morning Call: Markets stable following conflicting Chinese data

Brent crude futures rose during Asian trading on Monday following the release of the official Chinese Purchasing Managers Index for March. Data showed manufacturing activity rose to the highest level in a year and significantly above forecasts. The data offered some assurance that Chinese economic growth is not suffering a ‘hard landing’ and that demand for crude in the second biggest consumer will remain relatively strong. However, as we discuss here a competing measure of Chinese manufacturing activity for March tells a different picture. Meanwhile hedge funds and other large speculators trimmed back bets on rising oil prices by 2.6% in the week ending 27 March, according to the latest CFTC Commitment of Traders Report.

Cotton futures were broadly unchanged. The chart below shows the markets reaction to the first the release of the HSBC China PMI and then the official PMI.

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