Goldman Sachs has urged its clients to buy “oversold” commodities, arguing that investors are wrong to assume that a trade war between the U.S. and China will significantly dent demand for raw materials.
In a research note, reported on by Bloomberg and CNBC, the Wall Street lender took a different stance to many of its peers, predicting that the impact of sanctions between the U.S. and China on raw materials will be "very small.” Analysts at Goldman forecasted a 10% return on commodities over 12 months, driven in part by the depreciating U.S. dollar, strong global growth and depleting inventories, as well as by their conviction that only markets that cannot be rerouted globally to other consumers will be affected by tariffs due to be introduced July 6.
“Only markets that cannot be rerouted globally to other consumers will be impacted by the proposed July 6 tariffs,” the analysts wrote. “We believe that the trade war impact on commodity markets will be very small, with exception of soybeans where complete rerouting of supplies is not possible. This is consistent with our economists’ view that the macroeconomic impact of the trade war is likely to be very small.”
Fears that trade tariffs between the world’s two strongest economies will derail demand for raw materials saw the Bloomberg Commodity Index suffer its biggest monthly slump since mid-2016 in June. Copper and soybeans were among the biggest losers, while energy markets also took a hit after OPEC producers and Russia agreed to increase supply after crude prices rose. (See also: The World's Top 10 Economies.)
“Although commodities maintain their status as the best performing asset class in 2018, the month of June was a substantial setback driven by emerging-market demand weakness, trade war concerns and the exit of OPEC+ from supply cuts,” the bank said. “All of these concerns have been oversold. Even soybeans, the most exposed of all assets to trade wars, is now a buy.”
Last month, soybean futures fell to their lowest level in more than nine years after China, the biggest buyer of U.S. soybeans, threatened to introduce tariffs on the main feedstock for poultry and other livestock. Agriculture companies that export large amounts to China, like Bunge Ltd. (BG), have seen their shares fall out of favor with investors.
“In metals, we believe Chinese domestic concern over credit availability has been the primary driver of recent weakness, fueled by trade wars, and is set to reverse given recent policy shifts in China,” the note said. Last month China's central bank cut banks' reserve requirement.
Goldman’s latest bullish note on commodity markets came shortly after it published a report claiming that higher oil prices are here to stay. In that particular note, released at the end of June, the bank’s analysts identified Delek U.S. Holdings Inc. (DK), EOG Resources Inc. (EOG), Occidental Petroleum Corp. (OXY), Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (PXD), Suncor Energy Inc. (SU) and WPX Energy Inc. (WPX) as stocks worth buying. (See also: 6 Oil Stocks to Benefit From Higher Prices: Goldman.)
The majority of Wall Street brokerages don’t share Goldman’s optimism. Morgan Stanley last week warned that “escalating global trade tensions bring a risk of demand destruction across commodity markets," according to Bloomberg.