The charts that matter: commodity prices pause for breath

Commodity prices took a breather this week. Here’s how the charts that reflect what matters most to the global economy reacted.

Welcome back.

This week, we dive into the vaccine wars, with Matthew Lynn explaining the harm they’ll do to everyone. On a related theme, Dr Mike Tubbs looks at the business of making scientific instruments and picks his favourite stocks in this essential sector. And Charlie Morris outlines the case for holding not just boring old-fashioned gold, but bitcoin too - the new “digital store of value” that’s exciting so many people.

A while ago, Merryn interviewed Charles Plowden of Baillie Gifford about how he invests. The webinar was shown live to registered users on Baillie Gifford’s site, but we’ve got hold of a copy of it and added it to the MoneyWeek site – if you didn’t see it at the time, take a look at it here. We’ve got more video goodness that you’ll definitely want to watch next week, too – so keep your eyes peeled.

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And this week’s “Too Embarrassed To Ask” video explores the concept of voting rights that come with (most) company shares. You can watch the video here.

And in the podcast, Merryn talks to Laura Destribats of Goldman Sachs Asset Management about investing in stocks that benefit from the behaviour and spending patterns of millennials. Have a listen to that here.

Here are the links for this week’s editions of Money Morning and other web stories you may have missed.

Now for the charts of the week.

The charts that matter

Gold continues to bide its time, treading water till inflation takes off and it comes into its own. (For more on that, see Charlie’s article in the latest issue of MoneyWeek).

Gold price chart

(Image credit: Gold price chart)

(Gold: three months)

The US dollar index (DXY – a measure of the strength of the dollar against a basket of the currencies of its major trading partners) shot up to its highest point of the year so far.

US dollar index chart

(Image credit: US dollar index chart)

(DXY: three months)

The Chinese yuan (or renminbi) saw little change, continuing to get slowly weaker against the US dollar (when the red line is falling, the yuan is strengthening).

USD/CNY currency chart

(Image credit: USD/CNY currency chart)

(Chinese yuan to the US dollar: since 25 Jun 2019)

The yield on the ten-year US government bond slipped back from its recent high, as investors fretted that the recovery won’t be quite as rapid as expected.

US Treasury bond yield chart

(Image credit: US Treasury bond yield chart)

(Ten-year US Treasury yield: three months)

The yield on the Japanese ten-year bond fell further, but regained a little ground at the end of the week.

Japanese government bond yield chart

(Image credit: Japanese government bond yield chart)

(Ten-year Japanese government bond yield: three months)

And the yield on the ten-year German Bund fell back, too, with lockdowns tightening up again across Europe.

German bund yield chart

(Image credit: German bund yield chart)

(Ten-year Bund yield: three months)

Copper’s consolidation phase turned into a drop.

Copper price chart

(Image credit: Copper price chart)

(Copper: nine months)

And the closely-related Aussie dollar took a big dive to its lowest point in three months.

AUD/USD currency chart

(Image credit: AUD/USD currency chart)

(Aussie dollar vs US dollar exchange rate: three months)

Cryptocurrency bitcoin sold off again. The start of a bigger fall or just another pause till it’s back into orbit?

Bitcoin price chart

(Image credit: Bitcoin price chart)

(Bitcoin: three months)

US weekly initial jobless claims slid by 97,000 to 684,000, compared to 781,000 last week (revised up from 770,000). The four-week moving average fell to 736,000, down 13,000 from 749,000 (which was revised up from 746.250) the week before.

US weekly jobless claims chart

(Image credit: US weekly jobless claims chart)

(US initial jobless claims, four-week moving average: since Jan 2020)

The oil price steadied – in a wobbly way – after its big fall the previous week. If the Suez Canal blockage doesn’t get shifted soon, though, who knows where it could go?

Brent crude oil price chart

(Image credit: Brent crude oil price chart)

(Brent crude oil: three months)

Amazon – along with the wider tech-heavy Nasdaq index – bounced, then thought better of it and slid back to where it was last week.

Amazon share price chart

(Image credit: Amazon share price chart)

(Amazon: three months)

Tesla’s bounce, however, was followed by a bigger dip. Could the electric carmaker’s bubble be bursting? Or is it, as one fund manager has it, just pausing on its way to $3,000?

Tesla share price chart

(Image credit: Tesla share price chart)

(Tesla: three months)

Have a great weekend.


Ben Judge

Ben studied modern languages at London University's Queen Mary College. After dabbling unhappily in local government finance for a while, he went to work for The Scotsman newspaper in Edinburgh. The launch of the paper's website,, in the early years of the dotcom craze, saw Ben move online to manage the Business and Motors channels before becoming deputy editor with responsibility for all aspects of online production for The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and the Edinburgh Evening News websites, along with the papers' Edinburgh Festivals website.

Ben joined MoneyWeek as website editor in 2008, just as the Great Financial Crisis was brewing. He has written extensively for the website and magazine, with a particular emphasis on alternative finance and fintech, including blockchain and bitcoin. As an early adopter of bitcoin, Ben bought when the price was under $200, but went on to spend it all on foolish fripperies.