Li’s Fiscal Boost Fails to Spark Metals

Premier Li Keqiang delivered his speech to the National People’s Congress against a risk-averse backdrop of Beijing’s tightening grip on Hong Kong and increasingly testy relations with Washington. Li reported that China has dropped its numerical growth target — a move perceived as negative for metals like steel — but plans to boost fiscal support to the economy significantly, although it wasn’t clear how much of that will be commodities-intensive. Absent details, both copper and ferrous markets fell. Other highlights for resources markets included: * China to Speed Up Oil & Gas Pipeline, Reserve Construction * China to Support Electric Vehicles, Cleaner Energy in 2020: NPC * China to Build Response Plan to Ensure Food Security Amid Virus Otherwise, the final batches of April’s trade figures through Monday will be an opportunity to track China’s stuttering compliance on its purchases of American farm and energy goods. While both Li and the White House’s Larry Kudlow said the trade deal is intact, AgResource thinks there’s a risk the U.S. will terminate the agreement if a progress assessment in July falls short. The Chinese trade data is also likely to show pork and beef imports retreating from record levels as the coronavirus hit demand. Conversely, fuel exports should have plunged as domestic consumption began to revive over the month.   (Bloomberg)