Markets have entered a new dimension in May. After the volatile fourth quarter, the markets calmed, and stocks regained all of their losses over the first four months of 2019. The price of crude oil also made an impressive comeback. After a decline from $76.90 on the nearby NYMEX futures contract in October to a low at $42.36 in late December, the price climbed back to the $66.60 level in late April.
The Fed canceled its interest rate hikes for 2019 earlier this year which helped fuel the rally in stocks, and optimism on a trade deal lifted the price of many industrial commodities. The price of copper, a bellwether market for the Chinese and global economies, rose to almost $3 per pound on the active month COMEX futures contract after falling to below $2.55 per pound, which was a new low, on the second day of trading in 2019. However, May has brought new turbulence to markets as the trade talks broke down and the dispute escalated with new tariffs and retaliatory measures by each side over the past week. The political temperature in the Middle East and Asia has risen over recent weeks, and fear of a risk-off period in markets has returned for investors.