Sun, Feb 06, 2011 - Page 5 News List

Oil price shoots past US$100; tin, copper hit highs

Bloomberg and AFP, LONDON

Brent crude surged above US$100 this week, while copper and tin futures struck record highs as a cocktail of violent unrest in Egypt and strong Chinese demand for raw materials fueled investor appetite.

Commodities were also bolstered by upbeat manufacturing data from Germany and the US that sparked hope of a strengthening global economic recovery. Sugar futures soared as cyclone Yasi bore down on Australia.

OIL: Prices stood above the key US$100 mark in London on Monday for the first time in more than two years and went on to surpass US$103 a barrel as the market was hit by concerns over the impact of Egypt unrest on global energy supplies.

Brent oil blazed a trail to US$103.37 on Thursday — reaching the highest level since Sept. 26, 2008. However, the market remains far below record highs of above US$147 that were hit in July 2008 on supply disruption fears.

Crude futures spiked higher on the back of violent protests in Egypt that have raised serious concerns about the security of energy supplies traveling via the Suez canal to the West.

While Egypt is not a major crude producer, the country is home to the Suez Canal, which carries about 2.4 million barrels daily, roughly equal to Iraq’s output.

By Friday afternoon on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in March leaped to US$101.60 a barrel from US$99.34 a week earlier.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, Texas light sweet crude for March delivery jumped to US$90.73 a barrel from US$88.75.

BASE METALS: Copper prices topped US$10,000 for the first time and went on to hit a record high US$10,100 a tonne on Friday on growing worldwide economic optimism and concerns about the impact of an Australian cyclone on stretched supplies.

Tin, meanwhile, struck an all-time peak of US$31,300 a tonne, driven by supply concerns in key producer Indonesia.

By late on Friday on the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months surged to US$10,060 a tonne from US$9,628 a week earlier.

PRECIOUS METALS: Gold prices rebounded, helped by unrest in Egypt, with the metal viewed as a safe-haven investment.

Gold had hit a record US$1,431.25 on Dec. 7, also boosted by its safe-haven status as investors fretted over the eurozone debt crisis.

By late on Friday on the London Bullion Market, gold grew to US$1,355 an ounce from US$1,334.50 a week earlier.

Silver rose to US$28.91 an ounce from US$26.68.

On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum climbed to US$1,838 an ounce from US$1,784.

Palladium gained to US$813 an ounce from US$806.

SUGAR: Sugar gained in New York on speculation that Thursday’s slump, the biggest in a month, was overdone given robust demand and tight global supplies.

Sugar tumbled 9.3 percent on Thursday as automatic sales by computer programs exaggerated a slide that started after concerns eased that Cyclone Yasi would damage crops in Australia. Prices have more than doubled since the end of May as adverse global weather slashed crops.

Raw sugar for March delivery rose US$0.006, or 1.9 percent, to settle at US$0.3264 a pound (0.45kg) at 2pm on ICE Futures US in New York. The price dropped 3.8 percent this week, largely on yesterday’s decline.

In London, refined-sugar futures for March delivery dropped US$19.80, or 2.4 percent, to US$794.40 per tonne on NYSE LIFFE. The price fell 2.5 percent for the week.

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