Commodity prices mainly rose this week as traders tracked central bank efforts to steady the global economy, growing speculation over the recapitalization of European banks and upbeat US data.
The European Central Bank (ECB) unveiled plans on Thursday to boost liquidity in a move that eased eurozone debt crisis fears, while the Bank of England (BOE) announced it would pump another ￡275 billion (US$423 billion) into the struggling British economy.
However, late on Friday, investor sentiment was jarred by news that Fitch ratings agency downgraded sovereign credit ratings for Italy and Spain.
Markets were lifted earlier on Friday by a labor market report showing the US economy — a leading consumer of many raw materials — created more jobs than expected last month.
OIL: World oil prices rallied after the ECB announced measures to help cash-strapped banks in the eurozone under pressure from the eurozone debt crisis.
The market found further support on Friday when figures showed the US economy created a net 103,000 jobs last month.
“Oil prices are on track to show some significant gains,” PVM analyst David Hufton said.
However, sentiment remains extremely nervous amid uncertainty surrounding the outlook for global energy demand, analysts said.
“The economic outlook in Europe and US remains uncertain,” Victor Shum at energy consultancy Purvin and Gertz said.
By late Friday on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for delivery next month was higher at US$105.86 a barrel from US$103.12 a week earlier.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate or light sweet crude for next month, jumped to US$82.82 from US$80.65.
PRECIOUS METALS: Prices mostly rose, mirroring stock markets, amid talk of an overhaul of Europe’s troubled banking sector.
“Gold ... is proving highly volatile at present and is moving largely in line with the equity markets,” Commerzbank analysts said.
They said the metal rose “as fears of a recession eased and hopes emerged for recapitalization of the European banking sector.”
By late Friday on the London Bullion Market, gold rose to US$1,652 an ounce from US$1,620 the previous week.
Silver advanced to US$31.98 an ounce from US$30.45.
On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum increased to US$1,529 an ounce from US$1,511.
Palladium declined to US$609 an ounce from $614.
BASE METALS: Industrial metals aimed higher as traders seized on the upbeat US payrolls figures and central bank news leads.
“Base metals gained over the course of the week as a gradual [greater appetite for risk] filtered through in the wake of ECB and BOE action,” Credit Agricole CIB analyst Robin Bhar said.
Prices were also lifted by “more positive news flow on the eurozone sovereign debt crisis and the fact that policymakers are now talking about re-capitalizing European banks,” he said.
By late Friday on the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months rebounded to US$7,348 a tonne from US$7,070 the previous week.
Three-month aluminum firmed to US$2,230 a tonne from US$2,223.
Three-month lead dropped to US$1,963 a tonne from US$2,000.
Three-month tin climbed to US$22,925 a tonne from US$20,500.
Three-month zinc declined to US$1,905 a tonne from US$1,968.
Three-month nickel rose to US$19,030 a tonne from US$18,150.
COFFEE: Coffee prices hit fresh nine-month lows in both London and New York at the start of the week, before rebounding into positive territory.