Sun, Feb 05, 2012 - Page 10 News List

Oil prices rise, commodities slide

AFP, LONDON

Commodities mostly fell this week as traders balanced the weaker US dollar and stalled Greek debt talks against ongoing Iran tensions and improving global economic data.

Some markets trimmed their losses after Friday’s upbeat non-farm payrolls (NFP) report in the US, a major consumer of many raw materials.

However, the US dollar rose on the better-than-expected report, which pushed many commodities lower. The stronger greenback makes US dollar-priced goods more expensive for buyers using weaker currencies and tends to hit demand.

Meanwhile, sentiment was clouded by uncertainty over the outcome over ongoing talks between Greece and its creditors on cutting its enormous debts.

OIL: Prices rose in London, boosted by simmering tensions in key crude producer Iran and healthy global manufacturing data, but slid in New York on the back of US demand concerns.

“The Brent/West Texas Intermediate spread has widened this week due to strengthening Brent prices, buoyed by strong manufacturing data and ongoing Iranian tensions,” analyst Tom Pering at energy consultancy Inenco said.

“Price hikes have been limited somewhat by the continuing and stalling Greek debt talks, which do not look set for a solution soon,” he added.

New York crude futures meanwhile dropped as US government data showed a slower pace of petroleum consumption.

By late Friday on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in March jumped to US$113.38 a barrel from US$111.30 the previous week.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) or light sweet crude for March slid to US$97.31 from US$99.89.

PRECIOUS METALS: Gold soared to a two-month high and other metals hit similar peaks on better-than-expected manufacturing figures in Asian powerhouse China and also in the eurozone.

Gold hit US$1,763.15 an ounce — which was the highest level since Dec. 2, but still below the record peak of US$1,921.15 that was struck on Sept. 6.

However, it tumbled to as low as US$1,733.35 on Friday after the latest NFP report.

By late Friday on the London Bullion Market, gold rose to US$1,764 an ounce from US$1,726 the previous week.

Silver gained to US$33.93 an ounce from US$33.48.

On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum increased to US$1,630 an ounce from US$1,608.

Palladium climbed to US$711 an ounce from US$684.

BASE METALS: Base or industrial metals finished lower.

By late Friday on the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months dropped to US$8,492 a tonne from US$8,577 the previous week.

COCOA: Prices fell as investors took profits, one week after the market had struck the highest levels since mid-November.

By Friday on LIFFE, London’s futures exchange, cocoa for delivery in March fell to £1,447 a tonne from £1,583 a week earlier.

In New York on the NYBOT-ICE, cocoa for March sank to US$2,232 a tonne from US$2,454.

COFFEE: Prices lost ground.

By Friday on LIFFE, Robusta for delivery in March dipped to US$1,826 a tonne from US$1,869 a week earlier.

On NYBOT-ICE, Arabica for March slid to US$0.215,95 a pound from US$0.218.6.

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