Commodity prices diverged this week amid weak Chinese growth data, renewed eurozone debt worries, strong supplies of major raw materials and following poor US jobs figures.
Prices took a hit at the start of the week on delayed reaction to US jobs data published on Friday last week when London and US markets were closed for Easter.
They won some support mid-week on rising political tensions over Iran and North Korea, before retreating once more on Friday following weak Chinese growth data.
OIL: Prices fell as weaker Chinese growth, high US crude supplies and renewed worries surrounding the eurozone debt crisis helped to offset tensions over Iran, traders said.
“Oil looks set to fall to around [US]$115 a barrel over the next few weeks as a drop in demand and indications of an economic slowdown in China finally drive prices below [US]$120 a barrel for a sustained period,” said Tom Pering, an analyst at energy consultants Inenco. “Pointers include the continued building of US stockpiles and an indication that the Chinese economic machine may have started a slowdown.”
By late Friday on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in May dropped to US$121.28 a barrel from US$122.17 on Thursday of the previous week.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate, or light sweet crude, for May fell to US$103.01 from US$103.33.
PRECIOUS METALS: Gold prices rebounded after striking a three-month low point the previous week, helped by its status of a safe haven investment in times of economic turbulence.
By late Friday on the London Bullion Market, gold climbed to US$1,666.50 an ounce from US$1,631 on Thursday of the previous week.
Silver gained to US$32.36 an ounce from US$31.27.
On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum rose to US$1,600 an ounce from US$1,592.
Palladium advanced to US$643 an ounce from US$635.
BASE METALS: Prices diverged, with copper and aluminum falling and lead rising.
By late Friday on the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months slumped to US$8,040 a tonne from US$8,405 on Thursday of the previous week.
Three-month aluminum slipped to US$2,078 a tonne from US$2,094.
Three-month lead rose to US$2,062 a tonne from US$2,020.
Three-month tin fell to US$22,525 a tonne from US$22,750.
Three-month nickel grew to US$18,400 a tonne from US$18,219.
Three-month zinc climbed to US$2,008 a tonne from US$1,988.