Sun, May 06, 2012 - Page 10 News List

Commodities hit by spreading global economic gloom


Most commodity prices sank this week as traders took their cue from weak global data, particularly after Friday’s disappointing payrolls report in the US.

Many commodity markets were somewhat subdued this week amid public holidays in parts of Asia, including China and Japan.

OIL: World oil prices nosedived on Friday, hitting three-month lows as a the weak payrolls report sparked fresh concern over energy demand in the world’s biggest crude consuming nation.

Brent North Sea crude tumbled as low as US$111.76 per barrel in afternoon trade, hitting the lowest point since Feb. 2. New York’s light sweet crude sank to US$97.83 a barrel, striking a level last seen on Feb. 10.

“There has been no let up in today’s crude sell-off,” GFT analyst David Morrison said.

“This afternoon’s dismal non-farm payroll report has added to fears that the US recovery has stalled. Investors are relying on further central bank intervention to help boost demand,” he said.

“But with six weeks until the next Federal Reserve meeting, the fear is that investors will head out of ‘risk assets’ until central banks indicate their willingness to loosen monetary policy further,” he said.

By late Friday on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for delivery next month fell to US$112.27 a barrel from US$119.20 a week earlier.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate or light sweet crude for June slid to US$98.25 from US$104.23.

PRECIOUS METALS: Prices fell across the board in quiet trading conditions.

“Physical demand for gold remains soft as ... China and Japan went on holiday for most of the week,” Barclays Capital analysts said.

By late Friday on the London Bullion Market, gold declined to US$1,643.75 an ounce from US$1,663.50 a week earlier.

Silver slid to US$29.90 an ounce from US$31.14.

On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum decreased to US$1,530 an ounce from US$1,573.

Palladium fell to US$663 an ounce from US$677.

BASE METALS: Prices also declined on mounting fears of an economic slowdown.

“Ongoing concerns about slowing EU, Chinese, and to a lesser extent, US growth, all weighed on the market,” analyst Ed Meir at brokerage INTL FCStone said.

By late Friday on the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months fell to US$8,173 a tonne from US$8,408 a week earlier.

Three-month aluminum declined to US$2,074 a tonne from US$2,106.

Three-month lead slid to US$2,089 a tonne from US$2,137.

Three-month tin declined to US$21,575 a tonne from US$22,451.

Three-month nickel dropped to US$17,456 a tonne from US$18,362.

Three-month zinc sank to US$1,991 a tonne from US$2,042.

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