Most commodities struggled this week, with many striking multi-month lows, as investors eyed the strong US dollar and the eurozone debt crisis that is plaguing Greece and threatening Spain, traders said.
At the same time, a slew of recent bleak data has sparked fears that China’s economy — a key consumer of many raw materials — is cooling faster than previously thought.
OIL: World oil prices fell sharply as the market was rattled once again by concern about the weak demand outlook arising from the eurozone crisis and the faltering US economy.
“The oil market continues to remain under pressure following the fragile economic conditions in the eurozone and the lack of oil demand from the United States,” Sucden analyst Myrto Sokou said.
Brent North Sea crude struck US$106.40 per barrel on Friday, touching the lowest point since Dec. 21 last year. New York’s light sweet crude sank to US$91.60 a barrel, hitting the lowest level since Nov. 3 last year.
Prices have fallen considerably after soaring on the back of Middle East tensions earlier this year.
By late Friday on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in July slumped to US$107.40 a barrel from US$112.46 for the June contract a week earlier.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate, or light sweet crude, for June tumbled to US$92.20 from US$96.75.
PRECIOUS METALS: Gold dived to a four-month trough at US$1,526.97 an ounce, but ended the week in positive territory as investors sought a safe-haven investment.
“Prices bounced across the complex [on Thursday], following the weak start to the week, as equity markets remained under pressure and uncertainty over Europe heightened,” Barclays Capital analysts said.
By late Friday on the London Bullion Market, gold had risen to US$1,589.50 an ounce from US$1,583 a week earlier.
Silver declined to US$28.48 an ounce from US$28.58.
On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum fell to US$1,456 an ounce from US$1,466.
Palladium was unchanged at US$605 an ounce.
BASE METALS: Prices mainly fell, with aluminum, copper and nickel hitting their lowest levels in more than four months amid the broader sell-off on global financial markets.
By late Friday on the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months dropped to US$7,716 a tonne from US$7,992 a week earlier.
Three-month aluminum rose to US$2,059 a tonne from US$2,038.
Three-month lead slipped to US$1,964 a tonne from US$2,065.
Three-month tin slid to US$19,332 a tonne from US$20,300.
Three-month nickel increased to US$17,153 a tonne from US$17,057.
Three-month zinc sank to US$1,915 a tonne from US$1,931.