Sun, Jun 03, 2012 - Page 10 News List

Commodities mostly slump as economic storm clouds gather


Most global commodity prices tumbled this week amid a bloodbath on markets as traders fled to safety in the face of poor economic data and eurozone debt crisis developments that now threaten Spain.

The European single currency on Friday sank to US$1.2288, touching a low last seen on July 1, 2010, as investors reacted to poor US non-farm payrolls data and sought safety in the US dollar amid the ongoing eurozone debt tensions.

The rallying greenback makes US dollar-priced commodities more expensive for buyers using weaker currencies. That tends to push demand, and prices, lower.

OIL: Brent oil prices nosedived under US$98 on Friday for the first time in almost 16 months, hit by poor US non-farm payrolls data, the strong dollar, weak Chinese manufacturing figures and eurozone debt tensions.

Brent North Sea crude slumped to US$97.70 per barrel — the lowest level since Feb. 8 last year. New York’s West Texas Intermediate (WTI) dived to US$82.56 a barrel, which was last seen on Oct. 10.

Brent oil prices had already slumped 15 percent last month.

Market concerns were exacerbated by Thursday’s weekly US oil stockpiles report which showed an increase of 2.2 million barrels. Reserves now stand at the highest level in 22 years for this time of year.

By late Friday on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for delivery next month dived to US$97.70 a barrel from US$106.91 a week earlier.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, WTI or light sweet crude for next month sank to US$82.56 from US$90.99.

PRECIOUS METALS: Gold bucked the downward trend to post modest gains as investors sought shelter from global markets turmoil.

By late on Friday on the London Bullion Market, gold rose to US$1,606 an ounce from US$1,569.50 a week earlier.

Silver declined to US$27.38 an ounce from US$28.24.

On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum fell to US$1,407 an ounce from US$1,423.

Palladium rallied to US$607 an ounce, from US$590 an ounce.

BASE METALS: Prices struck more multi-month lows.

By late on Friday on the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months fell to US$7,363 a tonne from US$7,637 a week earlier.

Three-month aluminum decreased to US$1,983 a tonne from US$2,014.

Three-month lead slipped to US$1,900 a tonne from US$1,952.

Three-month tin sank to US$19,290 a tonne from US$19,900.

Three-month nickel declined to US$16,174 a tonne from US$17,011.

Three-month zinc dropped to US$1,875 a tonne from US$1,895.

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