Sun, Jul 22, 2012 - Page 15 News List

Oil strikes two-year high as soybeans score record price

AFP, LONDON

Oil prices hit two-month highs this week, driven by US Federal Reserve stimulus hopes and Middle East unrest, while soybeans soared to a record high as US supplies were hit by drought.

Other commodities enjoyed mixed fortunes as traders tracked the latest twists and turns in the eurozone debt crisis.

Markets were rattled on Friday by growing jitters over Spain, whose 10-year government bond yields hit danger levels above 7 percent.

OIL: World oil prices soared to their highest levels since May, before running into profit-taking.

Brent North Sea crude jumped as high as US$108.18 per barrel and New York’s light sweet crude for August hit US$92.94 on Thursday.

Oil rallied for most of this week, first on assurances by the US Federal Reserve that they would intervene should the economy falter and then on increasing tensions in Syria and Iran.

In late Thursday trade, crude jumped more than US$2.50 as fighting raged in Damascus, while China and Russia vetoed UN Western resolutions on the conflict.

By late on Friday on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in September jumped to US$105.98 from US$102.23 for the August contract a week earlier.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) or light sweet crude for August rallied to US$90.91 a barrel from US$86.82.

GRAINS AND SOYA: Grains soared and soybeans rocketed to a record high as drought hampered supplies in key producer the US.

The US expected a record corn harvest this year owing to a big increase in cultivation, but high temperatures and dry conditions in the past few weeks have stunted the crop.

The US Food and Agriculture Organization forecast on July 5 that grain output worldwide would be 23 million tonnes lower this year at 2.4 billion tonnes.

By Friday on the Chicago Board of Trade, maize for delivery in December jumped to US$7.92 a bushel from US$7.41 a week earlier.

Wheat for December was up to US$9.34 from US$8.72.

November-dated soybean meal — used in animal feed — rallied to US$16.87 a bushel from US$15.48.

PRECIOUS METALS: Prices fell across the board in choppy trade.

By late on Friday on the London Bullion Market, gold retreated to US$1,576.25 an ounce from US$1,587 a week earlier.

Silver eased to US$27.07 an ounce from US$27.48.

On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum dropped to US$1,408 an ounce from US$1,424.

Palladium slipped to US$577 an ounce from US$581 an ounce.

BASE METALS: Base metals were mixed on the uncertain global economic outlook.

By late on Friday on the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months dipped to US$7,603 a tonne from US$7,658 a week earlier.

Three-month aluminum eased to US$1,912 a tonne from US$1,916. Three-month lead advanced to US$1,901 a tonne from US$1,878. Three-month tin climbed to US$19,050 a tonne from US$18,800. Three-month nickel fell to US$15,953 a tonne from US$16,240. Three-month zinc dropped to US$1,852 a tonne from US$1,872.

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