Sun, Aug 05, 2012 - Page 15 News List

Commodity prices mostly fall on lack of stimulus action


Global commodity markets mainly fell in subdued trade this week as investors expressed disappointment at the lack of central bank action to kick-start the struggling global economy.

European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi announced no immediate action on the eurozone sovereign debt crisis on Thursday, despite insisting the previous week that he would “do whatever it takes to preserve the euro.”

Markets also stumbled after the US Federal Reserve opted against more quantitative easing stimulus measures on Wednesday.

However, oil prices jumped on Friday as data showed that the US economy created 163,000 jobs last month. Analysts had expected a gain of 100,000 jobs in the US, which is a major consumer of many raw materials.

OIL: Prices staged a late rally as the positive US non-farm payrolls data signaled healthy demand in the world’s biggest oil consuming nation.

A weaker US currency makes dollar-denominated oil more attractive to buyers using stronger currencies, tending to lift crude demand and prices.

Oil also found support this week from geopolitical tensions surrounding key producer Iran.

US President Barack Obama on Tuesday imposed new economic sanctions on Iran’s oil export sector and on a pair of Chinese and Iraqi banks accused of doing business with Tehran.

Oil also rose following a sharper-than-expected drop in US crude stockpiles.

By late Friday on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in September jumped to US$108.58 from US$105.94 a week earlier.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) or light sweet crude for next month rallied to US$91.02 from US$89.90 a week earlier.

PRECIOUS METALS: Gold fell back, dragging other precious metals lower.

By late Friday on the London Bullion Market, gold dropped to US$1,602 an ounce from US$1,618.25 a week earlier.

Silver declined to US$27.25 an ounce from US$27.73.

On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum dropped to US$1,390 an ounce from US$1,410.

Palladium eased to US$573 an ounce from US$574 an ounce.

BASE METALS: Prices were hit by downbeat Chinese data, with nickel diving to US$15,236 — its lowest since mid-July 2009.

China’s manufacturing activity weakened to an eight-month low last month when the purchasing managers’ index (PMI) slipped to 50.1 last month from 50.2 in June, according to a statement released by the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics.

By late Friday on the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months dipped to US$7,384 a tonne from US$7,537 a week earlier.

Three-month aluminum slipped to US$1,854 a tonne from US$1,888.

Three-month lead edged down to US$1,875 a tonne from US$1,900. Three-month tin declined to US$17,750 a tonne from US$18,035. Three-month nickel slid to US$15,528 a tonne from US$15,930. Three-month zinc dropped to US$1,827 a tonne from US$1,840.

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