Metals and oil prices rallied this week on hopes of fresh economic stimulus from commodities-hungry China and the US to boost the global economy, as fears about the eurozone lingered.
Policymakers at the US Federal Reserve are leaning toward more stimulus action “fairly soon” unless economic data turns around, minutes from their meeting early this month revealed on Wednesday.
OIL: New York crude on Thursday surged to US$98.29 a barrel — the highest in 3.5 months — as hopes of Chinese stimulus soared after manufacturing activity in the world’s largest energy consumer fell to a nine-month low this month.
Brent oil shot above US$116 before prices began to lose some of their strong gains as stimulus hopes faded a little and on “doubts about Europe’s ability to address its debt crisis,” Phillip Futures trading group said.
By late Friday on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in October rose to US$114.79 a barrel from US$114 a week earlier.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) or light sweet crude for October stood at US$96.83 a barrel compared with US$95.21 for the expired September contract a week earlier.
PRECIOUS METALS: Gold prices led the complex higher, with the yellow metal hitting a four-month high at US$1,674.95 an ounce on Thursday.
Platinum futures reached a near four-month high of US$1,561.50 an ounce, as the market assessed the fallout of the previous week’s deadly violence at a platinum mine in South Africa.
“With so much focus on the aftermath of the deaths of the striking platinum mineworkers in South Africa late last week, it was no surprise to see further increases in the prices of platinum and [sister metal] palladium,” broker Johnson Matthey said.
By late Friday on the London Bullion Market, gold jumped to US$1,667 an ounce from US$1,614.75 a week earlier.
Silver surged to US$30.37 an ounce from US$28.20.
On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum increased to US$1,537 an ounce from US$1,455. Palladium climbed to US$643 an ounce from US$592.
BASE METALS: Prices rallied on stimulus hopes.
“The recent run-up in prices has been fueled by high hopes for quantitative easing, but countering that, the economic data has generally remained negative, especially in China,” said William Adams, an analyst at data group Fast Markets.
By late Friday on the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months climbed to US$7,660 a tonne from US$7,537 a week earlier.
Three-month aluminum grew to US$1,918 a tonne from US$1,857. Three-month lead gained to US$1,967 a tonne from US$1,872. Three-month tin rallied to US$20,325 a tonne from US$18,460. Three-month nickel advanced to US$16,531 a tonne from US$15,467. Three-month zinc increased to US$1,882 a tonne from US$1,800.
COFFEE: Prices diverged.
By Friday on NYBOT-ICE, Arabica for delivery in December edged up US$1.6215 a pound (0.45kg) from US$1.6105 a week earlier.
On LIFFE, Robusta for November retreated to US$2,030 a tonne from US$2,107.