Commodities faced a mixed week as traders assessed the supply outlook and after US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke dented hopes of stimulus measures any time soon in the world’s biggest economy.
Market hopes had been building that central banks could implement more quantitative easing (QE) — whereby new cash is created and pumped into the economy.
OIL: Market sentiment was dictated by speculation over additional central bank stimulus and the potential release of strategic crude stocks, as well as mixed data and hurricane-linked US supply concerns.
Fears about disruption to supply from the US Gulf from Hurricane Isaac had lifted prices at the start of the week but, in the end, those concerns proved unfounded.
Oil prices were also pressured by a call from the G7 nations for producers to increase output.
By late Friday on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in October eased to US$114.08 a barrel from US$114.79 a week earlier.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) or light sweet crude for October stood at US$96.26 a barrel compared with US$96.83 the previous week.
PRECIOUS METALS: Gold briefly rebounded to a four-month high as traders focused on the possibility of more asset purchases by the Fed. However, the precious metal finished the week on a flat note.
By late on Friday on the London Bullion Market, gold had eased to US$1,648.50 an ounce from US$1,667 a week earlier.
Silver rose to US$30.52 an ounce from US$30.37.
On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum decreased to US$1,517 an ounce from US$1,537. Palladium fell to US$623 an ounce from US$643.
BASE METALS: Prices slid in line with most other commodities.
“Metals continued to consolidate in choppy conditions,” analyst William Adams at Fast Markets said.
By late Friday on the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months dropped to US$7,563 a tonne from US$7,660 a week earlier.
Three-month aluminum dipped to US$1,877 a tonne from US$1,918. Three-month lead fell to US$1,952 a tonne from US$1,967. Three-month tin sank to US$19,450 a tonne from US$20,325. Three-month nickel declined to US$15,905 a tonne from US$16,531. Three-month zinc decreased to US$1,824 a tonne from US$1,882.
COFFEE: Coffee prices increased in value.
By Friday on NYBOT-ICE, Arabica for delivery in December rose to US$1.65 a pound from US$1.6215 a week earlier.
On LIFFE, Robusta for November increased to US$2,069 a tonne from US$2,030.