Sun, Sep 30, 2012 - Page 15 News List

Commodities mixed as traders fret over debt-plagued Spain

AFP, LONDON

Commodity markets enjoyed mixed fortunes this week as traders eyed growing speculation over a full bailout of debt-plagued Spain and amid rising doubts over the US Federal Reserve’s stimulus plan.

Spain unveiled on Friday the full cost of rescuing its troubled banks, seen by investors as one of the final steps before a looming sovereign bailout.

The nation’s stricken banks need 59.3 billion euros (US$76 billion) to fix balance sheets hammered by a 2008 property crash, an independent audit showed.

It comes one day after the Spanish government unveiled an austerity budget of 39 billion euros to rein in the public deficit.

OIL: New York crude plunged close to a two-month low under US$89 per barrel on eurozone woes, but prices finished the week on a mixed note.

West Texas Intermediate dived to US$88.95 on Wednesday, hitting the lowest level since Aug. 3.

The market has since recovered somewhat, helped by a weaker US dollar, steps taken by Spain to help reduce its debt mountain and on easing Middle East tensions, analysts said.

Oil prices also won some support from Middle East tensions traders said.

“By late Friday on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in November increased to US$111.77 a barrel from US$110.37 a week earlier.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) or light sweet crude for November retreated to US$91.78 a barrel, from US$93.09 a week earlier.

PRECIOUS METALS: Gold and silver lost ground as dealers took profits from recent multimonth peaks and tracked worries over Chinese and European demand.

“Gold and silver prices have continued to be swayed by investor sentiment and the macro environment,” Barclays Capital analysts said in a research note.

Meanwhile, the world’s top platinum producer, Anglo American Platinum, on Thursday launched disciplinary procedures against thousands of striking miners emboldened by a big pay hike won by workers at another South African mine.

By late Friday on the London Bullion Market, gold dipped to US$1,776 an ounce from US$1,784.50 a week earlier.

Silver eased to US$34.65 an ounce from US$34.69.

On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum increased to US$1,668 an ounce from US$1,642.

Palladium slid to US$642 an ounce from US$672.

BASE METALS: Base or industrial metals diverged, having fallen earlier in the week on eurozone woes, but the outlook remains upbeat according to analysts.

By late Friday on the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months slid to US$8,250 a tonne from US$8,283 a week earlier.

Three-month aluminum rose to US$2,123 a tonne from US$2,106. Three-month lead gained to US$2,300 a tonne from US$2,283.

Three-month tin climbed to US$21,700 a tonne from US$20,825. Three-month nickel grew to US$18,576 a tonne from US$18,086.

Three-month zinc eased to US$2,120 a tonne from US$2,124.

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