Commodity markets traded mixed this week as investors balanced stubborn worries over the global demand outlook against easing eurozone debt crisis concerns and the faltering US dollar.
Investors shrugged off strong non-farm payrolls data in the US, which is a major consumer of raw materials.
“Growth concerns remain the major concern and one average US jobs report cannot change the fact that demand looks weak,” CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said.
OIL: The market had spiked higher on Thursday, with West Texas Intermediate (WTI), or light sweet crude, soaring more than US$4 as traders also fretted over clashes on the Syria-Turkey border and a fire at a major US refinery, analysts said.
“Ongoing Middle Eastern tensions and the bearish economic outlook have been the two main drivers, however prices jumped US$4 higher [on Thursday] ... as a fire at one of the largest oil refineries in the US saw US gasoline prices rise,” analyst Gary Hornby of UK-based consultancy Inenco said.
Concerns are also growing over the slowing Chinese economy — the biggest global consumer of energy. Data on Thursday showed that activity in China’s non-manufacturing sectors hit a near two-year low last month.
Oil continued to slide on Friday, dogged by demand worries, but ended the week on a stable note.
By late Friday on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for delivery next month firmed to US$111.80 a barrel from US$111.77 a week earlier.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, WTI for next month eased to US$90.31 a barrel, from US$91.78 a week earlier.
PRECIOUS METALS: Gold surged close to a one-year high this week, boosted by the weak US dollar, but trimmed gains on Friday.
The glamorous metal spiked on Thursday to US$1,796.10 — last witnessed last year on Nov.14, as silver reached the highest level since early March and platinum scored highs last seen in February.
By late Friday on the London Bullion Market, gold rose to US$1,784 an ounce from US$1,776 a week earlier.
Silver firmed to US$34.85 an ounce from US$34.65.
On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum increased to US$1,711 an ounce from US$1,668.
Palladium climbed to US$667 an ounce from US$642.
COCOA: Prices fell as dealers eyed the improving supply outlook in top global producer Ivory Coast.
“Cocoa remains under pressure,” Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch said. “The main reason for this pressure is the brighter crop outlook. The main harvest has just begun in the Ivory Coast.”
By Friday on LIFFE, London’s futures exchange, cocoa for delivery in December slid to ￡1,533 a tonne from ￡1,635 a week earlier.
On New York’s NYBOT-ICE exchange, cocoa for December sank to US$2,406 a tonne from US$2,543.
SUGAR: Sugar futures hit their highest levels since the start of last month, as speculative buyers ploughed into the market.
By Friday on NYBOT-ICE, the price of unrefined sugar for March stood at US$0.2137 a pound compared with US$0.2040.
On LIFFE, the price of a tonne of white sugar for delivery in December climbed to US$595.70 from US$574.90 a week earlier.
COFFEE: The coffee market drifted lower.
By Friday on NYBOT-ICE, Arabica for delivery in December decreased to 1.73.90 US cents a pound from US$174.35 cents a week earlier.
On LIFFE, Robusta for next month declined to US$2,140 a tonne from US$2,175.