Sun, Oct 28, 2012 - Page 15 News List

Commodities fall on back of weak US company profits

HURTING HEGEMON:Weak earnings reports of US heavyweights and the never-ending worry over the EU crisis combined to drop commodities prices

AFP, LONDON

Most commodity prices fell this week, buckling under pressure from poor US company results, weak economic data, demand worries and concerns over the eurozone crisis, analysts say.

Investor sentiment was hurt by a string of weak corporate reports from major US firms.

“Commodity prices across the board mostly eased over the past week alongside other markets amid weak economic data, with the industrially-biased precious metals and base metals baring the brunt of the sell-off,” Barclays Capital analyst Sudakshina Unnikrishnan said.

Markets clawed back some of their losses late on Friday after official data showed that the US economy — a major consumer of many raw materials — grew at an annualized rate of 2 percent in the third quarter from the second.

OIL: Prices sank as news of surging US crude supplies and weak European economic data sparked fresh concerns over weak energy demand, traders said.

The US Department of Energy said crude oil supplies soared three times more than expected, by 5.9 million barrels in the week ended on Oct. 19.

Eurozone private sector business activity slumped deeper into the mire this month, falling at its fastest rate since June 2009 to hit 40-month lows, the closely watched Markit survey showed.

Adding to negative sentiment was news that German business confidence slumped to a two-and-a-half-year low this month.

Losses were capped by news that China’s manufacturing sector which showed signs of recovery last month, and by the solid US third-quarter GDP growth.

By Friday, on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in December tumbled to US$108.81 a barrel compared with US$112.82 a week earlier.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate (WTI). or light sweet crude. for December dived to US$85.81 a barrel, from US$92.08 a week earlier.

PRECIOUS METALS: Prices fell on profit taking and the stronger US dollar, but gold losses were capped by safe-haven demand.

“While the dollar strengthening has contributed to profit taking in gold, the metal garnered the most support amid plummeting risk appetite as a weaker-than-expected start to the earnings season weighed upon equity markets,” Barclays Capital analysts said.

Glamorous metal gold is widely considered a safe haven.

By late Friday on the London Bullion Market, gold dipped to US$1,716 an ounce from US$1,737 a week earlier.

Silver fell to US$31.67 an ounce from US$33.33.

On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum decreased to US$1,572 an ounce from US$1,633.

Palladium reversed to US$605 an ounce from US$638.

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