Sun, Feb 03, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Oil hits four-month peaks amid upbeat global economy

AFP, LONDON

Crude oil prices spiked to four-month peaks this week, energized by the weak US dollar, mostly upbeat global economic data and Middle East tensions — particularly in Syria — while other commodities mainly rose.

The European single currency rallied to US$1.3711 — reaching a point last seen on Nov. 14, 2011 — lifted by the brighter eurozone outlook, dealers said.

A weak greenback tends to stimulate demand for US dollar-priced commodities, which becomes cheaper for buyers using stronger currencies like the euro. That tends to boost demand and spark higher prices.

OIL: The market forged a series of multi-month pinnacles, with Brent crude prices rallying on Friday to US$117.07 per barrel — which was the highest level since Sept. 14 last year.

New York crude on Wednesday surged to US$98.24 per barrel, which was a level last witnessed on Sept. 17 last year.

“Oil prices broke through US$117 per barrel this week, due to tension in Syria and positive manufacturing data from two of the world’s largest economies: China and the United States,” Inenco analyst Joe Conlan said.

However, he added that the global outlook was bullish following recent news that German investor confidence had risen for the first time in four months.

Prices had also jumped higher on Wednesday as the US dollar weakened following this week’s US Federal Reserve monetary policy announcement and after largely upbeat economic news in Europe and elsewhere.

In Europe, eurozone economic sentiment improved across all sectors last month, the European Commission said.

By Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate, or light sweet crude, for delivery next month soared to US$97.24 a barrel from US$95.70 a week earlier.

On London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for next month jumped to US$116.82 a barrel, compared with US$113.17 the previous week.

PRECIOUS METALS: Prices advanced on the struggling US dollar after the Fed opted to keep its ultra-loose monetary policy.

“Dealers [are positioning[ themselves in the precious metal as a hedge against the potentially inflationary stimulus pumped in by the central banks,” CMC Markets analyst Nick Dale-Lace said.

The US central bank on Thursday decided to keep its record-low key interest rate between zero percent and 0.25 percent to push down long-term interest rates to boost the economy.

By late Friday on the London Bullion Market, gold rose to US$1,669 an ounce from US$1,660 a week earlier.

Silver eased to US$31.43 an ounce from US$31.56.

On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum firmed to US$1,687 an ounce from US$1,678.

Palladium increased to US$745 an ounce from US$725.

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