Crude oil futures retreated this week on oversupply concerns as commodity traders focused largely on the outlook for US stimulus.
OIL: Oil prices slid on Friday as dealers fretted over a global oversupply in crude, while speculation the US Federal Reserve would soon scale back its stimulus program also weighed.
“Investors are not only concerned about an oversupply in the US from shale oil, but also from OPEC member countries like Iraq, which have pledged to increase supply even if prices fall significantly,” Singapore-based IG Markets strategist Kelly Teoh said.
OPEC earlier this month agreed to keep its production ceiling unchanged at 30 million barrels a day. However, pledges by its members Iraq and Iran to boost output next year have raised concerns about a potential glut, as US shale oil output continues to increase. The focus on oversupply has been exacerbated after a tribal chief in Libya said a months-long blockade by armed protesters of vital oil terminals would be lifted today.
By Friday on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in January dropped to US$108.28 a barrel from US$111.20 a week earlier.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate or light sweet crude for January fell to US$97.17 a barrel from US$97.43.
PRECIOUS METALS: Gold prices steadied after hitting five-month lows earlier this month.
Gold had the previous week briefly tumbled to US$1,210.60 an ounce — the lowest level in five months — on strong US jobs data.
Expectations of a quick move to scale back US stimulus lowered concerns over possible higher inflation. Gold is seen as a hedge against higher prices.
By late Friday on the London Bullion Market, the price of gold dipped to US$1,232 an ounce from US$1,233 a week earlier.
Silver climbed to US$19.55 an ounce from US$19.49.
On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum stood at US$1,367 an ounce, unchanged from the previous week.
Palladium slid to US$723 an ounce from US$741.
BASE METALS: Industrial metals prices were “boosted by positive industrial production data from the Chinese and a weaker US dollar,” analysts at broker Triland Metals said.
Chinese industrial output, which measures production at factories, workshops and mines, rose 10 percent last month year-on-year, the National Bureau of Statistics announced. That was a slowdown from the 10.3 percent growth recorded in October.
By Friday on the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months rose to US$7,238.50 a tonne from US$7,138 a week earlier, while three-month aluminum increased to US$1,798.50 a tonne from US$1,772.
Three-month lead climbed to US$2,140 a tonne from US$2,097, while three-month tin fell to US$22,800 a tonne from US$23,150.