Gold prices slid this week as the precious metal lost some of its safe-haven status after the US Federal Reserve agreed to scale back its huge stimulus program.
The value of other metals also fell after Wednesday’s move by the US central bank boosted confidence in the recovery of the world’s biggest economy, but oil futures gained as rebound hopes boosted demand for crude in the country.
The US economy grew at a robust 4.1 percent annual rate in the third quarter, much faster than previously estimated, the US Department Commerce said on Friday.
OIL: Crude futures rose on expectations of firmer demand in the US, the world’s No. 1 oil consumer.
Both contracts had risen strongly on Thursday, as investors read the Fed’s decision to cut its monthly asset purchases as a sign of the central bank’s confidence in the US economy.
Oil also won support this week after the US Energy Information Administration on Wednesday reported that the country’s commercial crude oil inventories had fallen by 2.9 million barrels last week, above the 2.7 million projected by analysts.
By Friday on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in February stood at US$111.44 a barrel, compared with US$108.28 a week ago for next month’s expired contract.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate, or light sweet crude, for next month rose to US$98.92 a barrel from US$97.17.
PRECIOUS METALS: Gold dropped close to three-year lows in reaction to the Fed’s move.
Gold struck US$1,187.13 an ounce on Friday, the lowest point since late June, when the precious metal hit a three-year trough at US$1,180.50.
Gold’s value is set to post its first annual loss since the start of the millennium on weak demand and easing inflation, analysts said.
By late on Friday on the London Bullion Market, the price of gold fell to US$1,195.25 an ounce from US$1,232 a week earlier, while silver dropped to US$19.33 an ounce from US$19.55.
On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum slid to US$1,328 an ounce from US$1,367, as palladium declined to US$700 an ounce from US$723.
SUGAR: Prices recovered after reaching the lowest points for 3.5 years, at US$432.10 a tonne in London and US$0.1586 a pound (0.45kg) in New York.
By Friday on LIFFE, London’s futures exchange, the price of 1 tonne of white sugar for March dipped to US$442.40 from US$443.80 a week earlier.
On the ICE Futures US exchange in New York, the price of unrefined sugar for delivery in March rose to US$0.1642 a pound from US$0.1624 a week earlier.
COCOA: Futures struck their highest point in more than two years at ￡1,800 a tonne in London.
By Friday on LIFFE, cocoa for delivery in March gained to ￡1,791 a tonne from ￡1,768 a week earlier.
On ICE Futures US, cocoa for March increased to US$2,801 a tonne from US$2,782.