Sun, Dec 29, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Gold set for first annual drop since start of millennium

AFP, LONDON

Commodity prices largely rose this week in quiet trade, but with gold set for its first annual drop since the start of the millennium.

OIL: Crude futures rose this week, with support coming from positive US economic data and violent unrest in South Sudan, traders said.

US oil prices rose above US$100 a barrel ahead of the US Department of Energy’s weekly release on the nation’s oil inventories.

Oil gained also this week after a US Department of Labor report showed first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell to 338,000, below the 350,000 forecast by analysts.

The better jobless claims report came on the heels of other recent strong US data on third-quarter growth, durable goods orders and other items that suggest a healthier economy.

Brent crude is virtually unchanged over the year, while New York futures have risen more than 12 percent, amid tight supply concerns earlier in the year caused by the threat of US military action on Syria.

By Friday on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in February grew to US$111.83 a barrel from US$111.44 a week earlier.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate or light sweet crude for February rose to US$99.62 a barrel from US$98.92.

PRECIOUS METALS: The complex was dominated by gold, which barring a late price surge, will suffer a first yearly loss since 2000.

Sister metal silver, which tends to track gold’s movement, has shed a third of its value this year.

Gold’s value has slumped 27 percent this year on weaker demand and easing inflation — snapping twelve years of uninterrupted annual price growth.

Gold has fallen back sharply from a record high of US$1,921.15 an ounce recorded in September 2011, when investors rushed to snap up the precious metal on fears of a fresh global recession amid the eurozone debt crisis.

By late Friday on the London Bullion Market, the price of gold rose to US$1,214.50 an ounce from US$1,195.25 a week earlier.

Silver climbed to US$19.92 an ounce from US$19.33.

On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum increased to US$1,374 an ounce from US$1,328.

Palladium advanced to US$711 an ounce from US$700.

COCOA: Futures ended the year by recording the highest points since September 2011 — at £1,809 a tonne in London.

By Friday on LIFFE, London’s futures exchange, cocoa for delivery in March dipped to £1,788 a tonne from £1,791 a week earlier.

On ICE Futures US, cocoa for March increased to US$2,815 a tonne from US$2,801.

RUBBER: Prices dipped this week on slow trade amid the festive season and on rising inventories, trader said.

The Malaysian Rubber Board’s benchmark SMR20 slipped to US$0.22925 a kilo from US$0. 23020 the previous week.

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