World oil prices rose this week as traders balanced positive global economic data against an improving supply picture.
Elsewhere on commodity markets, sugar futures sank to fresh multi-year lows on prospects of a plentiful harvest.
Raw material prices moved also on news that the World Bank had upgraded its forecast for global economic growth this year, suggesting potential improvement in demand.
The World Bank said both high-income and developing countries seem to be “finally turning the corner five years after the global financial crisis” and estimated global growth to hit 3.2 percent this year, from 2.4 percent last year.
OIL: Brent crude prices hit a two-month low on Friday on oversupply concerns, but ended the week higher overall as positive economic growth data indicated firmer demand.
Brent North Sea crude for delivery in march slid to US$105.44 a barrels — the lowest level recorded since the end of last year.
“The expectation that supply from Libya and Iran could soon return to the market should initially continue to put selling pressure on Brent,” Commerzbank analysts said.
Added to the supply picture, the US is also expected to ramp up production this year.
Yet at the same time, various upbeat global economic data releases have stoked hopes of strengthening global energy demand.
On Thursday, OPEC nudged up its world oil demand growth forecasts for the previous and current years, citing positive developments in Europe and North America.
For last year, the 12-member organization estimated demand at 89.86 million barrels per day (bpd), up 0.94 million bpd from 2012.
OPEC forecast demand for its oil to fall this year, as supply from non-members rose by an estimated 1.27 million bpd last year to an average of 55.38 billion bpd.
By Friday on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in March stood at US$106.73 a barrel, compared with US$106.33 for last month’s expired contract a week earlier.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate, or light sweet crude, for next month grew to US$94.29 a barrel from US$92.27.
PRECIOUS METALS: Gold prices advanced this week, but Triland Metals analysts said the market lacks any firm direction and inspiration seems in short supply.
By late on Friday on the London Bullion Market, gold climbed to US$1,250 an ounce from US$1,244.25 a week earlier, as silver rose to US$20.01 from US$19.80.
On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum increased to US$1,447 an ounce from US$1,425, while palladium rose to US$747 an ounce from US$737.
COFFEE: Coffee futures stabilized, supported by worries about dry weather in key producer Brazil.
“Worries about forecasts calling for unfavorable hot and dry weather in Brazil helped to underpin coffee futures, as did uncertainty surrounding the size of the country’s upcoming coffee crop,” industry publication the Public Ledger said.
By Friday on the ICE Futures US exchange, Arabica for March eased to US$0.11795 a pound (0.45kg) from US$0.11875 a week ago.
On LIFFE, Robusta for March climbed to US$1,725 a tonne from US$1,714.
SUGAR: The sugar market plummeted to its lowest levels in more than three-and-a-half years, as sentiment was hit by abundant supplies.
Sugar dived on Thursday to US$413.20 in London — a level last seen in April 2009. New York prices hit US$0.1510, a level last witnessed in June 2010.