Sun, Feb 23, 2014 - Page 15 News List

Most commodity prices head higher

AFP, LONDON

Global oil prices jumped this week on keen US demand and geopolitical worries, while coffee and sugar soared on weather-related supply fears in Brazil.

Gold also forged notable peaks on strong haven demand, as investors sought safety amid the uncertain global economic outlook, analysts said.

OIL: Crude futures leapt to a four-month peak on the back of US winter weather and more turmoil in oil exporters Nigeria, South Sudan and Venezuela.

US prices also got a boost from the release of the minutes of the US Federal Reserve’s policy meeting last month, which showed the central bank relatively bullish on the economy and a growing minority advocating early policy tightening.

By Friday on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April stood at US$109.64 a barrel compared with US$108.38.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate or light sweet crude for April rose to US$102.05 a barrel from US$99.98 for the expired March contract a week earlier.

PRECIOUS METALS: Gold struck US$1,332.45 an ounce, the highest point since Oct. 31, driven by strong Asian demand.

Silver notched up a similar peak at US$22.06 an ounce.

“An increase in interest amongst Asian buyers has seen a support in the current level of demand in the physical market,” CMC Markets analyst Nicholas Dale-Lace said.

China overtook India as the biggest consumer of gold in the world last year, ramping up its demand by 32 percent from the 2012 level, the World Gold Council reported.

By late Friday on the London Bullion Market, the price of gold rallied to US$1,323.25 an ounce from US$1,320 a week earlier.

Silver jumped to US$21.74 an ounce from US$21.09.

On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum grew to US$1,422.50 an ounce from US$1,426.

Palladium eased to US$739 an ounce from US$740.

BASE METALS: Most base or industrial metals rose on supply-side concerns, but gains were tempered by Chinese data.

“The [aluminum] price was doubtless driven up by announcements by leading aluminum producers that production capacities are to be shut down,” Commerzbank analysts said.

By Friday on the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months eased to US$7,148 a tonne from US$7,158.50 week earlier.

Three-month aluminum rose to US$1,780.25 a tonne from US$1,751.75, while three-month lead advanced to US$2,149 a tonne from US$2,140.

Three-month tin increased to US$23,045 a tonne from US$22,930.

COFFEE: The price of coffee vaulted to the highest level for more than one year, fueled by fears over falling harvests in top producer Brazil.

“There’s no end to the crazy situation on the Arabica coffee market,” Commerzbank analysts said.

Arabica jumped on Thursday to US$1.775 a pound (0.45kg), the highest level since October 2012. Robusta touched a 10-month peak at US$2,019 a tonne.

By Friday on ICE Futures US, Arabica for delivery in May stood at US$1.722 a pound compared with US$1.41 a week earlier.

On LIFFE, Robusta for May traded at US$1,972 a tonne compared with US$1,802.

SUGAR: Prices rose to their highest levels in about two months on Wednesday, plagued by drought conditions in major producer Brazil.

By Friday on LIFFE, the price of a tonne of white sugar for delivery in May stood at US$462.10 compared with US$441 a week earlier.

On ICE Futures US, the price of unrefined sugar for delivery in May traded at US$0.1685 a pound compared with US$0.1594.

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