Sun, Mar 02, 2014 - Page 15 News List

Commodities mixed over US strains, Brazil drought

AFP, LONDON

Commodities diverged this week as traders tracked US economic growth concerns, which raised gold futures as drought conditions in Brazil again lifted coffee and sugar.

The US economy grew more slowly late last year than previously thought, but there was enough vigor to make it likely that the US Federal Reserve will keep reducing its stimulus, analysts said.

OIL: Crude futures steadied after posting sharp gains the previous week, as traders weighed up higher demand in the US against concerns over the outlook for growth.

Oil prices began the week higher due to the political turmoil in the Ukraine and some oil-producing countries, as well as the return of cold weather in the US.

By Friday on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for delivery next month fell to US$108.99 a barrel compared with US$109.64 a week earlier.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate, or light sweet crude, for next month rose to US$102.59 a barrel from US$102.05.

PRECIOUS METALS: Gold rose further, reaching a four-month high at US$1,345.35 an ounce.

Sister metal silver also managed a four-month peak at US$22.17 an ounce before profit-taking caused it to fall over the week.

By late on Friday on the London Bullion Market, the price of gold grew to US$1,326.50 an ounce (22.8g) from US$1,323.25 a week earlier, as silver slipped to US$21.27 an ounce from US$21.74.

On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum increased to US$1,447 an ounce from US$1,422.50, as palladium edged up to US$743 from US$739.

COFFEE: Prices rallied further to their highest level in months due to drought conditions in Brazil.

Arabica-quality coffee, which has surged almost 60 percent in value this year , reached US$0.18125 a pound (0.45kg) on Tuesday, the highest level since October 2012. Robusta hit a nine-month peak at US$2,045 a tonne on Monday.

By Friday on ICE Futures US, Arabica for delivery in May advanced to US$0.17925 a pound from US$0. 172.20 a week earlier.On LIFFE, Robusta for May rose to US$2,038 a tonne from US$1,972.

SUGAR: Prices hit a nearly four-month peak, also on the back of drought conditions in Brazil.

By Friday on LIFFE, the price of a tonne of white sugar for delivery in May increased to US$476.30 from US$462.10 a week earlier.

On ICE Futures US, unrefined sugar for May surged to US$0.1774 from US$0.16.85.

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