Sun, Mar 30, 2014 - Page 15 News List

Oil rises on bright data; gold dips

AFP, LONDON

Crude oil prices rallied this week on upbeat data in top consumer the US and concerns over supply disruptions in Libya and Nigeria, dealers said.

Gold ran out of steam and fell from recent peaks as Ukraine tensions eased.

OIL: New York crude began the week on the front foot, rising on Monday as traffic was halted on the Houston Ship Channel, a key petroleum-industry waterway, due to an oil spill.

Prices then jumped further as data showed a fall in crude supplies at a key US trading hub and a surprisingly large decline in gasoline stocks.

The US Energy Information Administration revealed on Wednesday that stockpiles sank by 1.3 million barrels at the Cushing, Oklahoma oil-trading hub for the US benchmark.

That was the eighth straight weekly decline and leaves Cushing stockpiles at their lowest level since January 2012.

Meanwhile, Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell on Wednesday said it had declared a force majeure on crude from Nigeria as it struggles to repair a sabotaged pipeline.

Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer, accounting for more than 2 million barrels per day.

Force majeure is a legal term releasing a company from contractual obligations when faced with circumstances beyond its control.

By Friday on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in May rose to US$108.04 a barrel from US$107.51.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate or light sweet crude for May climbed to US$101.67 per barrel from US$100.13 a week earlier for next month contract.

PRECIOUS METALS: Gold sank as investors took profits amid fading geopolitical concerns in Ukraine.

The glamorous metal touched the lowest point for one-and-a-half months at US$1,285.82 per ounce on Friday.

Gold had struck a six-month high at US$1,392.22 per ounce the previous week, as investors sought a haven investment to shelter from Ukraine tensions.

By late on Friday on the London Bullion Market, the price of gold slid to US$1,294.75 an ounce from US$1,336 a week earlier.

Silver dipped to US$19.71 an ounce from US$20.55.

On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum reversed to US$1,401 an ounce from US$1,439.

Palladium receded to US$771 an ounce from US$789.

BASE METALS: Base or industrial metals prices diverged as traders balanced weak manufacturing data against hopes of stimulus measures in key consumer China.

HSBC’s flash purchasing managers index for this month came in at 48.1, an eight-month low and down from 48.5 last month.

Anything below 50 indicates contraction while a figure above points to expansion.

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