Sun, May 25, 2014 - Page 15 News List

Palladium hits three-year high, oil rallies, sugar falls

AFP, LONDON

Global oil prices rallied this week on strong US crude demand and tensions in Ukraine, while star performer palladium hit a three-year peak on supply fears in South Africa and Russia.

Base or industrial metals swung higher on bright manufacturing data in leading consumer China.

OIL: Crude futures jumped to multi-month peaks on Wednesday as traders reacted to tumbling crude reserves in the US.

New York crude struck a one-month peak at US$104.07 per barrel, while Brent forged a two-and-a-half-month high at US$110.55.

The US Department of Energy revealed American crude oil inventories plunged 7.2 million barrels in the week to May 16.

That shocked traders expecting a weekly gain of 700,000 barrels, after having seen stockpiles steadily mount for months and signalled keen demand in the world’s biggest crude consumer.

Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged Friday to respect the outcome of Ukraine’s presidential election this weekend, but said that it had descended into civil war.

In Libya, a renegade general’s bid to rid the country of Islamists has also alarmed oil investors fearing a further crippling of output.

More support came from Germany posting 0.8 percent growth in the first quarter — the biggest quarterly jump in three years.

By Friday on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in July rose to US$110.39 per barrel from US$109.55 a week earlier.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate or light sweet crude for July jumped to $104.39 a barrel compared with $101.83 a week earlier for the June contract.

PRECIOUS METALS: Palladium hit a three-year peak and platinum an eight-month high on mounting supply worries, with South Africa plagued by strikes.

South Africa accounts for 80 percent of the world’s platinum supply and nearly a third of its palladium.

On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum rose to US$1,483 an ounce from US$1,464, while palladium advanced to US$828 from US$816.

SUGAR: Prices fell on speculative selling after gains last week.

By Friday on LIFFE, London’s futures exchange, a tonne of white sugar for August sank to US$468.70 from US$492.70 a week earlier.

On ICE Futures US, unrefined sugar for July fell to US$0.1728 a pound (0.45kg) from US$0.1817.

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