Sun, Jun 28, 2015 - Page 15 News List

Oil prices rise as traders await Iran, Greece outcomes

AFP, LONDON

Oil prices rose over the week despite the crude market facing pressure from high supplies, as traders awaited deals over Greece’s bailout and Iran’s nuclear program.

OIL: The weekly US industry report showed domestic output remained high and commercial fuel inventories at generous levels in the world’s biggest consumer of crude.

US crude output edged up to a record 9.6 million barrels a day in the week to June 19, while stockpiles stayed at a near-record 463 million barrels.

Heading into the weekend, the focus was on Greece and Iran.

Crude investors were weighing the “potential negative impact from Greece’s debt crisis on European energy demand,” Singapore’s United Overseas Bank said in a market commentary.

Dealers are also keeping a close watch as Iran and major Western powers race to agree a deal also by Tuesday that would see Tehran open up its nuclear program to allay concerns it is seeking atomic weapons, in return for the West lifting punishing economic sanctions.

However, efforts to finalize the historic nuclear deal with Iran remain stuck on several issues, diplomats from both sides said on Friday, as US Secretary of State John Kerry headed to Vienna for weekend talks.

Any agreement could result in Iranian crude returning to the world market, adding to an oversupply that sent prices plunging from more than US$100 a barrel last year.

By Friday on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in August climbed to US$63.25 a barrel from US$62.66 a week earlier for the expired July contract. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) or light sweet crude for August stood at US$59.59 a barrel compared with US$59.40 a barrel for the expired July contract one week earlier.

PRECIOUS METALS: Gold came under pressure from a robust US dollar, which made the metal more expensive for holders of rival currencies.

The euro dropped to US$1.1130 on Friday — the lowest level for almost three weeks.

By Friday on the London Bullion Market, the price of gold dropped to US$1,170.50 an ounce from US$1,203.40 a week earlier.

Silver declined to US$15.83 an ounce from US$16.12.

On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum edged down to US$1,074 an ounce from US$1,085.

Palladium retreated to US$676 an ounce from US$718.

BASE METALS: Prices mostly fell as investors tracked Chinese data and its impact on demand.

HSBC’s report on Chinese manufacturing came in at its strongest for three months. The preliminary purchasing managers’ index stood at 49.6 this month. While it is still below the break-even point of 50, it beat last month’s final reading of 49.2.

By Friday on the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months rose to US$5,758.50 a tonne from US$5,667.50 a week earlier.

Three-month aluminum rose to US$1,709.50 a tonne from US$1,690.50, while three-month lead edged down to US$1,787 a tonne from US$1,792 and three-month tin decreased to US$14,865 a tonne from US$15,210.

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