Sun, Sep 18, 2016 - Page 14 News List

Oil sinks on supply glut, while copper and zinc shine

AFP and Bloomberg, LONDON

World oil prices sank lower this week on gloomy market forecasts, profit-taking and ever-present worries over the global supply glut, ahead of a producers’ meeting on Sept. 26 to 28.

The Paris-based International Energy Agency set the tone on Tuesday, warning that oil demand growth was slowing while supply was rising.

However, fresh data showing mounting US stockpiles of crude and products, and Libya’s pledge to sharply boost production and exports within weeks, added to the downward pressure on prices.

At the same time, Nigeria — Africa’s biggest crude producer — appears set to increase its oil exports, traders said.

On Friday in London trading, European benchmark Brent North Sea crude for November delivery slipped US$0.82 to US$45.77 per barrel from late Thursday.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in October slid US$0.88 to US$43.03 a barrel.

That left Brent down 4.5 percent for the week, while WTI lost 6.6 percent.

PRECIOUS METALS: Precious metals declined, with platinum heading for a seventh straight weekly loss, the longest run since 2013, and palladium set to record the worst slump since May.

Investors are losing interest as the popularity of electric cars, which use less platinum and palladium than gasoline-fueled vehicles, threatens demand for the metals used in auto pollution-control devices, SP Angel Corporate Finance LLP analyst John Meyer said.

Platinum for immediate delivery slid 1.8 percent to US$1,013.90 an ounce (28.3g) at 2:27pm in New York, according to Bloomberg generic pricing.

Palladium, which climbed 2.4 percent on Friday, headed for a fourth straight weekly drop.

The recent declines have put a halt to an earlier rally this year, paring this year’s gain to 14 percent. Investors have speculated that resilient automotive sales would boost consumption. The metal has also increased alongside gold, which is up more than 20 percent this year as the US Federal Reserve’s decision to delay raising interest rates further boosted the metals’ appeal as a store of value.

Gains in precious metals have slowed in the second half of this year amid mixed signals on rates from the Fed, which meets next week.

Gold futures for December delivery slid 0.6 percent to settle at US$1,310.20 an ounce on the Comex in New York. Silver futures also declined. Holdings in exchange-traded funds backed by gold declined 4.3 tonnes to 2,014.6 tonnes on Thursday, the lowest since July 29, data compiled by Bloomberg show

BASE METALS: Copper is at last getting a moment in the sun. Prices posted the biggest weekly gain in two months as the metal that has lagged behind its peers this year gets a boost from signs that demand may strengthen in China, the biggest consumer.

Copper analysts and traders remain bullish on the near-term outlook for prices after a slew of Chinese data fueled speculation demand would improve, according to a Bloomberg survey. Figures this week showed new credit surpassed estimates after readings for factory output, investment and retail sales also exceeded expectations.

The metal for delivery in three months rose 0.1 percent to US$4,788 a tonne at 5:51pm on the London Metal Exchange, leaving the weekly gain at 3.3 percent, the biggest increase since mid-July. By contrast, zinc — the top metals performer this year — posted its first back-to-back weekly drop since January.

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