Commodity prices mixed on political, economic unrest


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 - Page 15

Commodity prices traded mixed this week as dealers took their cue from a backdrop of weak global economic growth and geopolitical tensions, notably in the Middle East.

OIL: Crude oil prices retreated as weak energy demand offset potential supply risks caused by geopolitical tensions fueled by Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip. Prices were lower overall despite a midweek bounce on the back of the Middle East violence.

By Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) or light sweet crude for December dipped to US$85.09 a barrel from US$85.74 a week earlier.

On London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in January stood at US$107.83 a barrel compared with US$108.23 for the expired December contract a week earlier.

PRECIOUS METALS: Gold prices fell as the World Gold Council said global demand for the metal had dropped 11 percent in the third quarter on an annual basis, with buying in key market China dipping because of its slowing economy.

Worldwide demand fell 1,084.6 tonnes, worth an estimated US$57.6 billion, as prices on average were 3 percent lower than the record levels seen a year earlier, the council’s latest report said.

Platinum futures eased as weak demand expectations helped offset a prediction by industrial group Johnson Matthey that world output would slide by 10 percent this year owing to unrest at South African mines.

Anglo American Platinum this week said workers had returned to its South Africa mines after accepting a new wage offer, ending a two-month strike that crippled production.

By late Friday on the London Bullion Market, gold fell to US$1,713.50 an ounce from US$1,738.25 a week earlier.

Silver rose to US$32.27 an ounce from US$32.16.

On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum dipped to US$1,554 an ounce from US$1,559.

Palladium increased to US$623 an ounce from US$612.

BASE METALS: Base or industrial metal prices rose across the board, while traders reacted to news that the Chinese Communist Party had unveiled a new seven-man leadership council to take command for the next decade.

China, the world’s second-biggest economy, is a major consumer of commodities and especially base metals.

By late Friday on the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months climbed to US$7,581 a tonne from US$7,534 a week earlier.

Three-month aluminum was up at US$1,936 a tonne from US$1,907, while three-month lead gained to US$2,147 a tonne from US$2,141.

Three-month nickel advanced to US$16,023 a tonne from US$15,970, and three-month zinc improved to US$1,921 a tonne from US$1,889.