Commodity prices mixed amid US budget deadlock

AFP, LONDON

Sun, Dec 02, 2012 - Page 15

Commodity prices diverged this week as traders focused heavily on the outlook for the US and whether the world’s biggest economy would fall back into recession owing to a budget impasse.

Elsewhere, investors cautiously welcomed a bailout deal for Greece that eased fears over a bankruptcy for the indebted eurozone country.

OIL: Crude futures were narrowly mixed as traders mainly tracked the US budget talks.

Oil prices briefly soared last week as violence intensified in the Israel-Hamas conflict, stoking supply worries, but the market trimmed its gains in the wake of a ceasefire.

By Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) or light sweet crude for delivery in January edged up to US$87.85 a barrel from US$87.67 a week earlier.

On London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for January eased to US$110.53 a barrel from US$110.83.

PRECIOUS METALS: Gold prices dropped after a sharp midweek loss.

Andrey Kryuchenkov, an analyst at VTB Capital financial group, said he believed gold would “continue to lag behind other metals in the precious sector” owing to a lack of traders hedging against higher inflation.

By late Friday on the London Bullion Market, gold fell to US$1,726 an ounce from US$1,734.50 a week earlier.

Silver rose to US$34.28 an ounce from US$33.41.

On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum rose to US$1,612 an ounce from US$1,584. Palladium climbed to US$685 an ounce from US$657.50.

BASE METALS: Prices of base, or industrial, metals rallied.

By late Friday on the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months jumped to US$7,933 a tonne from US$7,770 a week earlier.

Three-month aluminum was up at US$2,080 a tonne from US$1,965. Three-month lead grew to US$2,239 a tonne from US$2,202. Three-month tin increased to US$21,790 a tonne from US$20,800. Three-month nickel advanced to US$17,200 a tonne from US$16,678.