Commodity prices tumbled on Friday as the US dollar firmed in response to better-than-expected US jobs data and amid expectations that low EU interest rates will continue. However, many raw materials still managed to rise over the week and oil soared on unrest in Egypt.
The US added a better-than-expected 195,000 jobs last month, while job growth in prior months was revised upward, official data revealed on Friday.
Friday’s jobs data supported the US currency, which makes commodities priced in the unit more expensive for buyers holding weaker currencies, denting demand for raw materials such as metals and crude oil.
OIL: Global crude oil prices rose sharply this week on the back of mounting tensions in Egypt, but gains were tempered by renewed fears that the US Federal Reserve may soon end its stimulus policy.
Markets are pricing in the risk of prolonged unrest in Egypt after the Egyptian Army overthrew and detained Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi.
While not a major crude exporter, Egypt is home to key oil choke points such as the Suez Canal and the Sumed Pipeline.
On Friday, New York crude hit US$103.13 a barrel — the highest level since May last year. Brent reached a three-month peak at US$107.58 a barrel.
By Friday on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in next month jumped to US$107.35 a barrel from US$102.88 a week earlier.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate, or light sweet crude, for next month rallied to US$102.93 a barrel compared with US$97.03 a week earlier.
PRECIOUS METALS: Gold managed a slight gain over the week despite prices tumbling on Friday as jobs data firmed the US dollar.
By late Friday on the London Bullion Market, gold rose to US$1,212.75 an ounce from US$1,192 a week earlier, while silver grew to US$19.32 an ounce from US$18.86.
On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum increased to US$1,327 an ounce from US$1,317 and palladium advanced to US$669 an ounce from US$643.
BASE METALS: Base or industrial metal prices dove on Friday, pushing most into a loss over the week.
By Friday on the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months inched up to US$6,783 a tonne from US$6,764.50 a week earlier. Three-month aluminum was US$1,783 a tonne from US$1,777, while three-month lead fell to US$2,007.75 from US$2,060.
Three-month tin fell to US$19,690 a tonne from US$19,775, nickel to US$13,526 from US$13,749 and zinc to US$1,826.50 from US$1,856.