Oil prices rose this week as violence in Egypt fueled tight supply fears, while a drop in the US dollar due to increased expectations of US stimulus tapering lifted demand for gold, analysts said.
OIL: Oil prices rallied, with Brent hitting four-month highs, due to fears that violence in Egypt could affect stability in the Middle East.
Brent crude on Thursday reached US$111.53 a barrel — the highest point since the start of April.
Traders are worried that the unrest could hit crude shipments through the Suez Canal and Sumed Pipeline, which provide a link between Europe and oil producers in the Gulf. The Suez Canal carries about 2.5 million barrels daily, or 2.7 percent of global supply.
Meanwhile, oil supplies in the north Africa and the Middle East were being hit by strikes in crude producer Libya, traders said.
Oil prices also gained support from a decline in US crude stockpiles, indicating firmer demand in the world’s largest economy.
On Wednesday, the US said crude stockpiles declined by 2.8 million barrels last week, more than the drop of 1.5 million barrels expected by Dow Jones Newswires.
By Friday on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in October stood at US$110.01 a barrel, compared with US$107.52 for next month’s expired contract a week earlier.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate, or light sweet crude, for next month climbed to US$107.59 a barrel from US$105.41 the previous week.
BASE METALS: Prices mostly rose, with support coming from recent upbeat economic data out of China, the world’s No. 2 economy and largest consumer of base, or industrial, metals, traders said.
By Friday on the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months jumped to US$7,381 a tonne from US$7,276 a week earlier. Three-month aluminum climbed to US$1,927 a tonne from US$1,865.75, lead rose to US$2,234 a tonne from US$2,174 and tin decreased to US$21,800 a tonne from US$22,140.
Three-month nickel advanced to US$14,805 a tonne from US$14,700, while zinc rose to US$1,991.5 a tonne from US$1,945.
COCOA: Prices rose, but failed to improve on 11-month peaks in London and the highest levels for eight months in New York seen last week, on the back of dry weather in leading producer Ivory Coast.
By Friday on LIFFE, London’s futures exchange, cocoa for delivery in December gained to ￡1,652 a tonne from ￡1,638 a week earlier.
On New York’s NYBOT-ICE exchange, cocoa for December rose to US$2,491 a tonne from US$2,464.