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Sun, Apr 11, 2010 - Page 10 News List

Oil spikes, gold shines as traders seek safe haven

AFP , LONDON

Oil hit a fresh 18-month peak this week on mounting optimism about a US-led global economic recovery, while safe-haven gold sparkled amid heightened concerns about the Greek debt crisis.

“Oil prices are consolidating in their new trading range, having risen to their highest level in a year and a half,” Barclays Capital analysts said in a research note. “Copper prices have breached US$8,000 per tonne, while platinum group metals are close to two-year highs.”

They added: “The commodities complex is exhibiting price divergence, with oil and metals prices testing higher, contrasting starkly with the relative underperformance of agricultural markets.”

Global financial markets were rattled once again by stubborn worries that Greece will not be able to resolve its debt and public deficit problems without outside help.

OIL: Crude oil briefly punched above US$87 on Tuesday, as the market found support from a recent batch of encouraging economic news in the US, which is the world’s largest energy consumer.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in May, jumped to US$87.09 — the highest level since Oct. 9, 2008.

“People are getting more optimistic” about the demand prospects for the US, said Ellis Eckland, an independent analyst. “It looks like the shopping activity is picking up, even the job market is picking up a little bit — that’s very bullish for oil.”

By late on Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, Texas light sweet crude for delivery in May rose to US$85.45 compared with US$84.88 on Thursday of the previous week.

On London’s Intercontinental­Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for May delivery rallied to US$85.23 from US$83.96 on Thursday of the previous week.

PRECIOUS METALS: Gold was boosted as traders sought a safe investment amid worries about Greece and low interest rates across the globe.

Gold rallied to US$1,160.03 on Friday, reaching the highest level since Jan. 11.

“Continued concerns over Greece’s financial situation, coup­led with a lack of attractive investment alternatives due to continuously low interest rate levels both in the US and the eurozone, should keep interest in gold high and should support the gold price,” Commerzbank analysts said.

By late on Friday on the London Bullion Market, gold rose to US$1,152.50 an ounce from US$1,123.50 on Thursday of the previous week.

Silver leapt to US$18.34 an ounce from US$17.69.

On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum soared to US$1,717 an ounce from US$1,660.

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