Commodities markets summary

Reported by AAP
Friday, March 6, 2015
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A summary of trading in key commodities markets overseas:

ENERGY

Oil prices have climbed as Libyan unrest offset a jump in US crude stockpiles, analysts say.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in April added US59 cents to $US52.12 a barrel, while trading continued.

Brent North Sea crude for April also gained US59 cents to $US61.14 a barrel approaching midday in London.

The US Department of Energy (DoE) on Wednesday said commercial crude inventories jumped by 10.3 million barrels in the week February 27, higher than analyst forecasts.

Inventories have set new records for five straight weeks, and US oil production is already high at 9.3 million barrels per day.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold eased, changing direction and falling below $US1,200 an ounce as short-covering dried up after buoying prices following the European Central Bank's (ECB) announcement that it will lift its 2016 inflation forecast.

The ECB held interest rates unchanged at record lows while raising next year's inflation expectation to 1.5 per cent from 1.3 per cent and predicting 2017 inflation at 1.8 per cent.

Spot gold was down 0.04 per cent at $US1,199.45 an ounce by 2:10 pm EST (1910 GMT). US gold for April delivery settled down 0.4 per cent at $US1,196.20 an ounce.

The US dollar hit an 11.5-year peak against a basket of leading currencies.

Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, saw its holdings drop to a one-month low of 760.80 tonnes this week, having posted a near eight tonne fall, its biggest one-day outflow for 2015 so far.

Spot silver was flat at $US16.19 an ounce, while palladium was down 0.5 per cent at $US824.78 an ounce and platinum was down 0.02 per cent at $US1,176.95 an ounce.

BASE METALS

Most base metals have climbed on hopes for more stimulus measures in China after the top consumer cut its annual economic growth target, but copper dipped after inventories surged again, highlighting worries about oversupply.

Nearly all of the main contracts on the London Metal Exchange (LME) saw an uplift following news from China's annual parliamentary meeting that the world's second biggest economy plans to step up spending after reducing its growth target to seven per cent from 7.5 per cent.

Three-month LME copper was one of only two contracts in the red, falling 0.1 per cent to close at $US5,835 a tonne.

This contrasted with gains in lead, ending 2.6 per cent stronger at $US1,820 a tonne, the highest in more than two weeks, and tin, finishing 1.9 per cent up at $US18,140.

LME aluminium edged up 0.1 per cent to close at $US1,802 a tonne.

Nickel ended 1.8 per cent firmer at $US14,200 a tonne, extending Wednesday's two per cent rebound from the lowest levels in nearly 14 months despite another rise in LME stocks to a record high.

Traders said the modest increase in stocks of 168 tonnes was overshadowed by 5,604 tonnes of stocks being cancelled, when owners of metal signal to the warehouse they wish to take future delivery, demonstrating increased demand.

Zinc finished down 0.5 per cent at $US2,020 a tonne.

06/03/2015 23:29Sydney, Australia. 6 March,2015
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