Commodities markets summary

Reported by AAP
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
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A summary of trading in key commodities markets overseas:

ENERGY

Oil prices have gained as investors anticipate a weekly drawdown in US crude inventories that they hope will boost prices closer to $US50 a barrel.

Brent futures are up 65 US cents, or 1.34 per cent, at $49.00, ending a four-day slide, while US West Texas Intermediary crude futures are $US1.02, or 2.12 per cent at $49.10 a barrel, at 0800 Wednesday (AEST).

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold has fallen to its lowest in more than four weeks as hawkish comments from Federal Reserve officials in the previous session sent the US dollar to a two-month high against a currency basket.

The prospect of an early rate rise, as indicated by Fed meeting minutes released last week, and a strengthening US dollar have pushed gold down more than four per cent so far in May, putting it on track for its biggest monthly decline since November.

Spot gold was down 1.5 per cent at $US1,229.25 an ounce at 1.55 pm EDT (0300 Wednesday AEST), off an earlier low of $US1,227.70. US gold futures for June delivery settled down 1.8 per cent at $US1,229.20 an ounce.

"What we're seeing is a lot of things that would mean higher rates coming together," Oxford Economics analyst Daniel Smith said.

"The US economy is actually doing reasonably well... and with higher oil prices and a tightening US labour market, everything's starting to come together to (suggest) it would be sooner rather than later."

Senior Fed officials on Monday said that rates being kept too low for too long could cause financial instability, and that the US central bank would continue with rate increases in 2017.

More Fed policymakers are scheduled to speak this week and are expected to back the case for a rate rise within months. Fed Chair Janet Yellen will be at a panel event hosted by Harvard University on Friday.

Silver fell one per cent to $US16.19 an ounce, spot platinum fell 1.1 per cent to $US995, and palladium dropped 2.6 per cent to $US534 an ounce.

BASE METALS

Copper has risen as traders and funds reversed bets on lower prices, although gains were capped by a stronger US dollar and uncertainty over demand growth in top consumer China.

London Metal Exchange benchmark copper ended up 0.9 per cent at $US4,602 a tonne, having last week touched a three-month low at $US4,540.

Copper's failure to fall below support in the $US4,525/$US4,575 area was the trigger for cutting short positions and going long, traders said. They expected the upside to be capped at $US4,630/$US4,640, near the high seen on May 20.

The focus is also on China, which accounts for nearly half of global copper demand estimated at about 22 million tonnes in 2016.

"In the short term, copper will depend on Chinese data, while supply growth is probably going to keep any price rallies suppressed," Bernstein Securities analyst Paul Gait said.

Clues to the strength of Chinese demand will come from surveys of purchasing managers in the manufacturing sector due on June 1.

Aluminium closed up 0.1 per cent at $US1,556 a tonne and nickel gained one per cent to $US8,410 a tonne, but lead traded down 0.4 per cent at $US1,650, tin lost 2.5 per cent to $US15,675 a tonne, and zinc fell 0.6 per cent.

25/05/2016 13:18Sydney, Australia. 25 May,2016
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