Commodities markets summary

Reported by AAP
Thursday, April 24, 2014
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A summary of trading in key commodities markets overseas:

ENERGY

Oil prices fell as US commercial crude-oil stockpiles hit an all-time high on the strength of production in the world's biggest oil-consuming country.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in June, fell 31 US cents on its first day of trade to $US101.44 a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for June shed 16 US cents to finish at $US109.11 a barrel in London.

The US Department of Energy reported commercial crude-oil stocks rose 3.5 million barrels to 397.7 million barrels for the week ended April 18.

That is the highest level of inventories since the DoE began releasing weekly data in 1982 and the highest level since 1931, according to monthly data kept by the agency.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold prices rose with renewed tensions in Eastern Europe and mixed US economic data buoying investor interest.

The most actively traded contract, for June delivery, on Wednesday settled up $US3.50, or 0.3 per cent, at $US1,284.60 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Gold drew support from escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine, after Russian Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov warned that any attack on Russians in Ukraine will be perceived as an attack against Russia.

The comments come more than a month after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea region.

Gold prices also drew support from weaker US new-home sales data, which showed sales of newly built homes fell 14.5 per cent in March from February.

BASE METALS

Copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) has clawed back some ground to close flat, while nickel held onto gains.

At the close of open outcry trading in the London ring on Wednesday, LME three-month copper was flat at $US6,670 a metric ton.

Aluminium didn't track the red metal higher, closing 0.8 per cent lower at $US1,874.50 a ton.

The preliminary HSBC China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index, a gauge of nationwide manufacturing activity, had dented copper prices early in the session as it rose only slightly to 48.3 in April. This compared with a final reading of 48.0 in March, HSBC Holdings PLC said on Wednesday.

LME three-month nickel closed 0.3 per cent higher on the day at $US18,380 a ton.

Nickel prices have surged by more than 30 per cent in the year-to-date, aided by global supply concerns amid an ore-export ban in Indonesia and persistent tensions over Ukraine, as Russia is a major supplier.

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24/04/2014 10:06Sydney, Australia. 24 April,2014
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