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Commodities markets summary

Reported by AAP
Friday, August 29, 2014
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A summary of trading in key commodities markets overseas:

ENERGY

Oil prices have traded mixed amid renewed tension between Ukraine and Russia and a batch of encouraging US economic reports.

The main US contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for October delivery, climbed for the third day in a row on Thursday, adding 67 cents at $US94.55 a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for October fell 26 cents to $US102.46 a barrel.

The WTI contract was lifted by stronger-than-expected US economic growth data for the second quarter that raised hopes for stronger demand in the world's largest oil consumer.

The economy of the world's largest oil consumer expanded at an annual rate of 4.2 per cent, the Commerce Department said, revising upward its July estimate of 4.0 per cent.

The numbers were "very supportive" of WTI, said Bob Yawger of Mizuho Securities USA.

Analysts, who had expected a downward revision to second-quarter gross domestic product, said the latest data, coupled with recent positive monthly data, pointed to better growth in the rest of the year.

PRECIOUS METALS

Palladium closed at a fresh 13-year high as an intensifying conflict between Russia and Ukraine reanimated worries about supply.

Meanwhile gold rose to a one-week high as the political tension fanned investor interest in the haven asset.

The most actively traded gold contract, for December delivery, rose $US7.00, or 0.6 per cent, to settle at $US1,290.40 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the Nymex.

Palladium for December delivery settled $US3.40, or 0.4 per cent, higher at $US898.10 a troy ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest level since February 21, 2001.

Ukraine on Thursday accused Russia of invading the country and seizing the coastal town of Novoazovsk and several villages near the border with Russia.

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council and the European Council to respond to what he said was "the introduction of Russian forces into Ukraine."

Last year, Russia produced 41 per cent of the world's palladium supply, according to data from specialty chemicals maker Johnson Matthey PLC.

Some investors worry that Western trade sanctions against Russia, or retaliatory trade sanctions from the Kremlin, will disrupt the flow of palladium to the market.

BASE METALS

Copper prices posted their steepest declines in nearly four months on Thursday as fears of weaker demand for the metal from China and Europe sparked a selloff.

The most actively traded contract, for December delivery, fell 4.80 Us cents, or 1.5 per cent, to settle at $US3.1505 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. This was the steepest one-day drop since April 30 and the lowest settlement price since August 19.

Copper's march lower was tipped off by data showing that China's industrial profit growth slowed to 13.5 per cent on-year in August from 17.9% on-year growth in July. China is the world's top copper user and disappointing economic reports from the country have kept copper prices under pressure for bulk of 2014.

Some investors hope that the string of disappointing economic data would spur Beijing to launch targeted stimulus measures to ensure growth reaches the government's 7.5% target, but so far no such programs have been announced, said Ira Epstein, a broker with the Linn Group.

"It's disappointing to the market because China is 40% of the usage in this market," he said.

30/08/2014 08:13Sydney, Australia. 30 August,2014
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