Oil and gold rally on bank rescue plans

LONDON - Oil, metals and almost all other traded commodities rose across the board on Tuesday in a broad relief rally as financial markets digested a coordinated effort to recapitalise the world's banking system.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Tue 14 Oct 2008, 6:16 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 2:18 PM

With the spectre of recession on the horizon, analysts said the rally was unlikely to be sustained, but in the short term dealers reported a wave of buying.

US light crude oil futures rose more than $3 to over $84 a barrel, spot gold jumped 2 percent to a session high of $853.50 an ounce, while copper, platinum, silver, wheat, coffee and sugar all made partial recoveries from recent sharp falls.

‘Equities, and markets in general, are picking up, which is supporting commodities,’ said Standard Bank analyst Walter de Wet.

Financial markets surged on news the United States could pump $250 billion into US banks in what Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke called a comprehensive attempt to end the credit crisis.

Bernanke said in an editorial in the Wall Street Journal that new US measures to aid the financial system would help restore normality to markets. Details of the plan are to be announced later on Tuesday.

Equities and commodities bounced after the announcement, with European shares rising more than 5 percent, tracking a sharp rise in Asian markets.

On the currency markets, the dollar slipped against the euro

as investors cheered European plans to stabilise floundering banks, after Britain, Germany and France announced plans to recapitalise their banking systems.

‘Prices are being heavily influenced by financial markets but this is by no means a total cure, it is glimmer of hope. I don't think anyone thinks the economic crisis is over,’ said Tony Machacek at Bache Financial.

SHORT-TERM RALLY?

Among the biggest gainers on Tuesday was copper, which saw its three-months futures contract on the London Metal Exchange jump as high as $5,500 a tonne, up 7.5 percent, from $5,115 at the close on Monday.

The metal, used in construction and power industries, rose almost 7 percent on Monday but a 22 percent drop in prices last week means that copper is still well below recent highs.

Copper prices have dropped 40 percent since a record high of $8,940 a tonne on July 2 on concerns about the prospects for global demand as the West faces the prospect of recession.

‘With the likelihood of a global recession rising, industrial metals prices will face further downward pressure,’ said Merrill Lynch in a research note.

‘As global industrial and construction activity slows even more, copper and aluminium demand could take a hit.’

Analysts also were cautious over the outlook for oil and gold as consumers tighten their belts in coming months.

Commodities bull Goldman Sachs on Monday cut its year-end US crude oil target to $70 a barrel, down from a previous forecast of $115, slashed its average 2009 forecast by a third to $86, and warned that prices could hit $50 if the current financial crisis worsened.

A looming global recession could make even aggressive members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) more tolerant of cheaper oil, but the group still needs to cut output by early next year to control swelling stocks and insure against a price collapse.

Dealers said gold could come under pressure in later trade if equities extended their gains, curbing interest in the precious metal as a haven from risk.

‘If market sentiment improves, gold will struggle more and more to make higher ground, especially if the US dollar remains at current levels or strengthens,’ de Wet said.

Grains and soft commodities such as coffee and sugar joined the general rally.

Most-traded March 2009 wheat on the Chicago Board of Trade rose almost 2 percent to $6.20-3/4 a bushel and London January robusta coffee was also up 2 percent at $1,850 a tonne.


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