Oil prices slide, copper strikes new record high

LONDON — World oil prices struck a three-month low point in New York this week on easing supply concerns, while strong Chinese demand helped copper reach 4,000 dollars per tonne for the first time.

By (AFP)

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Published: Sun 23 Oct 2005, 10:43 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 5:40 PM

The Commodities Research Bureau’s index of 17 commodities fell to 321.54 points on Friday from 324.31 points the previous week.

Gold: Gold prices fell as weaker oil futures reduced concerns about high inflation in the United States.

Gold “came back under pressure as sliding oil prices weighed on market sentiment”, said James Moore, an analyst at the specialist website TheBullionDesk.com.

The precious metal’s failure to advance amid a weaker dollar ”suggests further fund liquidation is on the cards in the coming sessions”, he added.

The metal’s fall came after jumping 9.0 per cent in three months to reach an 18-year high of 480.49 dollars at the start of the previous week.

Gold is seen as a safe haven amid high inflation, while a weaker US currency traditionally leads to a rise in the metal’s price.

On the London Bullion Market, gold prices fell to 462.85 dollars per ounce at the late fixing on Friday from 469.50 dollars the previous week.

Silver: Silver prices dipped after reaching the highest level for almost a year, taking a lead from record high copper futures.

Gold’s sister metal reached 7.86 dollars per ounce at Monday’s fixing, the highest level since December 7, 2004, but later fell on profit-taking.

“Silver has shown some resilience... helped to a greater extent by the buoyant copper market,” Moore said.

“However with the funds beginning to liquidate and gold declining I think silver will be hard pressed not to follow,” he added.

On the London Bullion Market, silver prices eased to 7.60 dollars per ounce at the late fixing Friday from 7.67 dollars the previous week.

Platinum and Palladium: Palladium rose to a near 11-month high point mainly on buying by speculative funds, while platinum steadied.

Palladium rose to 213 dollars per ounce at Monday’s fixing, the highest point since November 26, 2004.

Platinum had an indifferent time after hitting 944.50 dollars — the highest level for nearly 25 years — the week before.

On the London Platinum and Palladium Market (LPPM), an ounce of platinum climbed to 925.50 dollars per ounce at the late fixing Friday, from 924 dollars the previous week.

Palladium climbed to 208 dollars per ounce, from 205 dollars.

Base metals: Base metals prices fell, except for copper which rose above 4,000 dollars per tonne for the first time on strong Chinese demand.

On Thursday, three-month copper prices on the London Metal Exchange (LME) hit 4,015 dollars per tonne — the highest price for the metal since it was first quoted in its current form in 1870.

Copper futures in London have jumped by around 27 per cent since the start of 2005.

“The combination of a sharp (midweek) rebound in US equities, a slightly weaker dollar and strong Chinese data seems to have been enough to underpin the metals,” said William Adams, analyst with specialist website BaseMetals.com.

China, accounting for some 22 per cent of global copper demand, saw its economy maintain brisk growth in the first three quarters of 2005, expanding at 9.4 per cent with investment still strong and exports booming, official data showed Thursday.

By Friday, three-month copper prices on the LME rose to 3,856 dollars per tonne from 3,828.50 dollars the previous week.

Three-month aluminium prices dipped to 1,928.50 dollars per tonne from 1,933 dollars.

Three-month nickel prices fell to 11,925 dollars per tonne from 12,295 dollars.

Three-month lead prices dropped to 955 dollars per tonne from 966 dollars.

Three-month zinc prices decreased to 1,473 dollars per tonne from 1,490 dollars.

Three-month tin prices slid to 6,400 dollars per tonne from 6,525 dollars.

Oil: World oil prices fell as Hurricane Wilma looked set to avoid US oil installations and official data revealed rises in US crude inventories.

The price of crude dropped below 60 dollars per barrel to reach three-month low points in New York on Friday.

New York’s main contract fell to 59.31 dollars, the lowest level since late July and 16 per cent below the historic high of 70.85 dollars on August 30.

Prices declined as Hurricane Wilma appeared likely to avoid the main oil producing and refining areas around the US Gulf of Mexico.

Oil futures weakened as data also showed that crude stocks had risen by 5.6 million barrels in the week to October 14. The figure from US Department of Energy was almost three times higher than analysts’ forecasts of a 2.0-million-barrel increase.

Gasoline reserves meanwhile gained 2.77 million barrels, compared with market predictions of a 1.2-million-barrel decrease.

“The figures are extremely bearish,” noted Societe General analyst Deborah White. “The crude build is much larger than we expected and the market was expecting a gasoline draw and of course we saw a build.”

A barrel of Brent North Sea crude for delivery in December dropped to 57.80 dollars late Friday, compared to 59.48 dollars the previous week.

In New York, a barrel of crude for delivery in December slumped to 59.31 dollars from 61.99 dollars.

Rubber: Rubber prices retreated on easing Chinese demand, while production remained unaffected by the ongoing raining season in major producing Asian countries.

“China buying has quietened down and Tokyo prices came back below the 200-yen psychological level,” said Rashid Ahmed, a trader with Corrie Maccoll.

The raining season traditionally lowers output in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, as farmers find it more difficult to collect latex.

On TOCOM, Tokyo’s commodity exchange, natural rubber for December delivery dipped to 193.50 yen on Friday, from 198.90 yen a week earlier.

Singapore’s RSS 3 December contract decreased to 167.25 cents on Friday, from 171.00 cents the previous week.

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