Commodities markets summary 20 may 2013

ENERGY

World oil prices rose for the third day in a row after a better-than-expected reading on US consumer confidence boosted hopes for stronger energy demand in the top global economy.

The US benchmark contract, West Texas Intermediate for June delivery, rose 86 US cents from Thursday to close at $US96.02 a barrel on Friday.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in July also rose 86 US cents, settling at $US104.64 a barrel in London.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold fell for the seventh straight trading day, notching its longest losing streak since the financial crisis as the metal approached a fresh low.

Fuelling the latest leg of gold’s selloff — which has sent prices down 7.4 per cent, or more than $US100 — were US indicators that pointed to an improving economy.
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Gold for May delivery, the front-month futures contract, on Friday slid $US22.20, or 1.6 per cent, to $US1,364.90 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

That closing price is just shy of the $US1,360.60 an ounce hit on April 15, the second day of a record two-day route that shaved $US200 off gold prices.

The most actively traded gold contract, for June delivery, ended at $US1,364.70, also declining by $US22.20.

BASE METALS

Copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) closed higher, although earlier gains stalled in the European afternoon in a quiet trading session as the US dollar’s strength resumed.

Meanwhile, the potential ability of warehouse exit queues to affect prices came back into focus with global stockpile shifts showing volatility this month.

By the close of open-outcry trading on Friday, copper was 0.3 per cent higher on the previous day’s settlement at $US7,300 a metric ton, having drifted a touch from its intraday high as the US dollar resumed a stronger pattern against the euro.

The US dollar strengthened after some upbeat US data including consumer-confidence figures.

Overall, most base metals climbed in the session as upward momentum continued from Thursday and some demand-side data points — including European auto sales, which increased for the first time in 20 months — were a positive surprise to the market.

Only nickel and aluminum closed slightly lower.

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Pramod Baviskar

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