A roundup of activity in key commodity markets overnight:
Oil prices fell on Monday amid worries about a faltering global economic recovery and speculation that the OPEC may raise supply.
New York’s main contract, WTI light sweet crude for delivery in July, finished the trading session at $US99.01 a barrel, a loss of $1.21 from Friday’s closing level.
In London, Brent North Sea crude for July delivery shed $1.36 to settle at $US114.48 a barrel.
The market was looking to Wednesday’s meeting in Vienna of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, the 12-nation cartel that pumps about 40 per cent of global supply.
Most analysts expected the cartel would leave production quotas unchanged, despite a surge in crude oil prices spurred by unrest in the Arab world, particularly in Libya.
Tehran’s representative to OPEC said Monday that the Islamic republic is against any increase in OPEC output.
OPEC’s second-biggest crude producer, Iran favours high oil prices and traditionally opposes an increase in production of the cartel.
The country currently holds the rotating OPEC presidency for the first time since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Gold rose to its highest price in more than a month on Monday, as fears of a slowing US economy and expectations that Federal Reserve monetary policy would remain easy prompted safe-haven demand.
Spot gold was up 0.1 per cent at $1,542.79 an ounce by 2:39 pm EDT (1839 GMT). Gold initially hit a session high of $1,553.30, its loftiest since early May, but pared gains as the dollar strengthened against the euro.
Bullion hit a record $1,575.79 an ounce on May 2.
US August gold futures settled up $4.80 at $1,547.20, having traded from $1,542 to $1,553.90. COMEX gold futures volume was below 100,000 lots, almost 60 per cent under its 30-day average, extending last week’s weaker turnover.
Gold’s weekly charts showed prices were well supported within a long-term upward trend channel above its 50-day moving average, said Adam Sarhan of Sarhan Capital.
Spot silver rose 1.3 per cent to $36.68, rebounding from near two-week lows in the previous session. That brought the gold/silver ratio to 42.1, its lowest since Thursday, denoting its outperformance over gold in the last few days.
Silver prices have fallen more than a quarter since hitting a record $49.51 on April 28 but are up 19 per cent on the year, compared with gold’s 9 per cent rise.
Strong interest by US managed money more than offset traditionally weaker gold jewellery demand in the summer ahead of India’s wedding season, a major gold buying event.
Speculative holdings of gold futures notched their largest increase in 13 months last week, according to data from the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Platinum was up 84 cents at $1,811.99 an ounce, while palladium was up 1.1 per cent at $788.47, having risen as much as 1.7 per cent to an intraday peak at $793.50, its highest since early May.
Copper ended the first trading day of the new week on a firmer footing, buoyed by a softer dollar and output disruptions in Chile, the world’s top producer.
London Metal Exchange (LME) three-month copper rose $36 to end at $9,135 a tonne. In New York, the July COMEX copper contract firmed 0.75 cent to settle at $4.1420 per lb.
Despite the positive finish, trading volumes were extremely thin as the Shanghai Futures Exchange shut for a one-day holiday in China.
In late New York business, close to 26,000 lots exchanged hands, more than 40 per cent below the 30-day norm, according to preliminary data from Thomson Reuters.
The bulk of copper’s move came from news that Codelco’s El Teniente, Chile’s fourth-biggest mine, was working at less than half of capacity on Monday as most staff workers stayed off the job for a third day to avoid violence by striking contractors, the company said.
LME copper inventories rose 2,225 tonnes to 475,700 tonnes, their highest level in more than a year, data showed.
Attention is turning to China’s copper import figures, which are due later this week and are expected to show improvement from the first four months of the year that saw refined imports drop 29 per cent from year-ago levels.
Zinc ended up $14 at $2,272 a tonne, after hitting its highest point since end-April at $2,315. It ran into chart-based resistance at the 200 day moving average near the $2,318 area.
Lead jumped $70 to end at $2,502 a tonne, a gain of nearly three per cent.
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