Commodities markets summary

A summary of trading in key commodities markets overseas:


Oil prices have dipped and ended the week on a low after two weeks of gains.

Brent crude was down 1.16 per cent, or 40 US cents, at $US34.06, while US, or WTI, crude fell 2.6 per cent, or 80 US cents at $US30.89 a barrel.


Gold has risen to a three-month high in volatile trade, as a mixed US jobs report prompted investors to reassess the outlook for US interest rates in 2016, putting bullion on track for its strongest weekly performance in more than a year.

US employment gains slowed more than expected in January as the boost to hiring from unseasonably mild weather faded, but rising wages and an unemployment rate at an eight-year low suggested the labour market recovery remains firm.

"The futures curve is showing that the probability of a March (rate) hike has fallen to around 10 per cent, around the lowest levels last seen in October, but there is a greater than 50 per cent probability there will be an additional hike this year," said Suki Cooper, precious metals analyst for Standard Chartered Bank in New York.

"This has buoyed the risk-off sentiment that has boosted gold prices."

Spot gold initially rose after the jobs report but then fell to a session low of $US1,144.96 an ounce as some focused on the rise in average hourly earnings, which may have revived the prospect of rate hikes. By 3.11 pm EST (0711 Saturday AEDT) it rose to a new high at $US1,165.50, up 0.8 per cent and the highest since October 28.

US gold futures for April settled up 20 US cents at $US1,157.70 an ounce.

Spot silver was down 0.1 per cent at $US14.86 an ounce, after touching a three-month high at $US14.96.

Platinum was down 0.5 per cent at $US903 an ounce, after climbing to $US911.66, a nearly three-month high. Palladium was down 2.6 per cent at $US498.512, after hitting a one-month high at $US518.14.


Copper has fallen after US jobs data kept alive speculation about a US rate rise later in 2016, boosting the US dollar ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday in China.

The dollar index bounced back from a week of heavy losses after a mixed US jobs report, which included a fall in the unemployment rate to 4.9 per cent, the lowest since February 2008.

A stronger US dollar makes commodities priced in the US currency more expensive for buyers outside the United States.

"That dollar weakness earlier this week really buoyed the metals complex and now some of that is coming off. There's a bit of profit taking, closing out these long positions ahead of the weekend and the Chinese new year," said analyst Kash Kamal at broker Sucden Financial.

London Metal Exchange three-month copper closed down 1.2 per cent at $US4,630 a tonne, erasing similar gains in the previous session when prices hit the highest since January 4 at $US4,720 a tonne.

LME zinc, the best performer on the exchange so far in 2016, shed 2.2 per cent to finish at $US1,677 a tonne, but still gained more than three per cent during the week.

Aluminium fell 2.3 per cent to end at $US1,500, lead gave up 1.8 per cent to close at $US1,770, nickel tumbled 4.4 per cent to $US8,160 while tin bucked the weaker trend and added 1.0 per cent to reach $US15,150.

Market Data

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