Commodities markets summary

A summary of trading in key commodities markets overseas:

ENERGY

Oil prices hit $US50 a barrel on Thursday for the first time in seven months, then fell as investors worried robust price gains could encourage more output and add to the global glut.

Wildfires in Canada's oil sands, unrest in the Nigerian and Libyan energy sectors, and a near economic meltdown in OPEC member Venezuela have knocked out nearly four million barrels per day in immediate production, sparking a buying frenzy in crude futures.

Brent and US crude's West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures have risen nearly 90 per cent from 12-year lows hit this winter.

They have recouped about half of what they lost since mid-2014 when both traded at above $US100 a barrel.

A climb above $US50 per barrel could spur producers, particularly U.S. shale drillers, to revive scrapped operations, which could bloat supplies and trigger a new selloff, analysts said.

"We are viewing current risk/reward ratios as unfavorable toward new longs at current levels," said Jim Ritterbusch of Chicago-based oil markets consultancy Ritterbusch & Associates, who cites a potential drop of Brent to $US47.50.

Brent surged as high as $US50.51, its highest since early November, then retreated and settled down 15 cents at $US49.59 a barrel.

WTI fell eight cents to settle at $US49.48, after reaching $US50.21, its highest since early October.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold lost its early gains on Thursday, hovering just above the prior session's seven-week low as the US was bolstered by hawkish comments from a Federal Reserve president.

A US rate hike may come "fairly soon" if data confirm the economy is continuing to grow and labor markets are still tightening, said Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell, a permanent voter on the Fed's rate-setting committee.

Spot gold was down 0.3 per cent at $US1,220.16 an ounce by 2.27pm EDT (0427 AEST).

The metal had fallen to its lowest since April 6 at $US1,217.25 on Wednesday. US gold settled down 0.3 percent at $US1,220.40 an ounce.

Earlier, the dollar had extended losses and gold prices firmed after data showed orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods surged in April.

BASE METALS

Copper prices hit two-week highs on Thursday as stronger oil and a weaker US dollar triggered fund buying, but the rally is expected to fade on a poor outlook for demand growth in top consumer China.

Traders said oil climbing above $US50 a barrel for the first time in nearly seven months had helped boost sentiment in industrial metals markets.

Plus, a weaker US currency makes dollar-denominated metals cheaper for non-US firms; a relationship used by funds to generate buy and sell signals from numerical models.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange ended up 0.2 percent at $US4,661 a tonne, from an earlier session high at $US4,712.

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.71850.000.00%
    AUDUSD=X
    0.49140.000.00%
    AUDGBP=X
    0.64640.000.00%
    AUDEUR=X