Commodities markets summary

A summary of trading in key commodities markets overseas:

ENERGY

Oil prices surged on Thursday after a raging wildfire near Canada's oil sands region curbed output that mainly flows to the United States, before settling off their highs as a rebounding dollar and a huge U.S. stockpile build cut into gains.

While the oil sands facilities are mostly to the north of the wildfire in city of Fort McMurray in Alberta that is spreading south, as much as a third of Canada's daily crude capacity has been cut and some major pipelines closed after more evacuations were ordered.

Crude oil futures jumped 5 per cent before paring gains. Their retreat came as the dollar rose 0.6 per cent, its most in three weeks, making greenback-denominated oil costlier for holders of the euro and other currencies.

Brent crude settled up 39 cents, or 0.9 per cent, at $US45.01 a barrel. WTI futures rose 54 cents, or 1.2 per cent, to settle at $US44.32.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold turned lower on Thursday, dropping for the fourth straight session on pressure from the firm U.S. dollar ahead of Friday's U.S. payrolls report, which will give clues about whether the Federal Reserve will soon raise interest rates.

Spot gold was down 0.5 per cent at $US1,272.23 an ounce at 0407 AEST.

"It's mostly related to the dollar," said Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist for U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Seattle.

"You're waiting for tomorrow's employment report. It's a big one because it will really set the tone for future Fed meetings."

The U.S. dollar rose against a basket of major currencies as traders closed out profitable bets against it ahead of the payrolls data, while U.S. and European stock markets also rose.

Among other precious metals, silver turned down 0.5 per cent to $US17.28 an ounce, extending losses below Monday's 15-month high at $US18.

Soaring silver prices in 2016 mean bargain-hunting coin buyers have stepped to the sidelines while futures participants take the reins, a Silver Institute survey showed.

Spot platinum was up 0.2 per cent at $US1,056.46 and palladium gained 0.1 per cent to $US596.93 an ounce.

BASE METALS

Copper fell to its lowest in nearly three weeks on Thursday as the stronger dollar weighed on prices, with a slide below key technical support and concerns about demand adding to the downward pressure.

Chinese data released on Tuesday that showed factory activity in the world's top metals consumer shrank for a 14th consecutive month in April has blunted optimism over demand for metals.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange ended down 1.7 per cent to $US4,786 a tonne from an earlier session low of $US4,775.

"Copper has been trending lower with a deterioration in the China news flow," Societe Generale analyst Robin Bhar said.

Metals came under pressure from a jump in the dollar, which makes commodities more expensive for non-U.S. buyers.

Chinese steel and iron ore futures fell for a third straight day on Thursday after Chinese exchanges imposed curbs to quell the speculation that led to a buying frenzy last month, putting pressure on stainless steel component nickel.

Nickel closed down 4.5 per cent at $US9,020 a tonne. It touched a two-week low at $US8,985 in electronic trade on worries about market surpluses.

Zinc fell 1.4 per cent to $US1,861 a tonne and lead slipped 1.6 per cent to $US1,735.

LME aluminium slid 1.5 per cent to $US1,608.5. Tin fell 0.3 per cent to $US17,350.

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.7392-0.0073-0.98%
    AUDUSD=X
    0.5104-0.0051-0.99%
    AUDGBP=X
    0.6481-0.0066-1.01%
    AUDEUR=X