Commodities markets summary
Market watch top headlines
A summary of trading in key commodities markets overseas:
Dimming hopes for stronger global economic growth and the US' persistently brimming stockpiles pushed crude oil prices sharply lower Thursday, with both major benchmarks losing more than 3.7 per cent.
Demand expectations lost ground after data signaled more weak economic growth in the United States, China and Europe, and US Energy Department figures showed an unexpected expansion of stockpiles.
The US benchmark, West Texas Intermediate crude for July delivery, sank $US3.25 from Wednesday's price to $US78.20 a barrel, the lowest level since the beginning of October.
In London Brent North Sea for July fell $US3.46 from Wednesday's close to $US89.23 a barrel, its first trip below the $US90 line since December 2010.
Precious metals slumped, with silver settling at a 16-month low after a set of weak economic data limited demand for the metal both as an inflation hedge and an industrial raw material.
The most actively traded silver contract, for July delivery, on Thursday fell $US1.55, or 5.5 per cent, to settle at $US26.839 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. That's the lowest settlement price since January 25, 2011.
Gold also slumped on the day, falling $US50.30, or 3.1 per cent, to settle at $US1,565.50 an ounce, a three-week low and the first time the metal settled below the $US1,600 mark since June 11.
The losses came as some investors were disappointed that the Federal Reserve didn't announce stronger steps to boost the US economy after its policymaking committee met on Wednesday.
Base metals closed sharply lower on the London Metal Exchange (LME), weighed by global growth concerns and disappointment over the Federal Reserve's failure to announce aggressive stimulus measures.
At the PM kerb close on Thursday, LME three-month copper was 2.7 per cent lower at $US7,341 a metric ton. The red metal hit a near-two-week low at $US7,325/ton on Thursday.
Markets fell across the board Thursday after the Fed stopped short of announcing strong stimulus measures at its monthly rate setting meeting the previous day.