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ANZ, BLD, CSR, DLX, ELD, FLT, FXJ, MRN, GNC, LEI, LOV, MND, NAB, QFX, TLS,

AAP

2012-11-20

A summary of trading in key commodities markets overseas:

ENERGY

Oil prices spiked as violence intensified in the Israel-Gaza conflict, sparking fresh concern about supplies from the crude-rich Middle East, and after a pre-weekend blast on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

The market also rallied on rising prospects that top oil consumer the United States can avoid a return to recession by pulling back from a "fiscal cliff" of tax increases and spending cuts due to take effect on January 1.

In late afternoon deals in London on Monday, Brent North Sea crude for January delivery hit a one-month high at $US111.90 per barrel - a level last seen on October 22. It later stood at $US111.77, up $US2.28 from Friday's closing level.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in January, or West Texas Intermediate (WTI) soared $US2.36 to close at $US89.29 a barrel.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold prices rallied on signs that US lawmakers would reach a compromise averting automatic tax increases and spending cuts, and as ongoing conflict in the Middle East boosted demand for a haven.

The most actively traded contract, for December delivery, on Monday rose $US19.70, or 1.2 per cent, to settle at $US1,734.40 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. This was the highest settlement price since September 18.

BASE METALS

Base metals closed higher on the London Metal Exchange (LME), boosted by optimism that US lawmakers may be closer to addressing the looming "fiscal cliff" as well the release of some encouraging economic data.

At the PM kerb close on Monday, LME three-month copper was up 2.6 per cent at $US7,804 a metric ton. Nickel gained the most, ending the session 3.2 per cent higher at $US16,475/ton.

Existing-home sales increased 2.1 per cent on the month to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 4.79 million, the National Association of Realtors said.

Sales in October were up 10.9 per cent on the year, and the previous month's figures were revised downward to a reading of 4.69 million from 4.75 million.

The results, the 16th consecutive month of year-over-year increases in home sales, surpassed analysts' forecasts.