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ALZ, SGP, JBH, NCM, WDC,

AAP

2012-11-21

A summary of trading in key commodities markets overseas:

ENERGY

Oil prices slumped on fresh economic strains caused by a downgrade to France's credit rating, and on easing Middle East supply concerns amid hopes of an Israel-Gaza truce, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in January, slid $US2.61 to $US96.67 a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for January shed $US2.30 to $US109.40 a barrel in late London deals. Oil prices had struck one-month highs on Monday after gains of about two US dollars a barrel on the Israel-Gaza violence.

Moody's cut the French government bond rating by one notch from the highest level to "Aa1" and warned that an additional downgrade was possible.

Gaza militants said a Cairo-brokered truce in their seven-day war with Israel would be announced on Tuesday, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged them to choose between "the sword" and peace.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold futures fell slightly in light trading, tracking a pullback in the euro on caution ahead of a meeting of euro-zone finance ministers and a speech from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

The most actively traded contract, for December delivery, on Tuesday was down $US2.80, or 0.2 per cent, at $US1,731.60 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Gold traders stepped to the sidelines Tuesday ahead of a set of events that could spur swings in the precious metal.

Euro-zone finance ministers were set to meet on Tuesday in Brussels, and are expected to discuss the next round of international aid to Greece. Additionally, Bernanke is set to speak in New York.

BASE METALS

Base metals are little changed on the London Metal Exchange (LME) as investors shrug off France's debt downgrade but exercise caution ahead of feedback from a euro-zone finance minister meeting in Brussels.

At the PM kerb close on Tuesday, LME three-month copper was down 0.3 per cent at $US7,782 a metric ton. Tin, meanwhile, was up just 0.02 per cent at $US20,800/ton.