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AAP

2013-01-02

A summary of trading in key commodities markets overseas from Monday:

ENERGY

Oil prices rose on Monday as US political leaders moved toward averting the fiscal cliff just hours before the deadline.

US President Barack Obama said on Monday afternoon that a deal to avert the cliff - a series of automatic tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect starting Tuesday - was in sight but not yet finalised.

Republicans and Democrats are still at an impasse over whether to put off across-the-board spending cuts and, if so, how to pay for that. There's a midnight deadline to reach a deal.

Benchmark US crude rose $US1.02 to finish at $US91.82 per barrel in New York. Oil has wavered in recent weeks along with the ups and downs of the budget negotiations. The price of oil finished December up about three per cent from the start of the month. It ranged from a low near $US77 a barrel to high around $US110 a barrel during the year.

Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, rose 49 cents to end at $US111.11 a barrel in London.

METALS

Gold prices edged higher Monday after a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff was in sight, if not yet complete. The advance capped a 12th consecutive year of gains for the metal.

February gold rose $US19.90, or 1.2 per cent, to $US1,675.80 an ounce.

Gold gained almost seven per cent in 2012 after starting the year at $US1,566.80.

Investors have been buying gold as a safe haven and as protection against inflation while the value of the dollar declined. The metal has gained almost six-fold since the start of 2000.

Silver for March delivery rose 25.20 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to $US30.22.

March copper advanced 6.3 cents, or 1.8 per cent, to $US3.6525 a pound, after a report showed that Chinese manufacturing hit a 19-month high in December, indicating that the world's second-largest economy is gaining momentum following a global slowdown.

Copper is used in many industries and its price fluctuates with the outlook for global economic growth.