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AAP

2013-01-04

A summary of trading in key commodities markets overseas overnight:

ENERGY

Global oil prices have slid on profit-taking as initial euphoria faded over the "fiscal cliff" deal in the United States, analysts say.

Brent North Sea crude for February fell 33 cents to $US112.14 a barrel on Thursday in London.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in February, fell 20 cents to $US92.92 per barrel.

"Crude oil prices retreated ... following the strong rally that dominated the market on Wednesday after the US fiscal cliff deal," said analyst Myrto Sokou at the Sucden Financial brokerage.

"The US dollar started to strengthen against the euro and added some pressure to the market," she added.

The stronger greenback makes dollar-denominated crude more expensive for buyers using weaker currencies like the euro. That tends to weigh on demand and prices.

Crude futures had rallied on Wednesday following news that the United States - the world's biggest consumer of crude oil - has avoided "fiscal cliff" taxation hikes and spending cuts that had threatened to plunge it back into recession.

There are also big worries about the lifting of the debt ceiling, also at the end of February, with analysts saying the country could see a repeat of the row in summer 2011 that saw Washington's credit rating downgraded for the first time.

METALS

Gold retreated on Thursday following the previous day's rally as investors took a second look at the US budget deal and as economic data limited expectations for inflation that could draw buyers to the precious metal.

Gold for February delivery, fell $14.20, or 0.8 per cent, to settle at $1,674.60 an ounce.

Gold and silver added to their losses as the minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest policymaking meeting showed officials favored slowing or stopping the central bank's latest monetary easing program before the end of the year.

The Fed's latest easing effort, in which the bank buys Treasury and mortgage securities in an effort to stoke conomic growth, has drawn investors - worried about potential inflation down the line - into precious metals.

Silver for March delivery fell 28.7 cents to $US30.69 and March copper lost 1.7 cents to $US3.72 a pound.