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API, DSH, FLT, NAB, STO, WPL,

AAP

2013-01-22

A summary of trading in key commodities markets overseas:

ENERGY

Oil prices fell as investors banked profits following gains last week driven by encouraging economic data from the United States and China, and the hostage killings in Algeria, traders say.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in March dropped 41 US cents to $US111.48 in late London trading on Monday.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for February, shed 42 US cents to $US95.14 a barrel in electronic deals, with US physical markets closed for a public holiday in the world's biggest economy and oil consumer.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold firmed as stock markets rose towards two-year highs on political moves to break a budget impasse in the United States and the euro steadied as the first euro zone finance ministers' meeting of the year got underway.

Expectations that the Bank of Japan will deliver bold monetary easing also provided support, but the absence of US players, away for the Martin Luther King public holiday, kept the market in a range below the key $US1,700 level, analysts said.

Spot gold was up 0.3 per cent to $US1,688.70 an ounce at 1605 GMT (0305 Tuesday AEDT) after gaining 1.3 per cent last week, its biggest one-week rise since late November. US gold futures for January delivery were up $US1.60 an ounce at $US1,688.60.

Spot platinum was last at $US1,674.74 an ounce, up 0.4 per cent, after hitting a three-month high of $US1,701.50 on Thursday.

Spot palladium eased 0.3 per cent to $US715.47.

Spot silver rose 0.3 per cent to $US31.94.

BASE METALS

Base metals closed a little lower on the London Metal Exchange (LME) after a quiet, range-bound start to the week.

At the PM kerb close on Monday, the LME three-month copper was down 0.1 per cent at $US8,055 a metric ton. Aluminum was 0.1 per cent lower at $US2,040.50/ton.

With US market participants away from their desks for the Martin Luther King Jnr public holiday and little on the macro agenda to drive sentiment, base metals made scant progress in either direction on Monday.