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AAP

2013-01-29

A summary of trading in key commodities markets overseas:

ENERGY

Global oil prices staged a light rebound, reversing earlier losses after news of strong durable goods orders in top crude consumer the United States, dealers say.

In late Monday afternoon London deals, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in March added seven cents to $US113.35 per barrel, after earlier rising close to a three-month peak at $US113.80.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for March or West Texas Intermediate (WTI), closed 56 cents higher at $US96.44 a barrel.

New US orders for durable manufactured goods surged higher in December, led by a jump in commercial aircraft orders, government data showed.

Orders for durable goods - long-lasting products such as vehicles, computers and machinery - rose to $US230.7 billion ($A221.6 billion), up 4.6 per cent from November, the Commerce Department said.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold futures settled lower, locking in a four-day losing streak, as some investors shed futures positions ahead of Comex option expiration while others moved to the sidelines before the start of a Federal Reserve policy meeting.

The most actively traded contract, for February delivery, on Monday fell $US3.70, or 0.2 per cent, to settle at $US1,652.90 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Gold prices faced pressure from Comex gold options for February, which expire Monday to become February-delivery futures contracts, brokers said.

Some gold traders were also cautious to cut their gold holdings ahead of the year's first Federal Open Market Committee meeting, which begins Tuesday.

BASE METALS

Most base metals closed slightly higher in London Metal Exchange floor trading, following a mixed batch of US economic data.

At the PM kerb close on Monday, LME three-month copper was up 0.2 per cent at $US8,050 a metric ton. Aluminum was also 0.2 per cent higher at $US2,049.50/ton.

Strong durable goods data from the US provided some support to base metals Monday, although gains soon fizzled when US pending home sales data undershot expectations.

Orders for long-lasting manufactured goods rose 4.6 per cent last month from November, the US Commerce Department said. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast a two per cent rise in December.

Later, the National Association of Realtors said its seasonally-adjusted index for US pending sales of existing homes fell 4.3 per cent in December from November to a reading of 101.7.