Commodities markets summary
Market watch top headlines
A summary of trading in key commodities markets overseas:
Brent oil hit a five-month high, driven mostly by geopolitical fears over Iran, but New York crude fell back as traders eyed the stronger dollar and falling equities.
Brent North Sea crude for March delivery on Thursday jumped to $US117.83 a barrel - the highest level since September 14. In later London Thursday afternoon deals, the contract stood at $US117.06, a rise of 33 US cents from Wednesday's closing level.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for March fell 69 US cents to $US95.93 per barrel, erasing earlier gains as the US dollar rose against the euro after cautious remarks from European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi.
Gold has fallen and silver has slumped to a one-week low, on pressure from a sharply higher US dollar after comments from European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi.
The most actively traded contract, for April delivery, on Thursday fell $US7.50, or 0.5 per cent, to settle at $US1,671.30 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Silver for March delivery fell 1.5 per cent to $US31.403 an ounce, the lowest since January 31.
In comments at a press conference after the ECB's regular interest-rate decision, ECB President Mario Draghi explicitly mentioned the risks posed by the recent rise in the euro.
The currency's rise could limit inflation and slow economic growth there.
That caused traders to bet that the bank may hold off on deploying further easy-money policies.
Base metals closed lower on the London Metal Exchange (LM), losing ground in line with the euro following comments by European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi.
At the PM kerb close on Thursay, LME three-month copper was down 0.5 per cent at $US8,200 a metric ton. Tin was 0.1 per cent lower at $US24,675/ton.
The euro fell to a nearly two-week low against the US dollar Thursday after Draghi stressed the downside risks to the economic outlook and inflation, including the recent appreciation of the common currency.
Draghi made an explicit reference to the rise in the euro in his prepared remarks to a press conference, commenting that the currency's strength could weigh on the inflation outlook, even if the risks were broadly balanced in the medium term.
Since base metals are priced in US dollars, the euro's slide damped their appeal to buyers using the single currency.