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AAP

2013-02-11

A summary of trading in key commodities markets overseas:

ENERGY

NEW YORK - Crude oil prices closed mixed on Friday as investors weighed a big supply in the US, encouraging trade data from China and renewed tensions with Iran.

New York's benchmark contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for March delivery, settled 11 US cents lower from Thursday at $US95.72 a barrel.

In London trade, Brent North Sea crude for March leaped $US1.66 to settle at $US118.90 a barrel.

"The WTI crude oil market is exceedingly well-supplied," said Tim Evans, an analyst at Citi Futures.

Compared with a year ago, Evans said, US crude oil stockpiles were 9.6 per cent higher and oil production was up about 22 per cent, providing an additional 1.27 million barrels a day of production.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold slipped, locking in a loss for the week, as some improving economic data and an upcoming holiday in major consumer China pushed traders to cash out ahead of the weekend.

The most actively traded contract, for April delivery, fell $US4.40, or 0.3 per cent, to settle at $US1,666.90 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest since January 31.

During the week, futures fell 0.2 per cent. Investor demand for the metal has been hit by signs of an accellerating global economic recovery that has enhanced the appeal of other assets.

Comex silver for March delivery rose 0.1 per cent to $US31.441 a troy ounce.

BASE METALS

Base metals on the London Metal Exchange (LME) closed higher after China trade date lifted buying interest, although analysts said near-term trading is likely to remain choppy as Lunar New Year celebrations in China start over the weekend.

At the close of open-outcry trading on Friday, LME three-month copper was 1.1 per cent higher at $US8,293 a metric ton, defying the euro which it had tracked lower Thursday and which had drifted lower over the session to trade down on the day against the US dollar by Friday's close.

The metals drew strength overnight from China, the world's largest consumer of industrial metal.

Data on Friday showed the country's trade surplus was higher than expected at $US29.2 billion ($A28.55 billion) in January, compared with a median forecast of $US26.6 billion ($A26.01 billion), though less than December's surplus of $US31.6 billion ($A30.90 billion).