Commodities markets summary
Market watch top headlines
A summary of trading in key commodities markets overseas:
Global oil prices slid as traders worried over poor economic data, a potential end to US stimulus measures, and signs of weaker-than-expected American crude demand, analysts say.
Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April fell $US1.57 to $US114.03 a barrel in late Thursday afternoon deals in London.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for April tumbled $US2.20 to $US93.02 per barrel.
The market accelerated earlier losses after downbeat reports on US jobs and European business activity which compounded concerns about flagging global demand for energy.
Gold futures have inched into positive territory as some investors repurchased previously sold positions to lock in profits on gold's five-day slide, while others bought gold at levels not seen in seven months.
The most actively traded contract, for April delivery, on Thursday rose 60 US cents to settle at $US1,578.60 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Gold prices steadied as investors who bet on lower prices in recent days returned to the market as buyers in order to lock in their profits, said George Gero, a senior vice president with RBC Capital.
Analysts at Standard Bank said that the Fed's discussion of ending its quantitative easing (QE) measures early had a "dampening effect" on investor appetite for gold.
The money printing measures were widely viewed as inflationary, and helped drive investors toward inflation hedges like gold.
Gold prices have also struggled amid a raft of stronger economic data, which has soothed long-running concerns about global growth and lured some fund managers away from haven assets.
Base metals on the London Metal Exchange (LME) have closed significantly lower after the US dollar strengthened and sentiment toward risk-related assets soured after Federal Reserve minutes revealed a more hawkish tone from the US central bank.
At the close of open-outcry trading on Thursday, LME three-month copper was 1.3 per cent lower on Wednesday's settlement at $US7,860 a metric ton.
At the close, LME three-month nickel was 3.15 per cent lower on the day at $US16,630, closing below the key psychological $US17,000/ton level it had recently held.