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

AAP

2013-02-27

A summary of trading in key commodities markets overseas:

ENERGY

Global crude oil prices dived to fresh one-month lows as inconclusive Italian national elections sparked fresh economic uncertainty in the eurozone, dealers say.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April sank to $112.61 per barrel - the lowest point since January 28. It stood at $112.78, down $1.66 from Monday's closing level, in later London deals.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) or light sweet crude for April, slid to $91.92 a barrel - a trough last witnessed on January 4. The contract later pulled back to $92.35, down 76 cents from Monday.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold futures snapped to a one-week high as investors step in after the Federal Reserve chief indicated the central bank's bond-buying program would continue.

The most actively traded contract, for April delivery, on Tuesday rose $US28.90, or 1.8 per cent, to settle at $US1,615.50 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest ending price since February 14.

In remarks to Congress, Ben Bernanke signalled that the Fed would continue its bond-buying programs, arguing that the benefits of the policies outweighed the risks.

BASE METALS

Base metals are mostly higher at the close of London Metal Exchange (LME) trading, boosted by US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's reiteration of his support for the central bank's stimulus measures.

At the PM kerb close on Tuesday, LME three-month copper as up 0.3 per cent at $US7,858.50 a metric ton. Zinc was 0.5 per cent higher at $US2,098.50/ton.

Strong homes sales data from the US Tuesday added to the positive tone, said analysts. Base metals are used widely in construction and manufacturing, making them sensitive to such economic readings.

New-home sales in the US posted the biggest monthly jump in nearly two decades last month, rising 15.6 per cent on the month in January to reach 437,000, the highest level since July 2008. This was the biggest monthly increase since April 1993.

Elsewhere, US consumer confidence rebounded this month to the highest level since November.