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Sunday, February 19, 2006

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MARKET & COMMODITIES
 
Oil prices rebound ahead of US holiday weekend
Commoditiesí prices tumble
2/19/2006
 

          LONDON, Feb 18 (AFP): World oil prices dived below 60 dollars this week, as a jump in stockpiles of US crude inventories offset concerns about possible supply disruptions in major exporter Iran.
Metals fell across the board on profit-taking after recently striking historic and multi-year high points.
The Commodities Research Bureau's index of 17 commodities dropped to 323.33 points Friday, from 336.58 points the previous week.
GOLD: Gold prices extended losses as geopolitical concerns receded.
Gold prices had hit 575.35 dollars per ounce in London trading on February 2, the highest level since January 1981, on the back of rising geopolitical concerns, particularly over Iran's nuclear activities, which have since eased.
On the London Bullion Market, gold prices fell to 551.70 dollars per ounce at Friday's late fixing from 557 dollars the previous week.
SILVER: Silver prices mirrored losses by sister metal gold.
Silver had struck 9.935 dollars per ounce on February 2, the highest point since March 1984.
On the London Bullion Market, silver prices dropped to 9.46 dollars per ounce at Friday's fixing, from 9.55 dollars the previous week.
PALLADIUM AND PLATINUM: Platinum and palladium prices fell even though Chinese buyers entered the market.
Platinum, used in jewellery and catalytic converters for automobiles, had reached a historic peak of 1,085.50 dollars on February 3 in the wake of gains by other precious metals.
On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, an ounce of platinum fell to 1,012 dollars per ounce at the late fixing Friday, from 1,066 dollars the previous week. Palladium slid to 283 dollars per ounce Friday, from 298 dollars.
Another report adds: Oil prices shot higher on global markets Friday for the second day in a row, rebounding from losses over the past week amid positioning ahead of a long holiday weekend in the United States.
Tensions in key oil producer Nigeria and fears about a possible cutback from the OPEC oil cartel also kept the market nervous.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in March, climbed 1.19 dollars to 59.65 dollars per barrel in closing deals.
In London, the price of Brent North Sea crude for April delivery added 1.10 dollars to close at 59.89 dollars per barrel.
Oil prices had tumbled Wednesday after the weekly US Department of Energy inventories report showed better-than- expected US crude and heating oil supplies.
In the wake of the news, New York crude futures hit a two- month low Wednesday, sinking to 57.60 dollars per barrel.
US crude stocks are now about 11 per cent higher than at the same stage last year, while gasoline and distillates stockpiles are up 1.8 per cent and 14 per cent respectively.
Oil prices began to rebound Thursday as tensions over Iran came back into focus.
The unfolding crisis over Iran has led to concerns of possible disruptions to the country's oil exports of 2.6 million barrels of crude per day.
Iran insisted Thursday that it was not seeking a nuclear weapon, rejecting accusations by France that its atomic drive was "clandestine" and "military" in nature.
In Nigeria, Africa's biggest crude exporter, supply worries persisted owing to simmering tensions there, dealers said.
Anglo-Dutch energy giant Royal Dutch Shell said Friday that a fire has been extinguished at an oil well in the Niger Delta, but added that a nearby plant remained closed with a production loss of 37,800 barrels per day.
Shell was forced to close down four of its Niger Delta flow stations last month, following violent guerrilla attacks, and was already losing 106,000 barrels per day in production before Thursday's fire.

 

 
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