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weekly round-up: commodity prices
Oil slides, metals hit by rate concerns

          LONDON, Mar 11 (AFP): World oil prices dropped below 60.0 dollars this week after official data revealed robust US energy stockpiles and the OPEC cartel maintained its crude production levels at a 25-year high.
Concerns over higher interest rates around the world weighed on metals.
The Commodities Research Bureau's index of 17 commodities fell to 319.19 points Friday, from 328.83 points the previous week.
GOLD: Gold prices dropped 30.0 dollars on selling by speculative funds spooked by expectations of higher global interest rates.
Higher borrowing costs sees funds switching investments from commodities to currencies.
Analysts expect also the US Federal Reserve and European Central Bank to continue hiking rates.
On the London Bullion Market, gold prices fell to 535 dollars per ounce at Friday's late fixing from 565 dollars the previous week.
SILVER: Silver prices fell in the wake of sister metal gold.
The previous week silver had struck the highest level for more than 22 years owing to strikes by miners in Mexico.
On March 3, silver prices climbed to 10.32 dollars per ounce the highest level since September 1983.
On the London Bullion Market, silver prices slid to 9.85 dollars per ounce at Friday's fixing, from 10.26 dollars the previous week.
PALLADIUM AND PLATINUM: Platinum and palladium prices mirrored losses made by gold and silver.
Palladium recoiled to 286 dollars per ounce Friday, from 303 dollars.
BASE METALS: Base metals prices were hit also by concerns over interest rates.
On Friday, three-month copper prices on the London Metal Exchange dropped to 4,772 dollars per tonne from 4,965.50 dollars the previous week.
Three-month aluminium prices dollars fell to 2,475 dollars per tonne from 2,365.50 dollars.
Three-month nickel prices decreased to 14,775 dollars per tonne from 15,255 dollars.
Three-month lead prices slipped to 1,175 dollars per tonne from 1,226 dollars.
Three-month zinc prices declined to 2,239 dollars per tonne from 2,365.50 dollars.
Three-month tin prices slid to 7,825 dollars per tonne from 7,880 dollars.
OIL: World oil prices plunged Wednesday after data revealed US crude stocks at a near seven-year high and the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed to keep its oil output at a near 25-year high.
Crude futures in London and New York dived below 60.0 dollars per barrel, hitting the lowest intra-day levels since February 17.
OPEC, meeting in Vienna Wednesday, agreed to keep its oil output at 28.0 million barrels per day (bpd).
The decision came as the US Department of Energy (DoE) reported that US crude reserves rose by 6.8 million barrels to 335.1 million in the week to March 3. That was way above market forecasts for a rise of 1.5 million barrels.
US crude oil reserves are some 10 per cent higher than at the same stage a year ago, and are at their highest level since May 1999, the DoE said.
In London, a barrel of Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April dived to 61.27 dollars per barrel Friday, from 63.97 dollars the previous week.
In New York, a barrel of crude for delivery in April slid to 60.58 dollars per barrel Friday from 63.15 dollars.
GRAINS AND SOYA: Grain and soya prices mainly headed lower owing to forecasts of rain in the United States which favours crop growth.
On the LIFFE, the price of a tonne of wheat for May delivery stood at 72 pounds late Friday, from 72.50 pounds a week earlier.
On the Chicago Board of Trade, the price of wheat for March delivery rose to 3.72 US dollars per bushel Friday, from 3.71 dollars.
Maize for March delivery fell to 2.22 dollars per bushel Friday from 2.30 dollars.
COTTON: Cotton prices climbed in New York as US exports rebounded.
On the New York Cotton Exchange (NYCE), the May contract advanced to 54.40 US cents per pound Friday, from 54.30 US cents one week earlier.
The Cotton Outlook Index of physical cotton stood at 58.65 US cents Thursday, from 59.55 cents the previous week.
WOOL: Wool prices reached the highest level for one year and a half owing to strong Chinese demand and a drop in the Australian dollar against its US counterpart.
A weaker Australian dollar makes the country's wool exports cheaper for buyers abroad using other currencies.
The Australian Eastern index jumped to 7.54 Australian dollars per kilo Thursday, from 7.41 Australian dollars the previous week.


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