LONDON, Aug 26 (AFP): Crude oil prices rebounded, while nickel hit a historic peak and coffee futures in London reached their highest level in seven years in a volatile trading week for commodities.
On Friday, the Commodities Research Bureau's index of 17 commodities finished at 336.20 points, up from 330.62 points the previous week.
GOLD: The price of gold advanced, rebounding from a one-month low.
It jumped about $15.0 Monday amid tensions surrounding Iran's ongoing standoff with the international community over its nuclear programme.
The precious metal usually benefits from its safe-haven status in times in geopolitical instability, while gold is also seen as a good hedge against rising inflation.
On the London Bullion Market, gold prices increased to $621.25 per ounce at Friday's late fixing, from $613.90 a week earlier.
SILVER: Silver prices jumped to the highest point for almost three months.
Gold's sister metal continues to benefit from the launch earlier this year of a silver fund on the American Stock Exchange.
Silver struck $12.69 per ounce Wednesday -- a peak last reached on May 31.
On the London Bullion Market, silver prices rose to $12.40 per ounce at Friday's fixing, from $12.01 the previous week.
BASE METALS: Base metal prices climbed higher, with star performer nickel reaching a historic high on declining stocks and rising demand from steelmakers.
The price of nickel broke through the $30,000-a-tonne threshold for the first time Thursday, reaching $30,165 per tonne.
Nickel, a metal used to help prevent corrosion, has surged in value by 124 per cent so far this year, while global stockpiles have plunged 85 per cent.
Copper prices also rose amid an ongoing strike at the Escondida mine in Chile, the world's biggest copper mine.
On Friday, three-month copper prices on the LME gained to $7,506 per tonne from $7,481 the previous week.
Three-month aluminium prices firmed to $2,497 per tonne from $2,484.
Three-month nickel prices surged to $29,300 per tonne from $28,400.
Three-month lead prices advanced to $1,220 per tonne from $1,204.
Three-month zinc prices increased to $3,380 per tonne from $3,295.
Three-month tin prices rose to $8,600 per tonne from $8,425.
OIL: Crude futures rebounded late in the week as supply concerns fuelled by Iran's standoff over its nuclear programme and production problems in the United States offset a surprise jump in stocks of US motor fuel.
In line with a UN Security Council resolution, the United States and its European allies insist that Iran must stop enriching uranium by August 31 or face the threat of sanctions.
Analysts argue that sanctions could lead to Iran disrupting its vital oil supplies. Iran, the world's fourth-biggest producer of crude, exports almost three-quarters of its daily output that totals 4.0 million barrels per day.
Prices were also supported by news that BP has further cut output at the United States' biggest oil field.
US gasoline inventories rose 400,000 barrels to 205.8 million barrels in the week to August 18, the Department of Energy said in a weekly report published Wednesday.
At about 1600 GMT Friday in New York, a barrel of crude for delivery in October advanced to $73.55 per barrel from $72.10 the previous week.
In London, a barrel of Brent North Sea crude for delivery in October increased to $73.78 per barrel, from $71.92.
RUBBER: Rubber prices weakened owing to favourable growing conditions in leading Asian producer nations.
On TOCOM, Tokyo's commodity exchange, natural rubber for January delivery fell to 252.20 yen per kilogramme Friday, from 252.80 yen a week earlier.
Singapore's RSS 3 January contract slid to 213.50 US cents per kilogramme Friday, from 216.25 US cents a week earlier.
COFFEE: The price of coffee struck the highest point for more than seven years in London trade owing to low output in major producer Vietnam.
On Tuesday, Robusta coffee hit $1,586 per tonne -- last reached in May 1999. Robusta has seen its price almost double in one year and surge by 37 per cent since a month ago.
The development also lifted the price of Arabica beans which are mainly grown in Brazil, the world's leading coffee producer.
Arabica has gained 16 per cent in value over the past month.
On LIFFE, Robusta quality for November delivery rose to $1,502 per tonne Friday, from $1,460 a week earlier.
On NYBoT, Arabica for December delivery gained to 111.20 US cents per pound Friday, from 106.90 cents.
SUGAR: Sugar prices hit their lowest point this year before rebounding.
In London Tuesday the price of white sugar hit a new low for 2006, reaching $373 per tonne.
New York prices slid again below 12.0 cents, close to a nine-month low of 11.96 cents reached the previous week.
On LIFFE, the price of a tonne of white sugar for October delivery rose to 384.50 dollars, from $378 a week earlier.
On NYBot, the price of unrefined sugar for October delivery increased to 12.42 US cents per pound, from 12.25 cents.
GRAINS and SOYA: Grain prices advanced this week owing to keen buying, while soya stabilised amid rainy weather which boosts harvests but limits prices.
Weather was the factor preventing the market from becoming excited about the prospect of high prices going forward, noted Allendale analyst Joe Victor, who singled out soya as being particularly susceptible to changing weather.
On the Chicago Board of Trade, the price of wheat for September delivery rose to $3.81 per bushel Friday, from $3.61 a week earlier.
Maize for September delivery increased to $2.26 per bushel Friday, from $2.18.
September-dated soyabean meal -- in animal feed -- gained slightly to $5.50 per tonne Friday, from $5.49.
On the LIFFE, the price of a tonne of wheat for November delivery jumped to 84.75 pounds Friday, the highest level since May 2004, from 82.00 pounds.
COTTON: Prices firmed on forecasts of rising Chinese demand, and following a heatwave in the cotton-producing US states of Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi.
On the New York Cotton Exchange (NYCE), the December contract stood at 55.60 US cents per pound Friday, from 54.80 US cents a week earlier.
The Cotton Outlook Index of physical cotton rose to 60.35 US cents Thursday, from 59.85 US cents a week earlier.
WOOL: Wool prices steadied in major producer Australia.
"Buyers for China, Italy and India and the topmakers (clothing manufacturers) were dominant," the Australian Wool Industries Secretariat said.
The Australian Eastern index closed at 7.46 Australian dollars per kilo Thursday, from 7.45 the previous week.
The British Wooltops index stood at 401 pence Thursday, unchanged from the previous Thursday.