LONDON - Gold’s value slid this week as the precious metal lost some of its haven status after the Federal Reserve agreed to scale back its huge stimulus programme.
The value of other metals also fell after Wednesday’s move by the Fed boosted confidence in the recovery of the world’s biggest economy. But oil futures gained as recovery hopes boost demand for crude in the United States. The US economy grew at a robust 4.1 per cent annual rate in the third quarter, much faster than previously estimated, the Commerce Department said on Friday.
It was the strongest growth in the world’s largest economy since the fourth quarter of 2011, when the pace hit 4.9 per cent. The upward third-quarter revision was largely owing to consumer spending that was much stronger than previously estimated, the department said.
The US central bank on Wednesday said that it would cut its quantitative easing (QE) asset-buying scheme by $10 billion (7.3 billion euros) a month to $75 billion from January.
PRECIOUS METALS: Gold dropped close to three-year lows in reaction to the Fed’s move over stimulus. Gold struck $1,187.13 an ounce on Friday, the lowest point since late June when the precious metal had hit a three-year trough at $1,180.50.
“Gold and silver prices are trading just above their recent lows with upside likely to remain constrained in the short term as optimism about a pullback from stimulus and improved US economic data limits demand for the precious metals,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at traders CMC Markets UK.Gold’s value is set for its first annual loss since the start of the millennium on weak demand and easing inflation, according to analysts.
By late Friday on the London Bullion Market, the price of gold fell to $1,195.25 an ounce from $1,232 a week earlier.Silver dropped to $19.33 an ounce from $19.55.
On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum slid to $1,328 an ounce from $1,367. Palladium declined to $700 an ounce from $723. BASE METALS: Industrial metals prices largely rose over the week despite falling in the wake of the Fed’s announcement that caused the dollar to win support.
A stronger greenback makes dollar-denominated commodities more expensive for holders of other currencies, denting demand. By Friday on the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months rose to $7,241 a tonne from $7,238.50 a week earlier. Three-month aluminium decreased to $1,789 a tonne from $1,798.50.
Three-month lead grew to $2,205 a tonne from $2,140. Three-month tin gained to $22,871 a tonne from $22,800.
Three-month nickel increased to $14,360 a tonne from $14,050.
Three-month zinc advanced to $2,032 a tonne from $1,966.75. Oil boosted by Fed, stronger demand.
OIL: Crude futures rose on expectations of firmer demand in the United States, the world’s biggest consumer of oil.
Both contracts had risen strongly on Thursday as investors read the Fed’s decision to cut its monthly asset purchases as a sign of the central bank’s confidence in the US economy. “The US benchmark (oil) price has rallied 6.5 per cent since the start of the month as commodities and equity indices surge on renewed market optimism on the Fed decision to begin tapering in January,” Kash Kamal, research analyst at Sucden brokers, said on Friday.
The Federal Reserve added this week that it planned to continue with its ultra-low interest rates, even after achieving its goal of bringing unemployment to below 6.5 per cent. “The commitment from the Fed to keep its key interest rates low had lifted confidence, garnering support for crude oil prices,” Singapore-based broker Phillip Futures said in a note to clients.
Oil won support this week also from a bigger-than-expected drop to US crude inventories. The Energy Information Administration on Wednesday reported that US commercial crude oil inventories had fallen by 2.9 million barrels last week, above the 2.7 million projected by analysts. “Demand is truly good—it’s improving,” said Andy Lebow, senior vice president at financial group Jefferies Bache. By Friday on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in February stood at $111.44 a barrel compared with $108.28 for the expired January contract a week earlier.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate or light sweet crude for January rose to $98.92 a barrel from $97.17. Sugar recovers from fresh low points.
SUGAR: Prices recovered after reaching the lowest points for 3.5 years, at $432.10 a tonne in London and 15.86 US cents a pound in New York. “The primary focus of the market remains big supplies with no mention of above normal demand anywhere,” said Jack Scoville, analyst at broker Price Futures Group.
By Friday on LIFFE, London’s futures exchange, the price of a tonne of white sugar for March dipped to $442.40 from $443.80 a week earlier.
On the ICE Futures US exchange in New York, the price of unrefined sugar for delivery in March rose to 16.42 US cents a pound from 16.24 cents a week earlier.
COCOA: Futures struck the highest point in more than two years at £1,800 a tonne in London. “All eyes are on the return of seasonal Harmattan winds (in West Africa) this month, which can bring dry weather to cocoa-growing regions. In previous seasons, the Harmattan has caused a slump in deliveries in the first quarter of the year and low quality mid-crop beans,” said analysts at Ecobank.
By Friday on LIFFE, cocoa for delivery in March gained to £1,791 a tonne from £1,768 a week earlier.
On ICE Futures US, cocoa for March increased to $2,801 a tonne from $2,782 a week earlier.
COFFEE: Prices diverged.
By Friday on the ICE Futures US exchange, Arabica for delivery in March climbed to 115 US cents a pound from 112.80 cents a week earlier. On LIFFE, Robusta for March fell to $1,711 a tonne compared with $1,800 a week earlier.
RUBBER: Prices dropped on profit-taking as supply from Thailand and Cambodia strengthened amid weaker demand, traders said.
The Malaysian Rubber Board’s benchmark SMR20 fell to 230.20 US cents a kilo from 233.60 cents the previous week.