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Base metals hit new highs


by Elaine Frei
March 21, 2006

Commodities prices were mixed on Tuesday, with metals up but crude oil mixed in afternoon trade.

In base metals, both copper and zinc reached new highs. Three-month copper hit $5,183 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange even though demand appears to be slowing down and stockpiles look to be on the way up. Meanwhile, three-month zinc peaked at $2,509.5 per tonne, going above the $2,500 per tonne level for the first time in history. This new high came as zinc inventories in LME warehouses dropped again.

Silver hit another 22-year high after the US Securities and Exchange Commission approved Barclays Global Investors application to list iShares Silver Trust. The new way of investing in silver will allow buyers to purchase shares, each of which represents 10 ounces of silver. Silver hit a peak price of $10.40 per troy ounce, an advance of 15 cents for the day.

Gold traded at $554.60/$553.35 per troy ounce, a bit less than $1 higher than Monday’s closing quote in New York. The gain came despite gains in the US dollar in relation to other currencies on the day.

Elsewhere, Brent crude for May delivery gained 66 cents to trade at $61.98 in late afternoon trade on the International Petroleum Exchange in London. April contract West Texas Intermediate crude, however, dropped 23 cents to $60.65 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange by early afternoon. The WTI April contract expires at the end of the trading day.



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