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Saturday 06th of September 2008
March 31, 2006

Copper, zinc, platinum prices again set records


by Elaine Frei

Commodities prices were up this week, with sugar and some metals hitting all-time highs and oil up 3 percent despite a small decline on Friday. The record gains were explained by predictions that global economic growth will be above expectations again this year, so that demand for raw materials will go up. The forecasts, said some analysts, are drawing more investment into the commodities markets.

Copper, which has added 25 percent in the first quarter of the year, hit its seventh new high in a row on Friday, trading at $5,510 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange before settling back to $5,468 in late afternoon trade. Inventories of copper in registered warehouses are at about three weeks’ supply.

Zinc also hit a new record high on Friday when it traded at $2,715 per tonne. Inventories in LME-registered warehouses have declined by 27 percent since the beginning of the year, while its price has risen by 42 percent in the same time period and has more than doubled in the past six months. Prices could go even higher, said one analyst, since production is not expected to increase for the next couple of years.

Among precious metals, platinum also reached a new high of $1,093 per troy ounce as demand has topped supply in eight of the past ten years. Meanwhile, silver hit a new 22-year high of $11.91 per troy ounce on Friday before easing to $11.57 per troy ounce later in the day. Silver prices have risen 7 percent this week, 31 percent since the beginning of 2006, and over 60 percent in a year. Gold found a 25-year high of $588.70 per troy ounce on Friday, driven mostly by inflation worries, before slipping back to $583.50 later in the day.

Elsewhere, crude oil prices were down slightly on the day after increases earlier in the week. May contracts for Brent crude on the International Petroleum Exchange lost 14 cents to $66.32 per barrel late in the afternoon in London. West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery was down by 48 cents to $66.37 per barrel.

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