Crude oil at new high prices

August contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude oil reached a new record high on Wednesday afternoon on the New York Mercantile exchange when it reached $75.40 per barrel on the first day back for traders after the Independence Day holiday. The previous record of $75.35 per barrel was reached on April 24. The rise in prices came after it was announced that scheduled talks between Iran and the European Union over Iran’s nuclear program have been postponed.

Meanwhile, on the International Petroleum Exchange in London, Brent crude for August delivery added $1.58 to $74.09 per barrel.

In the metals markets, spot nickel prices rose $350 per tonne to a new high of $24,000 per tonne, while three-month nickel was up to $23,000 per tonne, close to a record high. The price gains came as inventories in London Metal Exchange warehouses dropped to 9,258 tonnes on Wednesday. Nickel stockpiles have dropped by nearly 75 percent since the end of 2005, primarily due to supply disruptions.

Three-month copper dropped $60 to $7.350 per tonne.

Among precious metals, gold hit a one-month high of $630.50 per troy ounce in Asian trade after news of North Korea’s missile tests. However, by late in the day in London, prices settled at $624.10/$624.70 per troy ounce, a gain of $2.50 for the session.

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