Oil down, metals up

US oil prices fell on an unexpected rise in new jobless claims and a small gain in industrial production in the United States.

The Labor Department reported new jobless claims rose by 24,000 in the week ended April 10 while US industrial production was up just 0.1% over last month.

"Industrial production was not as high as we thought it was going to be, and for the jobless claims we were looking for a little bit less," Bloomberg quoted Oil Outlooks & Options president Carl Larry as saying.

This was despite a drop in US crude inventories of 2.2 million barrels when analysts were expecting a rise in supplies, as well as a 1.3% increase in gasoline demand to 9.14MMbbl in the four weeks ended April 9.

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries said world demand would rise 900,000 barrels per day in 2010, 20,000bpd higher than previously forecast.

Singapore's Tapis crude continued to rise, closing at $US88.92 per barrel last night, up from $87.55/bbl on Wednesday.

It was a reasonably good week on the metals markets with spot gold closing at a mid-week high of $1159 an ounce on Thursday, an increase of $8.30 from the previous week.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper and nickel both rose week-on-week.

The LME official copper index closed at $7875 per tonne overnight, up $79.50 on last week, while cash official prices for nickel rose $2250 over the week to close at $26,690/t overnight.


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