Oil, metals pick up

OIL prices rose this week as reports that Chinese crude imports had increased 4.4% from last year to about 4.36 million barrels per day more than offset flat leads from the United States.

"People still believe that Chinese demand will drive the oil price or at least provide support," Hudson Capital Energy trader Clarence Chu told Bloomberg.

"In Asian trading hours, when you don't get a lot of news, everyone looks to the dollar for guidance."

Prices also received support from the US Energy Information Administration's weekly inventory report which showed crude supplies fell more than expected last week, dropping 1.83MMbbl to 361.4MMbbl.

Oil analyst and trader Stephen Schork told AP that the drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico also weighed on investors, who were worried it would hurt domestic production down the road.

Commodities had a stellar week with nickel leading the charge, rising 5.6% to a high of $US19,217 per tonne on Wednesday from $17,881/t last Friday before dropping back to $18,885 overnight.

Zinc rose 1.8% after reaching a high of $US1767.50 per tonne on Wednesday, compared to $1694.50/t last Friday.

It closed overnight on $1724.50/t.

Copper had a mixed week dropping from $6481/t last Friday to a low of $6125/t on Tuesday, before rebounding to $6325/t overnight.

Gold also reached a record price of $1251.80 an ounce on Tuesday, before dropping back to $1220.60/oz in morning trade today.

One analyst from Phillip Securities said although the gold price was currently coming down, there were many reasons why prices for the precious metal should go higher including increasing tight fiscal policies.


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