Oil, metals up

OIL prices shot up after a fire at Mariner Energy’s Vermilion 380 production platform in the Gulf of Mexico raised concerns that the moratorium on US deepwater drilling would be extended.

"The explosion reminds folks of the dangers of drilling offshore," Energy Security Analysis oil markets director Rick Mueller told Bloomberg.

"This may delay the lifting of the moratorium."

More upward pressure was created by the rising level of hurricane activity, with Hurricane Earl bearing down on North Carolina, while storm warnings were issued as Tropical Storm Fiona advanced south of Bermuda.

Economic data indicating the US recovery was continuing also served to boost prices, despite a rise in US crude stocks.

New York's Western Texas Intermediate rose $US1.25 to settle at $75.02 per barrel, while Singapore's Tapis crude crept up from $79.64 on Wednesday to $79.85 last night.

Meanwhile, metals were on the up and up this week as markets rallied.

Copper has risen around $600 per tonne since Wednesday of last week to close at $7623.25/t overnight.

Nickel threatened to fall below $20,000/t last week, but has since climbed back up to trade at $21,595/t overnight on the London Metal Exchange.

Despite the bullish mood, gold held its own, rising above $1250 per ounce overnight on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Comex gold for December delivery closed at $1253.40/oz last night, while spot gold was last trading at $1249.40/oz.


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