LONDON: Gold blazed a record-breaking trail above 1,123 dollars this week due to buoyant equities and the weak greenback, which makes it cheaper for buyers using stronger currencies and tends to boost demand.
Elsewhere, crude dived close to one-month lows as oil traders switched focus to weak demand and rising inventories in key energy consuming nation the United States, analysts said.
PRECIOUS METALS: The price of gold surged to an all-time pinnacle of 1,123.38 dollars per ounce here on Thursday.
"The metal remained supported by stronger equities and the weaker dollar," said James Moore, analyst at specialist metals website TheBullionDesk.com.
The metal also won support from fears over a possible spike in inflation, as gold is widely regarded by investors as a safe store of value.
Gold, which has risen more than 20 percent in value this year, has a bright future thanks to improving demand caused by the financial crisis, according to industry experts.
However, the glamorous commodity pared gains ahead of the weekend as many traders cashed in profits.
"The rally in gold looks exhausted at current levels as traders talk of taking money off the table ahead of the weekend," said ETX Capital trader Manoj Ladwa.
"While the long-term trend remains in place, some are happy booking a profit in case of any sharp sell-off."
By late Friday on the London Bullion Market, gold rose to 1,104 dollars an ounce from 1,096.75 dollars a week earlier.
Silver slid to 17.32 dollars an ounce from 17.52 dollars.
On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum was unchanged at 1,359 dollars an ounce at the late fixing on Friday from the previous week.
Palladium climbed to 354 dollars an ounce from 330 dollars.
OIL: World oil prices sank heavily this week as traders fretted over weak US energy demand, and despite news that the eurozone has officially emerged from recession.
"Prices fall to their lowest level in almost a month, pressurised by a bearish set of US weekly oil data," said Barclays Capital analyst Kevin Norrish in a research note to clients.
"Yesterday’s US data shows a continuation of the trend which has now been in place for a while, whereby the supply system tries to adjust to continued weak demand."
Crude futures had slumped Thursday on a huge jump in US crude stockpiles indicating weaker American demand for oil. New York crude had dropped 2.34 dollars and London Brent oil shed 1.93 dollars.
The US Department of Energy said American crude oil reserves surged 1.8 million barrels in the week ending November 6, more than the 200,000 barrels anticipated by the market.
US gasoline or petrol stockpiles unexpectedly jumped by 2.5 million barrels while distillates, which include diesel and heating fuel, rose by around 300,000 barrels.
In earlier deals on Friday, prices had traded in positive territory, in line with the weaker dollar, and in a knee-jerk reaction to Thursday’s sharp falls.
The European single currency firmed against the dollar on Friday after news that the eurozone recession has officially ended.
Europe’s deepest recession since World War II officially ended on Friday when the world’s biggest single trading bloc joined Japan and the United States in returning to growth, official data showed.
Traders also assessed the latest monthly review from the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA), a global energy watchdog advising top industrialised nations.
Global oil demand is heading higher than expected as economic recovery gathers pace notably in China, but rising prices could derail expansion, the IEA said earlier this week.
By Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), light sweet crude for delivery in December sank to 76.41 dollars from 78.85 dollars a week earlier.
On London’s InterContinental Exchange (ICE), Brent North Sea crude for December delivery dropped to 75.65 dollars from 77.28 dollars.
BASE METALS: Base metals prices mainly fell, holding underneath their recent high points, traders said.
"Overall, the base metals remain in limbo, below recent highs, but in most cases seemingly well supported, so we expect them to take the lead from broader market sentiment," said analysts at BaseMetals.com.
By Friday on the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months fell to 6,492 dollars a tonne from 6,500 dollars a week earlier.
Three-month aluminium firmed to 1,933 dollars a tonne from 1,916 dollars.
Three-month lead decreased to 2,251 dollars a tonne from 2,315 dollars.
Three-month tin slipped to 14,680 dollars a tonne from 14,775 dollars.
Three-month zinc eased to 2,165 dollars a tonne from 2,194 dollars.
Three-month nickel recoiled to 16,050 dollars a tonne from 17,825 dollars.
COCOA: Cocoa prices lost more ground after striking a recent 24-year high on prospects of lower output from leading producer Ivory Coast.
By Friday on LIFFE, London’s futures exchange, the price of cocoa for delivery in December dipped to 2,022 pounds a tonne from 2,099 pounds a week earlier.
On the New York Board of Trade (NYBOT), the December cocoa contract dropped to 3,117 dollars a tonne from 3,186 dollars.
SUGAR: Sugar diverged in cautious trade.
By Friday on LIFFE, the price of a tonne of white sugar for delivery in March edged up to 593 pounds from 589.50 pounds a week earlier.
On NYBOT, the price of unrefined sugar for March nudged lower to 22.56 US cents a pound from 22.63 cents.
GRAINS AND SOYA: Prices rose in choppy deals as traders tracked weather conditions in the United States.
"We continue to have a choppy market," said analyst Jason Roose at US Commodities.
"If we continue to see good weather … we could see weakness in the market."
By Friday on the Chicago Board of Trade, maize for delivery in December rose to 3.91 dollars a bushel from 3.67 dollars a week earlier.
January-dated soyabean meal — used in animal feed — climbed to 9.99 dollars from 9.55 dollars.
Wheat for December increased to 5.38 dollars a bushel from 4.97 dollars.
COFFEE: Coffee prices fell in London and New York.
By Friday on LIFFE, Robusta for delivery in January sank to 1,311 dollars a tonne from 1,437 dollars a week earlier.
On the NYBOT, Arabica for December eased to 134.50 US cents a pound from 139.95 cents.
RUBBER: Malaysian rubber prices rose due to widespread concerns over tight supplies, dealers said.
On Friday, the Malaysian Rubber Board’s benchmark SMR20 climbed to 241.80 US cents per kilo, from 231.95 cents last week.
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