Brent crude eases back from eight-month peak

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Brent crude futures fell back under $70 a barrel Friday, down from an eight-month high reached on Thursday.

ICE Brent futures for July delivery eased 83 cents to $69.45 a barrel in late afternoon trade in London, having reached $70.35 in the previous session, their highest level since early September.

Brent rose more than 3 per cent on Thursday amid fears about US petrol supplies this summer.

Brent prices were up almost 4 per cent on the week. June West Texas Intermediate added 26 cents to $65.12 a barrel in early afternoon trade on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Refiners operated by ConocoPhilips, BP and Murphy Oil announced this week that some of their refineries would be temporarily shut down for either technical glitches or maintenance work.

US gasoline futures have held on to most of their gains this week. June Nymex gasoline futures were steady at $2.4354 a gallon. The benchmark gasoline contract has risen more than 3 per cent this week. US petrol refiner margins are at more than $30 a barrel.

Gold prices partially recovered some of their losses Friday, adding $3 to $660.65/$661.15 a troy ounce. Gold prices were down $10 on the week.

Platinum prices also eased this week, a period when producers, consumers and traders were in London for their annual get-together.

Platinum prices were$7 up Friday at $1,307 a troy ounce, but down $21 on the week.

Copper also found some support Friday having dropped more than 4 per cent on Thursday. The three-month copper price added $21 to $7,272 a tonne on the London Metal Exchange.

Nickel prices were also higher, gaining $1,700 to $50,500 a tonne.

Metal prices have fallen because of concerns that demand from China, the world’s largest consumer of industrial metals, may introduce further measures to curb the prospect of overheating in the economy.

This fear is based on the introduction of steel export taxes this week in an effort to slow China’s rising steel exports.

The front month robusta coffee price rose to an eight-month high on Friday on concerns about falling stockpiles given strong demand and weaker production this year.

May robusta futures added $13 to $1,727 a tonne on Euronext-Liffe, and were up about 11 per cent this week.

Robusta coffee futures for the second month hit an eight-year high of $1,735 a tonne, before easing to $1,728 late in the afternoon, up $10 on the day.

Raw sugar futures hovered close to a two-year low Friday, trading at8.66 cents a pound, down 0.02 cents on the day, and down more than 6 per cent on the week.

Cocoa rose to a 10-month high of $1,094 a tonne Friday on concerns about the west African mid-crop.

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