On Monday, Brent crude rallied to 116.50 USD per barrel (USD/bbl), i.e. to the highest level in about six months (see the chart). This time, media brought out an attack on a pipeline in Nigeria and cold winter in Europe as the main causes of the price spike. The US benchmark WTI lagged behind its peer and the spread between Brent and WTI thus widened to a 3.5 month high.
Meanwhile, FT cited two executives of European refineries who admitted they were in talks with Saudis to switch from Iranian crude. According to US DOE/EIA, Iran was the second largest supplier of oil among the OPEC countries to OECD Europe in 2011.
Copper edged lower on Monday amidst uncertainty on the outcome of the Greek debt negations. LME benchmark copper thus closed just shy of 8500 USD per ton level.
Regarding the China’s demand after return from holidays, the trading activity seems to be muted for the time being – a sharp built in SHFE stocks over past few months together with LME premium over SHFE and weak time structure in Shanghai (contango) weigh on the attractiveness of the red metal for China’s buyers. This week’s eye-catcher will be the figure on China’s imports for January (due to Friday).
Gold price slightly eased on Monday and in intraday trading even hit one-week low. Gold is hovering at 1720 USD per troy ounce level (USD/toz) as better than expected payrolls report on Friday undermined the price of the yellow metal on Friday. The better than expected US data and decreasing unemployment mitigated market bets on the QE III which had fuelled the rally back in the end of January.