The front-month contract on Brent (ICE) gained about one percent yesterday and settled at 112.63 USD per barrel. The market continues to cope with disruption in oil supplies from Libya; although news that Libya’s NOC has declared force majeure on oil exports from three ports was not particularly disruptive for markets as exports from those ports had already been stopped, the declaration suggests that the solution to Libya’s problems may not be around the corner.
Regarding Syria, the United States and Russia started yesterday high-stake talks on Moscow’s plans for Syria to surrender its chemical weapons as Damascus formally applied to join the global poison gas ban, but US Secretary of State Kerry warned that US military force may still be necessary if diplomacy fails. Such headlines may add some risk premium to the oil price in the short-term. On the other hand, the commencement of refinery maintenance and increased production in the North Sea should help ease the tension in North Sea oil market in October.
On Thursday, the prices of base metals edged mostly lower. Copper underperformed the most of the complex as the price fell below support at 7164 USD per ton. Over the past couple of weeks, developments in the aluminium market in particular were of interest, as its physical premiums (surcharges above the LME spot price; see the graph on page 4) started to fall slowly after a long period of rising, due probably to the planned revision of storage rules at the LME. This should be good news for consumers of the metal in particular, while such developments pose a potential threat to metal producers.
Gold price was hit particularly hard yesterday after the release of much better than expected US initial claims report. Even though the data was distorted due to computer upgrades (according to the Labour Department) and it is therefore hard to draw strong conclusions based on it, the downtrend has likely remained intact. At the time of writing of this note, spot gold is trading at 1315 USD per troy ounce (USD/toz). Technically, the next support is seen at 1300 USD/oz