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Copper futures hit 6-month low on liquidation; gold and oil barely higher

Copper futures hit 6-month low on liquidation; gold and oil barely higher

High-grade copper futures displayed persistent weakness again Friday, with liquidation and continuing stock builds sending prices to their lowest level since June, analysts said.
However, the move occurred in thin trading conditions, with many traders taking off during the period between Christmas and New Year's Day and with the market closing early ahead of a long weekend.
The commodities futures markets will be closed Monday, in observance of New Year's Day.
On Tuesday, New York Mercantile Exchange floor trading will close early at 2 p.m. EST (1900 GMT), in observance of former U.S. President Gerald R. Ford's funeral. The New York Board of Trade's trading of so-called soft commodities will be closed. Also, at the Chicago Board of Trade, pit trading for agricultural products will be closed.
As for copper, the most active March contract fell 2.4 cents to settle at $2.8710 a pound on the Nymex. The contracts traded as low as $2.8300 Friday.
"We've been seeing copper drop for the last month," said Michael Gross, broker and futures analyst with Liberty Trading. "It was a couple of things. You were seeing fund liquidation going into the end of the year. And I think a lot is based on softer demand from China."
China's National Development and Reform Commission reported earlier this week that the country's copper consumption was estimated at 3.4 million metric tons during 2006, down 7 percent from last year.
Gross said he looks for global copper demand to start picking up again at some point in 2007. But until then, there is potential for more declines in copper prices, he said.
In precious metals trading, gold and silver futures closed little changed in thin dealings.
At settlement, most-active February gold was up $1.10 at $638 a troy ounce. March silver finished 0.5 cent lower at $12.935 an ounce.
January platinum closed $23.10 higher at $1,139.30 an ounce, after a late flurry of buying. March palladium closed $10.55 stronger at $338.50 an ounce.
In Nymex energy trading, the front-month February light, sweet crude contract finished 52 cents, or 0.9 percent, higher at $61.05 a barrel. That was a mere 1 cent above last year's close of $61.04 a barrel. It was crude oil's fifth straight annual gain.
January heating oil fell 2.52 cents, or 1.55 percent, to finish at $1.5979 a gallon. The contract fell as low as $1.586 a gallon, its lowest level since October.
January unleaded gasoline fell 4.02 cents, or 2.54 percent, to settle at $1.5419 a gallon.
It was the last day of trading of Nymex unleaded gasoline futures, which were launched in 1984 and have been superseded by reformulated gasoline blendstock for oxygen blending, or RBOB gasoline.
January RBOB contracts rose 0.41 cents, or 0.3 percent, to finish at $1.6021 a gallon Friday.
February natural gas futures closed 5.1 cents higher at $6.299 a million British thermal units.
On the Nybot, futures on raw sugar in foreign ports slid to two-week lows after producer selling clipped an early advance, locals sold and speculators took profits at year-end, brokers said.
March sugar futures settled 0.11 cents lower at 11.75 cents a pound, while May sugar finished 0.07 cents weaker at 11.71 cents a pound.
Cocoa futures closed slightly higher in quiet trade, with help from light speculative buying. Most-active March cocoa rose $1 to settle at $1,635 a metric ton.
Arabica coffee futures ended higher in choppy action. Industry buying lent support at lower levels, while funds and speculators both bought and squared positions at year-end, brokers said.
March coffee futures closed 1.2 cents higher at $1.2620 a pound, and May coffee finished 1.25 cents stronger at $1.2920 a pound.
In cotton trading, most-active March futures fell 0.77 cents to settle at 56.19 cents a pound. Speculative and trade selling pressured cotton futures amid technically overbought conditions. Also, traders booked profits on the final business day of the year, market participants said.
On the CBOT, corn and soybean futures climbed on speculative buying.
March corn ended 1.75 cents higher at $3.9025 a bushel, and May corn finished 2.25 cents higher at $3.9850 a bushel.
January soybeans finished 7.75 cents higher at $6.8350 a bushel, and March soybeans closed 6.75 cents higher at $6.9725 a bushel. March soymeal settled $2.50 higher at $196.90 per short ton, while March soyoil ended 0.01 cent lower at 29.70 cents a pound.
Wheat futures ended mostly lower as traders squared positions on the last trading day of the year, under pressure from news of weak export sales and poor weather in the Plains, analysts said.
CBOT March wheat closed 3.25 cents lower at $5.01 a bushel, Kansas City Board of Trade March wheat settled 2.5 cents lower at $5.0975 a bushel, but Minneapolis Grain Exchange March wheat ended 6.25 cents higher at $5.1850 a bushel.


Updated : 2020-12-03 13:00 GMT+08:00