Commodities markets summary

Sydney-Australia (Dec 4)  PRECIOUS METALS:  Gold prices slipped, while silver notched a new four-and-a-half-month low, as the potential boost from a weaker US dollar struggled with pressure from worries about when the Federal Reserve will wind down its accommodative policies.

The most actively traded gold contract, for February delivery, on Tuesday settled $US1.10, or 0.1 per cent, lower at $US1,220.80 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Silver for March delivery fell 22.4 US cents, or 1.2 per cent, to $US19.065 a troy ounce on the Comex. This was the lowest settlement price since July 8, when silver closed at $US19.038 an ounce.

The precious metals were unable to rally even as the US dollar moved sharply lower against the Swiss franc, the Japanese yen and the Australian dollar, a reflection of investor antipathy toward the market, said Ira Epstein, director of the Ira Epstein division at The Linn Group.


Base metal prices on the London Metal Exchange (LME) have closed slightly lower, as positive US economic data once again fuels fears the Federal Reserve will soon scale back price-supportive stimulus measures.

At the close of open-outcry trading in the UK capital on Tuesday, LME three-month copper was 0.2 per cent lower on the day at $US6,960 a metric ton. Aluminum closed 0.1 per cent lower at $US1,740 a ton. The metals had hardly moved from their values earlier in the day.

A report from the Institute for Supply Management on Monday showed that US manufacturing activity gained momentum last month, with the November reading rising to 57.3 from 56.4, the highest since April 2011. A reading above 50 indicates expanding activity. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected the latest PMI to slow to 55.2.