LONDON : Gold glistened last week, striking a record peak as investors hunted for a safe haven amid violent unrest in Libya that has sparked fears about spreading instability in the Middle East and North Africa.
New York crude crossed $104 per barrel to reach the highest level for 30 months as the African nation was forced to slash exports.
"Unrest in the region continues apace, with Libya effectively remaining out of the oil market; while the replacement of the lost Libyan barrels is eating into spare capacity, rampant demand growth is adding further pressure," said Barclays Capital analyst Sudakshina Unnikrishnan.
Commodities won further support on Friday as the euro bounced above $1.40 for the first time in nearly four months, after a surprise drop in the US unemployment rate and accelerated job creation. A weaker greenback makes dollar-priced commodities cheaper for buyers holding other currencies and tends to stimulate demand.
Precious metals: Gold peaked at $1,440.32 per ounce on Wednesday, while silver struck a 30-year high of $35.36 on Friday. On the London Bullion Market, gold closed the week at $1,427, up from $1,402.50 a week earlier. Silver closed at $34.43, up from $32.54. On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum climbed to $1,828 an ounce from $1,791 and palladium rose to $811 from $785.
Oil: New York crude surged to $104.32 on Friday, a level last seen on Sept 29, 2008, as violence escalated in Libya.
"It seems likely that soon there will be no oil exports at all from Libya, a loss of 1.4 million barrels per day to the global markets, and a particular concern to refiners in Italy and elsewhere in Europe," said said Deutsche Bank analyst Adam Sieminski.
The head of Libya's National Oil Corporation, Shukri Ghanem, said on Thursday that production had been halved.
Brent crude has been trading higher than WTI partly because of high US energy inventory levels.
"It's taken a while for the WTI contract to wake up to the potential stresses in the oil market," said GFT analyst David Morrison.
Brent crude for April delivery rallied in London on Friday to $115.77, compared with $111.57 a week earlier. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, Texas light sweet crude for April traded at $103.45, compared with $97.24 a week earlier.Base metals: Prices mainly rose as traders took direction from the faltering dollar. On the London Metal Exchange (LME), copper for delivery in three months rose to $9,935 a tonne from $9,711 a week earlier. Three-month aluminium increased to $2,612 from $2,558, lead to $2,638 from $2,495, tin eased to $31,750 from $31,788, zinc to $2,491.25 from $2,493, while nickel rallied to $28,900 from $27,710.
Cocoa: The market continued to trade at 30-year highs amid worsening unrest in top producer Ivory Coast.
On the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange (LIFFE), cocoa for May rallied to 2,414 a tonne from 2,371 a week earlier.On the New York Board of Trade (NYBOT), cocoa for May increased to $3,766 a tonne from $3,637 a week earlier.
Sugar: Prices gained ground on the NYBOT, with unrefined sugar for delivery in May rising to 30.62 US cents a pound from 27.64 cents a week earlier. On the LIFFE, a tonne of white sugar for May increased to 759.30 from 699.50 a week earlier.