Global prices of key commodities such as crude,gold and copper hit multi-month highs on Friday after fresh stimulus announced by the US Federal Reserve boosted optimism about a revival in commodity demand. The Thomson Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index,a gauge for a basket of commodities,hit 317.45 intraday on Friday,the highest since March 19 and up by 6.2% from a month before.
The Fed’s decision on late Thursday to buy $40 billion worth of mortgage debt a month indefinitely until the US employment market improves significantly was an unprecedented measure,which stoked a rally in risky assets that had struggled in recent months due to the global macro-economic crisis. The greenback fell to a four-month low against a basket of currencies,making dollar-denominated commodities such as oil cheaper to consumers using other currencies.
US crude oil futures hit the highest since May,while Brent crude rallied for a seventh straight session,closer to the four-month peak of $117.48 touched on Thursday. Geo-political tensions following escalating protests against the US over a film considered by many to be blasphemous to Islam also fueled the rally. Earlier this week,protesters killed the US ambassador towards Libya and also attacked the US embassies in Yemen and Egypt. Demonstrations have also taken place in Muslim-dominated countries such as Bangladesh,Tunisia,Morocco and Sudan.
Brent crude contract for the November delivery climbed by more than $1 to $116.92 a barrel intraday,after a 94-cent rise in the previous session. Brent is poised to end the week with a 2% gain. US crude rose $1.29 cents to $99.60 a barrel after briefly scaling a four-month peak of $99.75 a barrel,and is set to end the week with a 3% rally. The Fed easing,escalating geopolitical risks and a weaker dollar have blunted impact of swelling US crude stockpiles,which rose an unexpected 1.99 million barrels last week.
Spot gold gained 0.6% at $1,777.51 per ounce,its loftiest level since February 29,continuing with a 2% rally on Thursday,as improving liquidity and pressure on the dollar stoked inflation fears,which augurs wells for the safe-haven asset.
Copper,which closely tracks the health of industry,was the biggest gainer among major commodities,with three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange soaring by nearly 4% to $8,371 a tonne,its highest since May. Gold is poised to extend its winning streak to a fourth straight week and copper to its second.
US grains futures inched up at a modest pace,at less than 0.5%,as corn,soybeans and wheat have rallied much before than other commodities,thanks to drought in the world’s largest farm commodity exporter and Europe. Tokyo rubber futures shot up 5.8%,while Shanghai rubber hit its upside limit and Shanghai steel rebar jumped nearly 5% intraday.