US Crude Oil Slumps as Western Officials Tone Down Syrian Rhetoric

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Commodities Trading

: 30 August 2013

Western officials seem to have toned down their speech on Syria, easing concerns of immediate military action and sending the energy prices tumbling.

US crude slumped $1.34 to $108.14, also helped by a strengthening US dollar.

It remains to be seen whether the mood will turn again ahead of the weekend when the weapon inspectors are due to deliver their verdict.

The risk premium built into gold earlier in the week on demand for turmoil hedge started to be unwound yesterday.

The precious metal lost $11.2 to $1,407.4 with additional downside pressure coming from a rebounding dollar.

Ongoing indications that the US economy is on the right path also sent investors into equities, away from gold.

Commodities Trading

: 29 August 2013

Initially, Nymex crude oil hit a recent record high of $112.19 on fears that the growing violence in Syria might spread into other countries and threaten oil supplies.

Nonetheless, the US weekly inventories report saw a larger than expected build and so the market pared its early gains, closing just $0.30 higher at $109.46.

Mirroring the display in the energy market, gold moved up during the morning session only to pullback towards close.

Despite feeling the downside pressure from a stronger dollar, the precious metal managed to end $1.9 higher at $1,418.3.

Commodities Trading

: 28 August 2013

US crude oil prices jumped to the highest level seen in 18 months, posting a $2.91 gain for the day to $109.03 a barrel.

The geopolitical tension in Syria was ratcheted up a few notches, fuelling worries that oil supplies from Middle East might be disrupted.

Overnight, that rally continued with no signs of abating as the market price broke above the $111 mark.

If the US dollar was not the recipient of safe haven demand, gold certainly was.

The precious metal advanced $10.5 to $1,416.1 with additional support being offered by a report that countries like Russia and Kazakhstan increased their gold reserves during July.

Commodities Trading

: 27 August 2013

A larger than estimated drop for US durable goods orders last month disappointed commodities investors who drove crude oil prices $0.80 lower to $106.10 yesterday.

In addition, reports that a previously closed port in Libya has just reopened also put downside pressure on oil prices.

Nevertheless, it remains to be seen how an escalation in the Syrian conflict will affect energies over the next few days, especially given that the political rhetoric appears to be moving to another level.

Initially, gold managed to break above the psychologically important $1,400 level, reaching $1,405.5 in intraday trading.

However, a stronger US dollar reduced its appeal as an alternative asset, with slumping physical demand from Asia also playing a part in its immediate pullback to below $1,399 at the time of writing.

By Jonathan Sudaria, 30 August 2013

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