(MT Newswires) – Crude ended Friday’s session lower, but closed the week in positive territory, finding support on expectations that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will extend self-imposed production caps when it meets next week. On Monday, OPEC and its allies will congregate in Vienna, Austria, to discuss oil production levels. Heading into the meeting, it is still unclear whether the 14 OPEC countries and the 10 additional countries led by Russia will reduce their oil output even further, or whether they will simply prolong their current agreed limit that runs out at the end of June. Meanwhile, US inventories of crude oil declined by 12.8 million barrels to 469.6 million barrels in the week ended June 21, data published by the Energy Information Administration showed. This was greater than the 7.5-million-barrel decline projected by the American Petroleum Institute and more than quadruple the decline registered in the prior week. Finally, energy services firm Baker Hughes (BHGE) reported Friday that the number of oil rigs operating in the US rose to the highest level in a month this week, as higher prices for the key energy commodity saw more equipment come into operation. The US oil rig tally rose by four this week to 793, the most since the period ended May 31 and the second-straight weekly advance. A year ago, the count was 858.
Light, sweet crude oil for August delivery rose 0.73% for the week, settling at $59.43 per barrel at the end of Friday’s session. In other energy futures, gasoline was up 3.80% during the week and settled at $1.91 per gallon on Friday. Natural gas logged an increase of 5.91% this week at $2.32 per 1 million British thermal unit.
The SummerHaven Dynamic Commodity Index Total Return Index (SDCITR) rose 0.32% this week, compared with an increase of 1.98% the prior week.
Gold finished Friday’s session at $1,412.00, and closed the week with a gain of 0.77%. Lingering tensions between the US and Iran, US President Donald Trump’s earlier comments about the security relationship with Japan and his demand that India should withdraw “very high tariffs” on US goods have boosted appeal for safe-haven bullion. Gold, the traditional refuge in times of financial turmoil, has steadied just north of $1,400, up from the $1,300-and-change trading range of the last five years, but well below the $1,800 topped back in 2011.
In contrast, copper closed Friday’s session lower at $2.72 per pound, but rose 0.43% for the week. Despite the modest gains for the week, copper ended the quarter with its weakest performance since the end of 2015, weighed down by demand concerns that have stemmed from the protracted US-China trade war. The recent uptick in the red metal’s prices was caused partly by news of a collapsed mine in Congo, where at least 41 miners were killed. The KOV copper and cobalt open-pit mine is partly owned by Glencore, with its unit Katanga Mining having a 75% stake. Glencore said there was no impact on the mine’s output, however. Meanwhile, the workers’ strike at the Chuquicamata copper mine in Chile has ended after two weeks, as the three main labor unions voted to accept the contract offer of the mine owner, Codelco, which is also the largest copper producer in the world.
In agriculture commodities, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its Planted Acreage report, which showed greater-than-expected corn acreage, while projecting far fewer soybean acres than estimates. The report projected planted acreage for corn at 91.7 million acres this year, versus estimates for 86.7 million acres of corn. Meanwhile, the USDA expects soybean acreage of 80.0 million — the lowest level since 2013. Analysts’ forecasts had been for 84.4 million acres.
Corn fell 2.59% in the week and settled at $4.32 per bushel in Friday’s session; wheat fell 0.89% and settled at $5.27 per bushel at the end of Friday’s session; and soybeans were up 2.19% for the week, and closed Friday up at $9.23 per bushel. Other commodities were mixed: coffee was around $1.09 per pound at Friday’s close, up 9.53% for the week; cocoa was down 2.64% for the week and closed Friday’s session at $2,425 per tonne; and sugar had a weekly increase of 0.88% and settled at a price of $1.26 per pound on Friday.
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