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Iron Ore, Oil Edge Higher

Oil and iron ore rose, gold fell and other metals were mixed as the US dollar ended Friday a touch higher.

Iron ore prices strengthened on Friday amid expectations of a possible extension of production limits in China beyond the country's winter heating season, which ends in mid-March.

After the week long Lunar New Year holiday, Chinese buyers started returning to the markets on Thursday and Friday.

That saw the Metal Bulletin’s 62% Fe Iron Ore Index close at $US78.82 per tonne up 62 cent from Thursday and 39 cents over the week from the previous pre holiday close of $US78.43.

In New York on Friday, West Texas Intermediate crude oil for April delivery rose 66 cents, or 1.1%, to $US63.43 a barrel.

For the week, it was up 3%, following the 4.2% gain the week before week. That still leaves the contract around 2% lower month-to-date, however.

In London, the global benchmark—Brent crude —rose 67 cents, or 1%, to $US67.06 a barrel, for a weekly gain of 3.4%.

Traders ignored the news from oil-field services firm Baker Hughes which reported that the number of US oil rigs rose by 1 to 799 this week.

The Energy Information Administration said crude-oil stocks fell by 1.616 million barrels in the week ended February 16, but daily production fell by 1,000 barrels to 10.27 million. That’s a fall the market ignored.

Meanwhile it was a rough week for gold which sold off heavily towards the end.

Comex gold in New York closed lower Friday, but still having it biggest weekly fall so far this year as the US dollar recovered from its earlier weakness.

April gold fell $US2.40 or 0.2%, to settle at $US1,330.30 an ounce, falling 1.7% for the week,

Comex March silver fell 10 cents, or 0.6%, to $US16.48 an ounce, posting a weekly decline of 0.8%.

The US. Dollar Index edged up 0.1%.

In other metals, March copper fell 2 cents, or 0.9%, to end at $US3.21 a pound. For the week, the price lost 0.2%.

In London, copper, zinc and other base metals prices fell on the lME on Friday as investors locked in profits and the dollar firmed.

Three month copper, which hit a month high of $US7,253 a tonne the week before, eased and closed 0.9% down at $US7,095 a tonne.

LME zinc shed 0.8% to end at $US3,503 a tonne. Zinc inventories on the Shanghai Futures Exchange jumped 12% last week to 114,887 tonnes.

LME aluminium lost 2.1% to finish at $2,140 a tonne.

LME nickel fell 0.5% to close at $US13,765 a tonne, lead declined by 0.6% to close at $US2,531 while tin was up 0.4% to end at $US21,650.

View More Articles By Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

At the AFR he was a finance writer, Finance Editor, News Editor and Chief of Staff. At the Nine Network he was supervising producer of Business Sunday for more than 16 years. He has also written for other online and analogue print publications here and overseas.



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