The Week in Commodities: Oil Climbs

LONDON -- This week has seen the FTSE 100 gradually edge upward, as some decent corporate earnings took the focus away from weak economic news and the eurozone crisis. However, some commodities have outperformed the stock market, with both oil and grains making strong gains thanks to supply-side pressures.

Oil prices reached their highest level since May this week, due to the ongoing conflict in Syria and poor U.S.-Iran relations. Meanwhile in the U.S., drought conditions in many agricultural areas are threatening corn yields and the U.S. Department of Agriculture now estimates that more than half the corn crop is likely to suffer "heavy or extreme loss of yield" this year. Corn prices have risen strongly over the last few weeks, and this week's performance continued that trend.

Here are the latest prices, with the change since last week in brackets. Prices are taken Friday midmorning:

  • Brent Crude $107.15/barrel (+$7.64, +7.7%)

  • WTI Crude $92.35/barrel (+$5.45, +6.3%)

  • Natural Gas $3.01/MMBTu (+$0.13, +4.6%)

  • Gold $1,584/troy oz (+$7.00, +0.4%)

  • Silver $27.45/troy oz (+$0.35, +1.3%)

  • Platinum $1,415/troy oz (-$5.00, -0.4%)

  • Palladium $581/troy oz (+$5.00, +0.9%)

  • Copper $3.50/lb (+0.03%, +1.0%)

  • Corn $8.12/bushel (+$0.70, +9.0%)

  • Wheat 193.75 pounds/tonne (+5.75 pounds, +3.1%)

Rising corn prices have been good news for investors in ETFS Corn ETC (ISE: CORN.L) , which rose by 5.1% this week. ETFS Wheat ETC (ISE: WEAT.L) also rose strongly, gaining 7.2% over the same period thanks to rising demand for this year's wheat crop.

With precious metals and copper trading broadly flat this week, the other big story was oil and gas. ETFS Brent Oil 1 Month ETC (ISE: OILB.L) , which tracks Brent Crude, gained 5.2% over the week, while ETFS Crude Oil ETC (ISE: CRUD.L) , which tracks WTI Crude (the American equivalent of Brent) rose by 5.6%. Gains were similar for natural gas ETF investors, with ETFS Natural Gas ETC (ISE: NGAS.L) gaining 5.5% through the week.

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Roland does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.
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