Company News

by Glenn Dyer

Gold futures closed at the second record high in as many days on Thursday ahead of the Easter break. Buying momentum continues even as the dollar and treasury yields rose ahead of what turned out to be almost OK inflation figures released on Good Friday.

Gold for June delivery closed up US$25.70 to settle at US$2,238.40 per ounce.

The US dollar also rose after Thursday's release of revised US GDP data for the fourth-quarter, pushing the growth in the economy up to 3.4% from the original 3.2% figure, showing the US economic growth continued to run hot despite interest rates at the highest in 23 years.

The ICE dollar index was last seen up 0.12 points to 104.49 and the Aussie dollar struggled back over 65 US cents (to 65.19 US cents) in very light trading Good Friday.

US Treasury bond yields rose (which is normally bearish for gold), with the US two-year note last seen paying 4.632%, up 4.9 basis points, while the yield on the 10-year note was up 1.1 basis points to 4.205%.

Comex gold was up around 8% for the first quarter, which is better than inflation and due to continuing buying by some central banks. Most of that gain came in March with a 7% rise.

Comex copper ended the month and quarter at $US4.007 a pound for a gain of 2.97% for the year to date, thanks to the 3.84% gain in March.

That was off the back of a shortage of copper concentrates for the global copper processing industry -- especially in China, which is responsible for more than 48% of annual global copper output.

SGX iron ore futures ended at $US101.95 a tonne, down 11% for March and 27% since the start of 2024.

And May US West Texas Intermediate crude oil ended the month, week and quarter at $US83.17 a barrel, up 4.1% for March and more than 16% for the first quarter.

Brent crude ended at $US87.07 a barrel (both after very light trading in Asia on Friday). That was up 4.3% for March and 13% for the year so far.

The number of oil rigs in the United States fell by three, to 506, in the week to March 28.

The weekly Baker Hughes rig count data released on the Thursday before Easter showed that, year over year, oil rig numbers in use were down by 86. 506 on Easter Thursday was six rigs more than the 500 at the end of 2023.

The US gas rig count remained unchanged at 112, down 48 compared to last year. and down 8 from the end of 2023.

The total number of rigs in the country currently stands at 621, which is down by three from last week, down 134 from the same week a year ago, but up nine from the end of 2023. 

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.

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