Commodity prices did a bit better on Friday and for the week, though oil again saw a solid fall and petrol prices here in Australia are now well under $1.70 a litre.
Major oil contracts for West Texas Intermediate and Brent crudes are now down 13% to more than 15% in the past fortnight.
Brent crude fell 8.7% to settle at $US94.92. That was after the fall of 4.2% for the previous week.
US West Texas crude lost 9.7% to settle at $US89.01 – the first time they have ended under $US90 a barrel since early February (before the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late the same month). That was after a fall of 6.75% the previous week.
Out of the blue, US oil rig numbers had their biggest drop for more than 9 months and the first weekly fall in 10 weeks.
Oil services group, Baker Hughes said there was a fall of seven in the number of rigs to 598 in the week to last Friday.
Gas rigs though rose four to 161, their highest since August 2019.
That saw the combined oil and gas fall by three to 764, which puts the total rig count still up 273, or 56%, over this time last year, Baker Hughes said.
The weakness last week came despite a small, 100,000 barrel a day increase in the OPEC+ group’s global production cap. That was announced Thursday and seem to trigger a slide in oil prices.
Oil prices on Thursday fell to the lowest since early February on an unexpected rise in US oil and gasoline inventories that were taken as a sign of weakening demand as the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates to slow inflation.
But the 528,000 extra jobs in July and lower unemployment rate of 3.5% (from 3.6%) will change the view on demand and the health of the economy
Comex gold fell back from a one-month high on Friday, dipping below the $US1,800 mark after the unexpectedly strong rise in US jobs in July.
Gold for December delivery closed down $15.70 to US$US1,791.20 an ounce. That left gold up 0.57% for the week.
The price of the metal fell after the United States reported it added 528,000 new jobs in July, more than double the consensus estimate for a 258,000 rise and pushing the unemployment rate to 3.5% from 3.6%.
The US dollar rose following the report, making gold more expensive for international buyers. The ICE dollar index was last seen up 0.97 points to 106.56.
Bond yields also climbed, bearish for gold since it offers no interest. The US 10-year note was last seen at 2.83%.
Comex silver fell 1.67% for the week to end at $US19.82 an ounce. Comex copper eased 0.9% to end at $US3.553 a pound.
Iron ore prices (for 62% Fe fines) fell by around 6% to $US108.70 on the Singapore commodity futures market from $US114.99 a tonne the previous Friday.
Newcastle thermal coal futures slumped by more than $US70 a tonne to $US335 a tonne on Friday night for the October ICE contract.
Wheat fell nearly 5% to 780 US cents a bushel by Friday in its third straight week of falling trading volumes as global hedge funds pulled out of the market and as exports trickle out of Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Agriculture reported a 45% year-on-year drop in seed harvests, with an average of 3.64 tonnes per hectare. The suggests the next lot of plantings will be much smaller than normal.
Three ships containing nearly 60,000 tons of corn left the port of Odessa in an effort to ease the strain on grain demand.
Corn lost 2.80% to 602 cents a bushel and soybeans fell 2.4% to $US14.56 a bushel.