COMMODITIES

Platinum prices surged 13.5 per cent last week to their highest level in more than two years as a prolonged delay in Russian exports choked the supply. Russia hasn't exported any metal since December. A review of the market by brokers at Johnson Matthey said falling Russian supplies have cut the surplus this year to 80,000 ounces from 190,000 in 1995.

COFFEE prices, which have risen more than 100 per cent this year, fell back 14.1 per cent last week on indications that Brazil's coffee crop, the world's largest, will be free of frost damage in the next 10 days as the harvest gets under way. A plentiful, frost-free harvest could help remove the threat of shortages, which has powered the price rises all year.

SUGAR rose 2.5 per cent to an eight-month high on expectations that demand will exceed supply from the autumn. Cuba, the second-largest exporter, confirmed that its harvest will be about 20 per cent below the original forecast and as much as 10 per cent lower than last year.

The price of GASOLINE fell 9.9 per cent because European demand for the fuel is unseasonably weak. Some refineries are closed for seasonal maintenance, reducing activity in the spot market.

Copyright: IOS & Bloomberg

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