COMMODITIES

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Crude: Futures prices rose more than 4 per cent on both sides of the Atlantic. They were pushed higher by rising US petrol prices as problems at several US refineries threatened to reduce supplies when demand is near record high levels. Prices were also lifted by speculation that supplies of Nigerian oil would be blocked by strike action.

Wheat: Wheat fell 2.76 per cent to its lowest price in three weeks on signs that an April freeze in the US caused less damage to the winter wheat crop than had been feared. The winter crop is estimated to be 11 per cent higher than last year's. Prices recovered towards the end of the week as dry weather continued in Kansas, the US's largest wheat-producing state, with little rain expected there during the coming week.

Soybean: Prices fell after the US government said export sales were weaker than expected, and high US prices sent buyers to South American sellers. Sales of soybeans were down 38 per cent for the week ended 1 May from the previous week, the US Department of Agriculture said. Recent prices have been at an eight-and-a-half year high, leading many buyers to seek cheaper supplies from Brazil and Argentina.

Coffee: Coffee made further gains, rising 10.1 per cent after reaching a three-year high last week amid persistent concerns over supplies following smaller-than-expected harvests in Latin American countries. The supply shortfall is expected to remain in place until July when shipments from Brazil, the world's largest coffee producer, start in earnest. Copyright: IOS & Bloomberg

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