Crude Posts Gains on Escalating Violence in Israel

According to Standard & Poor's, January crude oil futures rose 61 cents to $20.05 on renewed optimism that OPEC and Russia could come to an understanding on output raised hopes of a larger, rather than smaller January production hike. Also, improved OPEC compliance for November also may have impressed some traders as more bullish than expected, although it leaves the market with a current surplus of 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) or so. More violence in Israel also has raised the market, with prices soft earlier on news Iraq has agreed to continue oil exports under UN humanitarian oil sale agreement.

Precious Metals Higher

According to Phillip Gothelf of Equidex in Guttenberg, N.J.: February gold rose $3.00 to $277.90 on coattails of silver, which rose 7 cents to $4.227. Some felt silver was oversold as it got close to falling below the $4.00 level. There was some talk that if Fed cut rates again, it would end up being inflationary. Platinum rose $8.40 to $457.70, palladim rose $10.85 to $361.25 on reports Russia might withhold shipments due to recent negative Johnson Matthey report.

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