markets

Commodities Surge to Highest Level Since 2015

  • Industrial metals prices jump amid Russia sanctions concern
  • Crude gets a boost from report showing drop in inventories

A key gauge of commodity prices has reached its highest level in 2 1/2 years as oil rises and concerns about U.S.-Russia tensions boost industrial metals.

The CRB commodity index rose more than 1 percent on Wednesday, touching 201.88, its top level since October 2015.

“While oil is certainly a main contributor today, nickel is spiking by more than 10 percent on worries that a furtherance of Russian sanctions will hit Norilsk Nickel, the world’s second-biggest producer,” Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Financial Group LLC, wrote in a note Wednesday.

WTI crude reached its highest level since December 2014, extending gains after the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s weekly report showed an unexpected drawdown in oil inventories.

The metals market, meanwhile, has been thrown into turmoil by U.S. sanctions against United Co. Rusal, the largest aluminum producer outside China. Aluminum has risen more than 25 percent in the last 10 sessions to the highest level since August 2011 amid a scramble by consumers, manufacturers and traders to secure supply. Now, nickel is following in its footsteps.

— With assistance by Mark Burton

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