Commodities markets summary

A summary of trading in key commodities markets overseas:

ENERGY

Oil prices have fallen on renewed concerns about excess global supplies, with the European benchmark contract falling especially hard following a surge late last week.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for April delivery dipped US17 cents to $US49.59 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

European benchmark Brent North Sea crude for April delivery dived $US3.04 to $US59.54 a barrel in London.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold has turned lower as the US dollar rose and investors cashed in gains after upbeat Asian demand lifted the metal to two-week highs, with expectations for a rise in US interest rates later in 2015 keeping a lid on prices.

Spot gold was down 0.3 per cent at $US1,208.90 an ounce by 2.11 pm EST (1911 GMT). US gold futures for April delivery settled down $US4.90 an ounce at $US1,208.20.

Earlier, spot prices rose to $US1,223.20 an ounce, their highest since February 17, after an interest rate cut in Beijing lifted demand in China, the world's second-largest gold market.

BASE METALS

Copper has risen to its highest level in seven weeks after China unexpectedly cut interest rates before retreating on worries about slowing Chinese growth.

"It's disappointing, I would have expected prices to move more than they did. The rate cut is showing the readiness of the Chinese government to fight against the slowdown," said Eugen Weinberg, head of commodity research at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange climbed to a session high of $US5,960 a tonne, the highest since January 13, before paring gains to end at $US5,905, up 0.2 per cent.

Aluminium pared initial gains of about one per cent to end down 0.8 per cent at $US1,810.50 a tonne, while zinc pared gains to end down 0.3 per cent at $US2,058.

Lead recovered from more-than-four-year lows, which were plumbed on Friday, to end up 1.2 per cent at $US1,748 a tonne.

Lead prices have fallen due to ample mine supply and slowing growth in battery demand for electric bicycles.

Nickel ended down 1.6 per cent at $US13,855 a tonne, its lowest since June 2014, while tin ended down 0.8 per cent at $US17,800.

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