Commodities markets summary

A summary of trading in key commodities markets overseas:

ENERGY

Oil prices have reversed gains as a bigger-than-expected rise in US crude stocks tempered concerns about reduced production in Canada's oil sands region due to a wildfire.

US crude stocks grew by 2.8 million barrels in the past week, versus expectations of a 1.7 million barrel build, Energy Information Administration data showed. Petrol stocks also posted a surprise increase.

Brent crude was down five US cents to $US44.92 a barrel, while WTI was up 13 US cents to at $US43.78 a barrel, at 0755 Thursday AEST.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold has dropped one per cent, falling further from a 15-month high on pressure from the strong US dollar, which retreated from recent lows against the yen and euro as US trade and factory order data eased some worries.

"It's a lot of dollar strength," said Anthem Blanchard, chief executive of Anthem Vault, precious metals dealer in Austin, Texas.

"You have people running to Treasuries because of Fed speak. We're not really sure what the Fed is intending to do."

Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart on Tuesday said the US could see two more interest rate rises in 2016, while San Francisco Fed President John Williams said he would support a rate hike in June as long as he sees continued progress on the economy, inflation and jobs.

Silver was down 0.9 per cent at $US17.26 an ounce, while platinum was down 1.3 per cent at $US1,047.74 an ounce and palladium was down 1.6 per cent at $US595.80 an ounce.

BASE METALS

Copper prices have fallen on a stronger US dollar and as weak manufacturing data, particularly from top consumer China, highlights poor demand prospects.

London Metal Exchange benchmark copper closed down 1.1 per cent at $US4,867 a tonne.

The Caixin/Markit survey of purchasing managers in China's manufacturing sector fell to 49.4 in April from 49.7 in March, the 14th consecutive month of shrinkage.

"The Chinese PMI were disappointing. It's a case of wait and see what the broader Chinese economic data brings," said VTB analyst Wiktor Bielski.

"It all goes back to China." Base metals markets are waiting to see if industrial production, investment, loans and property market data for April confirms the pick up seen in March.

Three-month aluminium closed little changed at $US1,633.50 a tonne from $US1,634 a tonne.

Zinc fell 0.5 per cent to $US1,888, lead slipped 0.1 per cent to $US1,763, tin rose 0.7 per cent to $US17,400 and nickel lost 0.8 per cent to $US9,445.

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