In this January futures news roundup, we'll look at how crude oil prices have stayed in freefall, why gold is attracting some investors and why copper is about to post its worst January in 27 years.
Crude oil poised to end the month on a double-digit drop
Early reports on Friday suggested that crude oil is slated for a 2.5 percent decline for the last week in January and a 16 percent decline for the entire month, according to a report from MarketWatch.
The news source reported that WTI crude for March delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange shed $.25, falling to $44.42 a barrel on Friday, Jan. 31. Just the day before, the contract dropped below the $44-a-barrel mark for the first time in nearly six years.
A report from Bloomberg highlighted the role that the continuing crude oil supply glut from OPEC is playing in pushing the commodity's prices down. OPEC's crude production expanded by 483,000 barrels a day to 30.905 million a day this month, led by increases in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Angola.
Some investors return to gold, but the metal's gains could be short lived
After sustaining its longest rally in two years, gold is finally luring some investors back. But despite the recent price gains, the precious metal could see a reversal as 2015 goes on, Bloomberg reported.
On Friday, gold rose 0.5 percent to $1,262 an ounce on the Comex at 9:17 a.m. in New York. Gold futures in New York have climbed for three straight months now, and based on a report from Bloomberg, this month will show the largest price increase since February 2014.
The precious metal's gains are largely believed to have been the result of the flagging economies in Europe and Asia. Notably, analysts pointed out that gold prices seemed to climb quickly immediately after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi announced an extensive stimulus package to revive the moribund euro zone economy.
But the U.S. economy continues to show signs of a strong recovery, and it has been widely speculated that the Fed will raise rates this year, a development some analysts believe could send gold back on a downward trend over the next year.
"Copper appears slated to post its worst January since 1988."
Copper on the verge of its worst January in 27 years
Following its seventh straight week of declines, copper appears slated to post its worst January since 1988, Bloomberg reported.
The news source wrote that in New York, futures for March delivery declined 0.5 percent to $2.439 a pound on Friday. Copper for April in Shanghai fell 0.6 percent to close at 39,090 yuan ($6,255) a ton.
Analysts and investors are pointing to the slow growth of industrial profits in China, as well as this month's PMI report from the Chinese government that revealed the consistently weakening demand for the metal in the country, as the culprit behind copper's long decline.
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