In this monthly news roundup, we'll look at how crude finally halted its freefall in February, gold's biggest monthly loss since September and how reports of a Chinese economic stimulus impacted copper prices.
Crude futures rebound to end the month
Following seven months of declines, crude futures made a comeback in February. Brent crude posted its largest monthly percentage increase in almost six years.
According to MarketWatch, crude for April delivery rose $1.59, or 3.3 percent, landing at $49.76 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. For the month, prices based on the front-month contracts, climbed 3.2 percent, though they were down 2.1 percent in the last week.
"Following seven months of declines, crude futures made a comeback in February."
April Brent crude on London's ICE Futures exchange rose $2.53, or 4.2 percent, to end the last session of the month at $62.58 per barrel, MarketWatch also reported. Prices for the European benchmark skyrocketed by 18.1 percent, which was the biggest monthly gain for an active monthly contract since May 2009, when Brent tacked on nearly 29 percent. For the last week in February, Brent climbed 3.9 percent.
"Bears are way out of breath to punish the oil price further, as it was clearly seen when the crude inventory data was released earlier this week," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade, ahead of the latest rig data.
Gold prices post biggest monthly decline since September
Bloomberg reported that gold prices fell by 5.2 percent in February, it's largest decline since September 2014. Analysts believe that investors' expectations for rising borrowing costs in the U.S., along with news of a bailout deal for Greece led the precious metal's price to drop in February.
Regardless, gold did end the month on a slight upswing. According to Bloomberg, gold futures may have increased due to a government report that the U.S. economy grew slower than expected in the fourth quarter of last year.
According to the news source, gold futures for April delivery rose 0.2 percent to settle at $1,213.10 an ounce at 1:37 p.m. on Feb. 27 on the Comex in New York.
Copper prices rise the most since September 2012
A report from Bloomberg found that in February, copper prices increased by 7.9 percent, the most since September 2012. Analysts believe the price gain may be due to continued speculation that China's government will expand its economic stimulus programs.
To end the month, copper futures for May delivery dropped 0.1 percent to settle at $2.6915 a pound at 1:27 p.m. on the Comex in New York, Bloomberg reported.
While the red metal did end the month on a very slight decline, the Shanghai Futures Exchange showed that copper stockpiles in the week that ended Thursday, Feb. 26, increased 33 percent from a week earlier, which marked the largest gain since February 2012.
"Today's selloff is a combination of two things: the weekly stocks increase for Shanghai warehouses that hadn't been reported during the holiday time period, but also material continues to move into LME warehouses," Eric Zuccarelli, an independent trader in New York, said in a telephone interview with Bloomberg in regards to the slight downtick the commodity saw at the very end of February.
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