Oil, gold and copper prices soar
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Oil prices soared more than 3.5 per cent, climbing back above $US101 per barrel after a crackdown on protesters in Bahrain and the US stepped up pressure for UN action against Libya's Muammar Gaddafi.
Prices also rose on the expectation that Japan will boost fuel imports as its refineries and factories recover from the earthquake and tsunami disaster.
And the world's largest oil consumer, the US, reported that unemployment claims dropped to the lowest level since July 2008, raising hopes that oil and gasoline demand will soon increase.
Benchmark crude added $US3.44 to settle at $US101.42 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In London, Brent crude rose $US4.21, nearly four per cent, to settle at $U114.65 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
In other Nymex trading for April contracts, heating oil gained 6.77 cents to settle at $US3.0649 per gallon and gasoline futures added 10.69 cents to settle at $US2.9506 per gallon.
Natural gas rose 22 cents to settle at $US4.158 per 1,000 cubic feet.
In its weekly report, the Energy Department said the US natural gas supplies shrank by 56 billion cubic feet. Supplies are about 1.4 per cent above the five-year average.
April gold rose $U8.10 to settle at $US1,404.20 an ounce and May silver dropped 21.4 cents to settle at $US34.258 an ounce.
Copper rose 14.65 cents to settle at $US4.344 a pound.