This Week in Commodities

It's been a weak week for the U.S. dollar, with the Federal Reserve confirming its position between a rock and a hard place and leading to further strength in gold -- both the black and yellow varieties.

Black gold
Oil traded above $142 last night, another fresh high. Diverse price pressures converged to create this rise, including the weaker U.S. dollar, recent attacks on oil infrastructure in Nigeria (an action causing Chevron (NYSE: CXV  ) and Royal Dutch Shell to suspend 345,000 barrels per day of production), heightened tensions over Iran, the president of OPEC hinting at $150 oil prices for this summer, and talk of reduced output from Libya.

In related equity news, Transocean (NYSE: RIG  ) managed to convince Brazil's Petrobras (NYSE: PBR  ) and Mitsui to finance a new $750 million drillship, while Occidental Petroleum (NYSE: OXY  ) scooped up a 15% stake in Total's Joslyn oil sands project. And ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM  ) was let off the hook for roughly $2 billion worth of punitive damages related to the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Yellow gold
Thursday's troubling drops in the major U.S. indices were only part of the day's story. Gold and the U.S. dollar index moved fairly dramatically in opposite directions, with gold crashing back above $930 an ounce and sending shares of gold stocks such as Yamana Gold (NYSE: AUY  ) rocketing upwards. There remains some ground to cover before recapturing the March peak of just above $1,000 an ounce, but recent strength continues to build a springboard for recovery out of the present gold correction.

Check back with us next week for another Foolish spin on the week that was in commodities!

Last call for key news:

Fool contributor Christopher Barker captains yachts and writes about stocks. He can also be found acting Foolishly within the CAPS community under the username TMFSinchiruna. Christopher owns shares of Yamana Gold. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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