Crude oil is steady after rising for a fifth day yesterday
following government reports that showed that U.S. inventories
dropped and the country's economy grew more than previously
estimated in the third quarter.
U.S. stockpiles fell 5.33 million barrels to 340.7 million last
week, the lowest level since Feb. 19, the Energy Department said. A
decline of 3.4 million barrels was forecast, according to the
median of 14 responses in a Bloomberg News survey.
Crude oil for February delivery right now is 0.04 below
Wednesday's settlement at $90.48 a barrel, up $0.66, the highest
settlement since Oct. 3, 2008.
Metals are lower with gold down $7.30 at $1,380.10 an ounce on
the Comex in New York. Copper futures, meanwhile, is another down
$0.0495 to $4.2255 after retreating about 0.3% yesterday from a
record $4.2965 a pound early in the session.
The International Copper Study Group forecast a 435,000-ton
deficit for the metal worthwide last year, reportedly prompting
analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Standard Chartered Plc to
predict higher prices in 2011.
In company news, Rio Tinto Group (
) will acquire Riversdale Mining Ltd. for about $3.9 billion,
gaining much-needed coking coal reserves in in Mozambique as global
demand rises. Rio's A$16-a-share offer is a 13% premium to
Riversdale stock price before the companies said on Dec. 6 they
were discussing a possible deal.
Solitario Exploration & Royalty (
) and Ely Gold & Minerals (ELY.V) said they have launched a
joint venture to develop the Centennial gold deposit in Nevada.
Solitrario will pay $300,000 initially in exchange for a 10% stake
in the joint venture, which can grow to 80% by completing certain
Also, Ecopetrol S.A. (
) has won approval from Brazilian authorities to participate in
Block BM-S-1413, a 160-square-kilometer exploration tract in the
Santos Basin, about 300 km southeast of Sao Paulo. Ecopetrol will
hold a 13% stake in the offshore project, with Petrobras Argentina
) and ONGC Campos Ltda. each owning a 43.5% stake. EC officials
said the project is part of its international expansion strategy,
which looks to increase daily production to 1.0 million barrels of
oil equivalent by 2015 and 1.3 million barrels by 2020.