A summary of trading in key commodities markets overseas:
Global oil prices diverged after the US government announced a bigger-than-expected increase in the country's commercial crude stockpiles, ahead of a decision on stimulus by the Federal Reserve.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in March, closed virtually unchanged, down half a US cent at $US97.36 a barrel.
Brent North Sea crude for March was up 22 US cents at $107.63 a barrel in London at 0746 AEDT.
Gold climbed as turmoil in emerging markets and a swoon in global stocks renew investor interest in safe-haven assets.
Gold prices are up 5.6 per cent from the three-year nadir reached in December. Recent economic data suggest an uneven US housing and labour-market recovery while political and economic turmoil has gripped developing economies from Turkey to India.
Gold for February delivery, the most actively traded contract, on Wednesday rose $US11.40, or 0.9 per cent, to settle at $US1,262.20 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, a shade below the nine-week high reached on Friday.
Worries about the health of emerging markets intensified on Wednesday after interest rate increases by central banks in Turkey and South Africa weren't enough to calm worries about the stability of emerging markets. Global stock markets fell as investors moved to the Japanese yen, US government debt, and gold.
Copper futures prices fell, capping the longest slump in 15 months, on speculation that rising borrowing costs in emerging markets will damp economic growth, eroding demand for industrial metals.
The South Africa Reserve Bank unexpectedly increased its benchmark interest rate, following central banks from Turkey to Brazil. Countries tightened monetary policy to bolster their currencies. A gauge of global equities approached the lowest in six weeks, while aluminium, nickel, zinc and lead dropped.
Copper has dropped 12 per cent in the past 12 months, partly as economic growth eased in China, the world's largest user. Global production will outstrip consumption by 167,000 metric tons this year, following a deficit of 137,000 tons in 2013, Barclays Plc has said.
On the London Metal Exchange, copper for March delivery on Wednesday fell 0.2 per cent to $US7,127 a ton.
This month, a gauge of the six major metals on the LME has declined 2.7 per cent, heading for the biggest drop for a January since 2010.