Commodities markets summary

AAP

A summary of trading in key commodities markets overseas:

ENERGY

Global oversupply concerns dragged Brent crude oil prices down on Monday to their weakest level in more than 11 years, but Wall Street gained broadly as investors went shopping after two days of sharp declines.

Across the board, markets remained locked in a holding pattern.

"The market is waiting for the next announcement," said Tyche Capital Advisors senior research analyst John Macaluso.

"The equity markets are waiting on crude oil, and crude oil is waiting for a bounce before shorts will come back into the market."

Crude short-sellers will be reluctant to return before US crude recovers to $US35.50, he said.

The market, which has been plagued this year by an oversupply of crude oil and weakening demand, is continuing to face pressure going into 2016.

"It seems the bearish fundamentals continue to drive prices lower," said Gene McGillian, senior analyst at Tradition Energy

in Stamford, Connecticut.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in February, fell 25 US cents, to $35.81 a barrel.

Brent futures recovered some ground to settle down 1.4 percent at $36.35 a barrel after falling as much as 2.3 per cent to $US36.04 earlier, the lowest since July 2, 2004.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold futures prices are up than one per cent as weaker than expected US data and uncertainty about how fast the Federal Reserve will tighten interest rates next year weighed on the US dollar.

A renewed slump in crude oil to its lowest levels since 2004 was seen as curbing gold's ascent in the near term. The metal is usually seen as a hedge against oil-led inflation.

Spot gold rose 1.2 per cent to $US1,078.49 an ounce, following a 1.4 per cent gain on Friday. US gold futures for February delivery settled up 1.5 per cent at $US1,080.60 an ounce.

Liquidity is expected to drop as trading enters the last two weeks of the year, when many will be away from their desks for the Christmas and New Year holiday season.

"(A) good short-covering rally continues for the short holiday week," said George Gero, precious metals strategist for RBC Capital Markets in New York.

"The double bottom of the December 3 (low) below $US1,050 may become a technical factor."

BASE METALS

Copper hit a five-week peak on Monday on signs that supplies could tighten and as the dollar slipped, although worries that Chinese economic growth will remain muted next year kept gains in check.

The US dollar fell versus a currency basket, making greenback-priced metals cheaper for non-US investors.

In China, nine large copper smelters agreed they could deepen planned production cuts next year beyond 350,000 tonnes proposed earlier if prices and profitability deteriorate.

Also, China's top integrated copper producer Jiangxi Copper and Chilean miner Antofagasta Minerals also agreed to 2016 treatment and refining charges nine per cent lower than this year's fees.

"These one off events to take supply off the market ... (have) made short speculators nervous (but) without a major pickup in Chinese demand it doesn't look like copper will move much higher," said Carsten Menke, analyst at Julius Baer.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange ended up 1.1 per cent at $US4,738 a tonne, having earlier hit a five-week high at $US4,745. Prices have rebounded about seven per cent since hitting six and a half year lows below $US4,450 in November.

Helping the metal, China's refined copper imports rose 12 per cent year-on-year in November to 358,727 tonnes.

But limiting copper's gains was news that some Chinese importers of refined copper have reduced bookings of term shipments for 2016, expecting tepid domestic demand.

China consumes nearly half the world's copper.