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A summary of trading in key commodities markets overseas:

ENERGY

Global oil prices weakened as traders balanced solid US crude demand against news of shrinking Chinese manufacturing output.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April was down 39 US cents to $US110.08 per barrel in London at 0733 AEDT.

New York's main contract West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for March was down six US cents at $US103.25 a barrel.

The US government's Department of Energy (DoE) revealed that American commercial crude inventories rose 1.0 million barrels in the week ending February 14.

That was less than market expectations for a gain of 1.8 million, indicating stronger-than-expected demand.

Distillates reserves, which include diesel and heating fuel, slid by 300,000 barrels. Analysts had pencilled in a far bigger drop of 1.9 million barrels.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold prices fell after weak manufacturing sector data from China reignited worries the world's second-largest economy is heading for a slowdown.

Factory activity in China -- the world's top gold consumer -- fell to a seven-month low in February, a preliminary reading of the HSBC Manufacturing Purchasing Manager's Index showed. The data suggested the country's economy may be cooling off, as the government shifts its focus to slower, but more sustainable growth.

The most-actively traded contract, gold for April delivery, on Thursday closed down $US3.50 a troy ounce, or 0.5 per cent, to $US1,316.90.

Gold prices pared some losses after US data showed consumer prices, which are closely watched by the Federal Reserve as an indicator of economic health, held nearly flat last month.

BASE METALS

Copper closed lower on the London Metal Exchange (LME) after the HSBC's weaker-than-expected report on Chinese manufacturing dealt a blow to investor confidence.

At the PM kerb close on Thursday, LME three-month copper was down 0.4 per cent at $US7,155 a metric ton.

Copper prices fell after a Chinese manufacturing data raised doubts over the country's demand for industrial metals.

HSBC's preliminary manufacturing purchasing managers index slid to a seven-month low at 48.3 in February from a final score of 49.5 in January. A score below 50 points to a contraction in factory activity.

Aluminium held up the best of the base metals, closing 0.2 per cent higher at $US1,772 a ton. The metal has found support in recent days from news on Tuesday that aluminium giant Alcoa Inc plans to close a large aluminium smelter in Australia, cutting total capacity by 4.8 per cent.