West Texas Intermediate (WTI), also known as Texas light sweet, is a grade of crude oil used as a benchmark in oil pricing. WTI contracts are sold chiefly on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Historically, WTI has traded closely to Brent and the OPEC basket, but it currently is discounted against Brent crude oil. Historical price data for WTI can be found at the Energy Information Administration of the Department of Energy.
Brent Crude is a trading classification of sweet light crude oil that serves as a major benchmark price for purchases of oil worldwide. Brent Crude is sourced from the North Sea, and comprises Brent Blend, Forties Blend, Oseberg and Ekofisk crudes (also known as the BFOE Quotation). The index represents the average price of trading in the 21-day BFOE market in the relevant delivery month as reported and confirmed by the industry media. Only published cargo size (600,000 barrels [95,000 m3]) trades and assessments are taken into consideration.
NGAS is the pricing point for natural gas futures contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) and the OTC swaps traded on Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). Spot and future prices set at Henry Hub are denominated in $/mmbtu (millions of British thermal units) and are generally seen to be the primary price set for the North American natural gas market. North American unregulated wellhead and burner tip natural gas prices are closely correlated to those set at Henry Hub.
COMEX Copper is widely considered as one of the key cyclical commodities, given its extensive usage in construction, infrastructure and an array of equipment manufacturing. The biggest end-use is for the production of cables, wiring and electrical goods because of its excellent electricity conducting properties. The construction sector is the second largest user of copper, for plumbing, HVAC and building wiring applications. Although found in abundance and widely extracted as well as recycled, the copper value chain is quite capital intensive. This makes the market susceptible to supply-side constraints, and therefore, volatile price fluctuations.
Gold is traded in the spot market, and the gold spot price is quoted as US dollar per troy ounce. Since 1919, the most common benchmark for the price of gold has been the London gold fixing, a twice-daily telephone meeting of representatives from five bullion-trading firms of the London bullion market. Gold is traded continuously throughout the world based on the intra-day spot price, derived from over-the-counter gold-trading markets around the world (code XAU).
The price of silver is driven by speculation and supply and demand—mainly by large traders or investors, short selling, industrial, consumer and commercial demand, and to hedge against financial stress. Compared to gold, the price of silver is notoriously volatile. This is because of lower market liquidity, and demand fluctuations between industrial and store of value uses. At times this can cause wide-ranging valuations in the market creating volatility.
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