The TDCI in U.S. dollars advanced 5.3% last week, with gains spread nearly across the entire commodity complex. The energy sector led the way, rising by 7.3%, while agricultural products were next in line with a 4.2% jump. A surge in the loonie to 97 US cents left the index in Canadian dollar terms up by only 2.8%.

- After remaining in the US$65-75 range since mid-summer, crude oil prices broke through the upper bound last week, rising as high as US$78 per barrel. The upward momentum stemmed from a depreciation in the U.S. dollar to a new 2009 low against a basket of major currencies, a bullish U.S. inventory report, and a solid U.S. industrial production report. This is the first time since last October that crude oil prices traded above US$75 per barrel.

- Natural gas prices jumped 8% last week as they continued to flirt with the US$4 per MMBtu mark. Near-term forecasts for below-normal temperatures in key consuming regions helped to buoy prices, while spillover from the crude oil market also provided some support.

- Uranium prices shot up by nearly 6% last week after an accident at Olympic Dam in Australia threatened to limit output for the remainder of this year. As well, greater interest in nuclear power in the U.S. in light of the proposed cap-and-trade legislations and the sliding U.S. dollar also helped to give prices a boost.

- The slide in the greenback also triggered a surge in demand for precious metals. Gold prices reached a new record of US$1,059, while silver prices jumped 2.5% to a 15-month high. Some profit taking drove prices back down towards the end of the week.

- A 6% jump sent wheat prices to the highest level seen since early August. The strength came early in the week on spillover from rallies in the corn and soybean markets, as well as weakness in the U.S. dollar. Prices then gave up some of their gains toward the end of the week on concerns that wheat was overbought.

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