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This Week in Commodities

This great big world began feeling a whole lot smaller this week, as geopolitical tensions and further weakness in the U.S. dollar collided with global resource supply concerns to spur a flurry of activity by governments and corporations alike. Fortunately, This Week in Commodities is here to summarize the action.

Let the games begin
Two of the world’s superpowers played high-stakes games this week, setting a protectionist tone to nations’ ongoing efforts to secure access to natural resources. First, Russia boldly announced that foreign ownership of newly listed Russian companies engaged in geological exploration will be limited to 5%, while ownership of companies in other strategic industries will be capped at 25%.

China chose a different approach, announcing a 5% to 10% production cut by the nation’s 20 leading aluminum producers, pushing aluminum prices to spike to a new record high. Shares of Aluminum Corp. of China (NYSE:ACH), meanwhile, continue to tempt farsighted Fools.

As if training for its role in the Beijing Olympics, gold surged above $960 per ounce today, leading shares of Goldcorp (NYSE:GG) to a fresh high north of $49. Silver is up just more than 2% on Friday, topping $18.80, while shares of Silver Wheaton (NYSE:SLW) have climbed more than 7% on the day to beyond $15 per share.

Digging deeper for oil
While consumers dig deeper into their pockets to pay for gasoline, oil companies are delving deeper into the oceans in search of supply. Transocean (NYSE:RIG) recorded another record dayrate of $650,000 for a new five-year contract with Italian producer Eni. Chinese state-run producer CNOOC Ltd. (NYSE:CEO) is looking to Brazil’s Petrobras (NYSE:PBR) for some deepwater expertise, while CNOOC Ltd.’s corporate cousin China Oilfield Services Limited branched out into European waters with the purchase of the Norwegian shallow-water rig company Awilco Offshore.

Foolish final tally
While coal and agriculture stocks take a breather, further evidence of copper’s strength emerged this week. Meanwhile, Alcoa kicked off earnings season on a positive note, and South Korean steelmaker POSCO (NYSE:PKX) showed the world that Asian economies are still hopping.

I hope you enjoy this condensed news round-up. Please join us again next week as we survey all the news that matters to investors in commodity stocks.

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