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The Bull Case
CNBC.com | March 12, 2012 | 11:28 AM EDT

U.S. demand for oil has been sluggish since the financial crisis while domestic supply is more than ample as measured by the price of West Texas Intermediate or WTI crude. Supplies of unleaded gasoline and heating oil , however, are much lower, providing an opportunity. If you’ve filled up recently, it’s easy to see the attraction of betting on a rise in gas prices through gasoline futures contracts.

Oil produced outside the U.S., as measured by Brent crude, is more expensive and more susceptible to price spikes from potential supply disruptions in the Persian Gulf.

“An escalation in Iran would be supportive for energy prices, especially for the energy commodities with lower levels of inventory such as Brent crude,” adds Highbridge’s Mark Nodelman. “This is how prices responded to the crisis in Libya in early 2011.”

Taking both supply and demand into account leads Van Eck Global’s Charl Malan to the semi-precious metals platinum and palladium . Malan, a senior metals and mining analyst for the commodity asset manager, says both metals should benefit from surging auto demand in China. (Platinum and palladium are used in catalytic converters for gas and diesel engines, respectively.)

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