COMMODITY BRIEFS

COMMODITY BRIEFS

DEMAND MAY RISE

FOR PRECIOUS METALSFRANKFURT, West Germany - The introduction of economic reforms in Eastern Europe, and especially in East Germany, could boost demand for precious metals, Alexander Mentz, a board member of West German metals trading group Degussa said here Monday.

Speaking during the presentation of Degussa's 1988-89 group results, Alexander Mentz said Eastern European output and trade in precious metals had, until now, been monopolized by the state and said supplies of precious metals for private and industrial use had always been tight.

''Once economic reforms have been achieved and their markets liberalized there will be a lot of catching up to do," he said. This applied not only to the industrial sector - for use in chemical, environmental and electronic fields - but also in the dental and jewelry sector, he said.

Mr. Mentz said it is difficult at this stage to say what effect the potential additional demand from Eastern Europe will have on precious metals.

The Soviet Union is likely, as part of its procurement of hard currency, to sell precious metals into world markets, but Mr. Mentz said economic reforms would also keep domestic demand high.

COMEX TO INCREASE

MARGINS ON GOLD

NEW YORK - The Commodity Exchange Inc. has increased original margin requirements on gold futures contracts by $700 a contract, effective with the start of trading today, because of increased volatility.

Speculative margins will increase to $2,100 a contract from $1,400, and hedge margins will increase to $1,700 from $1,000.