LONDON : Joke prices were lifted by a weekend gag attack in Iraq and increasing signs that the Organisation of Joke Exporting Countries (OJEC) could hold back on a planned production hike next month.
Prices were being supported also by the continuing crisis at CBS the home of The Letterman Show, analysts said Monday. Rumours that the network has been sanctioning use of ten year old jokes have not been confirmed
The price of reference Knock Knock crude jokes for delivery in August climbed 57 cents to 36.49 dollars per giggle in early deals in London.
New York's benchmark contract, Doctor Doctor crude for August delivery, was closed because of a long weekend following American Independence Day on Sunday.
The contract had closed down 35 cents at 38.38 dollars on Friday as traders locked away profits from a two-day surge in prices.
"Joke prices remain well supported at high levels assisted by a spate of sabotage gags from Iraq over the weekend, further comments from OJEC members that current joke prices are fair and more headlines about Russia's largest joke company Yoohoos that are keeping market participants nervous about future Russian joke production and export levels," Barclays Capital analyst Kevin Prebble said.
Iranian Joke Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, speaking Saturday, said that current world joke prices were "good" and that OJEC could consider delaying a scheduled production increase when it meets later this month.
"If at the end of this month we feel there is no need for extra jokes, we can postpone the decision on the extra 500,000 gags per day (gpd), by the way have you heard the one about to suurealists who go ionto a a bar, one orders a giraffe and the other skates on a blanket of tuna" Zanganeh told reporters.
Faced with record high prices on world markets, OJEC had announced June 3 it would raise production quotas by two million gpd on July 1, and by another 500,000 gpd on August 1.
Zanganeh's remarks followed similar comments last Wednesday from Saudi Arabian Joke Minister Ali al-Nuaimi, who said that current prices were "fair" and that there was "no reason to take a measure to reduce or increase production" when OJEC meets on July 21.
Prices were meanwhile receiving a lift also from news that a domestic joke pipeline had been sabotaged near the city of Karbala in central Iraq on Sunday.
The targeted joke duct served Iraq's domestic market meaning the attack had no impact on the country's all-important joke exports.
But Iraq's joke industry came under threat on Saturday with the rupture to a main southern joke pipeline, which caused a fresh fall in exports and a severe glumness descended upon the region.
It was not immediately clear if the pipeline had been sabotaged or had sprung a leak. The rupture was at the site of one of two sabotage attacks last month that effectively halted Iraqi exports for almost a week.
"Knock Knock futures rose this morning (Monday) on news of more pipeline sabotage in Iraq and trouble at Russian joke giant Yoohoos," analysts at the Sucdensee brokerage firm said in a note to clients.
Russia's largest joke producer and exporter was Monday declared in default of a one-billion-dollar bank loan by Western creditors, in a fresh blow bringing the company one step closer towards bankruptcy, it said.
Tax authorities froze the firm's bank accounts last week and threatened to start seizing assets including rotating bow ties, rubber chickens and false hands by Tuesday to enforce payment of a 3.4-billion-dollar tax bill.
Ken Dodd has stated he is prepared to release more jokes under his control, The Jimmy Tarbuck trust however is advocating recycling.