COMMODITIES-Down again on Europe fears; oil, metals sink

Tue May 8, 2012 5:03pm EDT

* Oil records biggest 5-day drop since October
    * US copper logs sharpest 1-day loss in a month
    * Sugar, coffee, cocoa and soybeans down too

    By Barani Krishnan	
    NEW YORK, May 8 (Reuters) - Commodities fell across the
board o n T uesday, with oil notching its biggest five-day loss
since October and copper posting its biggest slide in a month as
post-election worries in Greece and France sparked broad risk
aversion across financial markets.	
    The dollar's unyielding strength against the euro and
forecasts for bountiful crop supplies fueled selling in some
agricultural markets. Sugar tumbled to 20-month lows while
soybeans closed down a second straight day.  	
    Analysts said Greece's political turmoil and a leadership
change in France triggered the sell-off. The 19-commodity
Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index slid nearly 1
percent. Since its close on May 1, the CRB has lost more than 4
percent, slipping in four out of five sessions. 	
    Wall Street stocks also fell, while the dollar and U.S.
Treasuries rose on safe-haven buying.	
    Oil prices fell for a fifth day running as Athens's
post-election uncertainty added to signs of economic slowdown on
both sides of the Atlantic and fanned concerns about weakening
demand for petroleum as supply grows.	
    Crude futures, the euro and U.S. stocks all pared losses
after early tumbles on news that Left Coalition leader Alexis
Tsipras will not cooperate with Greece's two main parties unless
they renege on pledges to abide by a bailout deal with the
European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
  	
    In France, new Socialist President-elect Francois Hollande
has advocated an approach to tackling the debt crisis centered
more on growth, which may create tensions with Germany's
insistence on fiscal austerity. 	
    "As Europe's political, financial and social cohesion
crumbles, it will have the attendant effect on demand" for
commodities, said Michael Fitzpatrick, editor of industry
newsletter Energy Overview in New York.	
    Even gold, which often comes up as a safe-haven in times of
economic and political trouble, fell after investors questioned
whether Europe would come through with the billions of euros
needed to bail out its troubled economies.	
    "Absent new monetary stimulus, gold doesn't make sense" as a
safe-haven, said Jeffrey Sherman, commodities portfolio manager
at Los Angeles-based DoubleLine Capital, which has about $33
billion under management.	
    He added that gold usually did well when "people are fearful
of the fiat currencies eroding their wealth". 	
    New York's most-active gold futures contract, June,
finished down 2 percent at $1,604.50 an ounce, after almost
breaching this year's low of $1,599.50. 	
    In oil, the benchmark Brent crude in London settled
down 43 cents at $112.73 a barrel after falling more than $2.60
to a session low of $110.53.	
  Aside from the political turmoil in Greece, oil was pulled
down by remarks from Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi who
said the kingdom was storing 80 million barrels in case of any
disruption in supplies. 	
    U.S. crude finished down 93 cents at $97.01, off its
intraday bottom of $95.52. 	
    Copper prices fell their most in a month.	
    The metal's most-active July contract in New York 
settled at $3.6775 per lb, down 2.5 percent to mark its biggest
one-day fall since April 4.	
    In London, the three-month copper contract ended
down almost 1 percent at $8,095 a tonne as U.K. markets reopened
from a bank holiday. 	
    	
 Prices at 4:43 p.m. EDT (2043 GMT)      
                             LAST/      NET    PCT     YTD
                             CLOSE      CHG    CHG     CHG
 US crude                    97.33    -0.61  -0.6%   -1.5%
 Brent crude                113.00    -0.16  -0.1%    5.2%
 Natural gas                 2.393    0.057   2.4%  -19.9%
 
 US gold                   1604.50   -34.60  -2.1%    2.4%
 Gold                      1604.89   -33.21  -2.0%    2.6%
 US Copper                  367.75    -9.60  -2.5%    7.0%
                              
 Dollar                     79.837    0.234   0.3%   -0.4%
 CRB                       295.130   -2.330  -0.8%   -3.3%
 
 US corn                    666.00     1.00   0.2%    3.0%
 US soybeans               1437.75   -25.75  -1.8%   20.0%
 US wheat                   609.00     2.75   0.5%   -6.7%
 
 US Coffee                  175.15     1.00   0.6%  -23.2%
 US Cocoa                  2326.00   -31.00  -1.3%   10.3%
 US Sugar                    20.37    -0.68  -3.2%  -12.3%
 
 US silver                  29.414   -0.658  -2.2%    5.4%
 US platinum               1508.30   -21.80  -1.4%    7.4%
 US palladium               622.85   -24.95  -3.9%   -5.1%
 	
 (Editing by Bob Burgdorfer and David Gregorio)
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