COMMODITIES-Oil, metals end up on fiscal cliff optimism

Thu Nov 29, 2012 3:26pm EST

* Brent crude up more than 1 pct, largest rise in 10 days
    * Copper rises as much as 2 pct, hitting one-month high
    * Gold propped by fresh buying after Wednesday's selloff


    By Barani Krishnan
    NEW YORK, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Commodities rebounded on
Thursday, with oil and metals markets staging their biggest
rallies in more than a week, as investors became more hopeful
the so-called U.S. "fiscal cliff" can be fixed before the
year-end.
    London's Brent crude oil climbed more than 1 percent for its
largest one-day rise in 10 days, before giving back some gains,
as market participants focused on discussions in Congress to
avert some $600 billion in spending cuts and tax increases that
could severely affect the U.S. recovery.
    Mounting tensions in the Middle East, the world's No. 1
source for oil, also supported crude prices.
    Copper futures in London jumped as much as 2 percent,
hitting a one-month high, on belief that the fiscal talks in
Congress may ultimately produce a deal. A weaker U.S. currency
also boosted demand from holders of the euro for copper and
other dollar-denominated commodities.
    Gold futures in New York, along with bullion traded
internationally, rebounded from Wednesday's sharp selloff that
skimmed more than $20 off an ounce of the precious metal.
    The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a global
benchmark for commodities, settled up 0.9 percent, with 14 of
the 19 markets it tracks in positive territory.
    Agricultural commodities were among those that bucked the
positive trend, as investors took profit on markets such as
wheat and corn that had risen in recent days even as oil and
metals prices fell. 
    
   
    
    OIL UP FIRST TIME IN 4 DAYS
    Thursday's session marked the first rise for Brent and U.S.
crude oil after three straight lower settlements.
    Brent's front-month contract in London finished at
$110.76 per barrel, up 1.1 percent on the day, after setting a
session high at $111.30.
    Front-month U.S. crude in New York settled up 1.8
percent at $88.07 a barrel, after setting an intraday peak at
$88.69.
    The run-up in oil came after U.S. House of Representatives
Speaker John Boehner voiced optimism on Wednesday that
Republicans could broker a deal with the White House. A
conservative congressman also said he would back an agreement
with President Barack Obama to raise taxes on the rich.
 
    U.S. fiscal talks aside, oil prices were also boosted by
fears of escalating violence in Egypt and Syria and mounting
tension elsewhere in the Middle East that reinforced concerns
about the potential for supply disruptions. 
 
    "The developments in the Middle East keep pumping up the
security premium and that is helping push crude higher along
with the hopes that a fiscal deal can be reached in Washington,"
said John Kilduff, a partner at hedge fund Again Capital in New
York. 
    
    COPPER HITS OCTOBER HIGHS
    In copper, the three-month futures contract on the London
Metal Exchange was up 1.8 percent at $7,905 a tonne
after scaling a $7,943, its highest since Oct. 23.
    Aluminum and zinc futures each touched seven-week highs in
London trading.  
    Analyst Duncan Hobbs at Macquarie in London said a year-end
rally in copper was possible if more positive headlines emerged
on the global economy and on top metals consumer China. 
    "If we continue to see positive macro-economic data and the
U.S. politicians avoid the fiscal cliff, that would be
supportive and there might be enough momentum to carry the price
into the early $8,000s, that's perfectly plausible," he said.
 
    
    FRESH SUPPORT FOR GOLD AFTER TUMBLE 
    In gold, the spot price of bullion was up 0.4 percent
at around $1,726 an ounce, after tumbling 1.3 percent in the
previous session.
    U.S. gold futures settled up 0.6 percent at just
above $1,727, after setting a session peak at $1,729.
    The precious metal posted its biggest one-day drop in three
weeks on Wednesday as investors dumped an equivalent of two
million ounces of U.S. gold futures in less than five minutes.
    Swiss bank UBS said in a market note that the liquidation in
the previous session was not followed through on Thursday,
suggesting that support for gold was fairly intact among its
biggest buyers. 
   "Essentially the metal is back to where it was trading last
week," UBS wrote in its note. "This is another test of downside
buying interest but it also highlights the commitment issues
that reside when the market attempts to climb higher." 
   
 Prices at 3:07 p.m. EST (2007 GMT)      
                             LAST/      NET    PCT     YTD
                             CLOSE      CHG    CHG     CHG
 US crude                    87.90     1.41   1.6%  -11.1%
 Brent crude                110.60     1.09   1.0%    3.0%
 Natural gas                 3.648   -0.153  -4.0%   22.0%
 
 US gold                   1727.20    10.70   0.6%   10.2%
 Gold                      1726.30     6.99   0.4%   10.4%
 US Copper                  358.85     6.40   1.8%    4.4%
 LME Copper                7899.50   132.00   1.7%    3.9%
 Dollar                     80.215   -0.129  -0.2%    0.0%
 
 
 US corn                    760.25    -8.75  -1.2%   17.6%
 US soybeans               1446.25     3.25   0.2%   20.7%
 US wheat                   876.00    -6.50  -0.7%   34.2%
 
 US Coffee                  146.15     1.50   1.0%  -36.0%
 US Cocoa                  2526.00    18.00   0.7%   19.8%
 US Sugar                    19.34     0.18   0.9%  -16.7%
 
 US silver                  34.348    0.664   2.0%   23.0%
 US platinum               1618.00     7.90   0.5%   15.2%
 US palladium               685.20    12.05   1.8%    4.4%
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