COMMODITIES-Wheat, cocoa tumble on supply; gasoline down too

Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:17pm EST

* Wheat at 1-month low as rain, snow cool heated crops
    * Cocoa near 2-wk low on good weather before W.Africa crop
    * Gasoline down on lack of fuel outages after US blizzard

    By Barani Krishnan
    NEW YORK, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Most crop prices tumbled on
Monday on worries about surplus supply, while gasoline sank
after a blizzard in the U.S. Northeast did not produce fuel
outages in one of the world's biggest energy markets, as many
investors had expected.
    Prices of wheat sank to a one-month low in Chicago futures
trade after rain and snow provided much-need moisture to
drought-stricken the U.S. Plains, a major producer of the global
staple crop.
    Cocoa neared a two-week low  in New York amid favorable
weather before the next mid crop in West Africa, the world's top
growing region of the raw material for chocolate. A stronger
dollar also made cocoa and other commodities priced in
the greenback costlier for holders of other currencies. 
    On the energy front, gasoline fell as dealers unwound trades
put in place last week by investors betting that the weekend
blizzard in the U.S. Northeast would harm refineries.
    Although the blizzard brought up to 40 inches (1 meter) of
snow and hurricane-force winds that left hundreds of thousands
of people without power, it did not crimp fuel supplies.
 
    "The storm just caused demand destruction" for gasoline,
said Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.
    Gasoline fell 3 cents, or 1 percent, to finish at
3.0212 a gallon. In oil, London's benchmark Brent crude 
settled down 77 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $118.13 a barrel,
after slipping to $117.54 in early trade. 
    The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index settled
down 0.1 percent, with 12 of the 19 markets tracked by the
commodities bellwether ending in negative territory.
    
    SUPPLY FORECAST HURTS WHEAT
    Wheat was the CRB's second-largest loser in percentage
terms, falling 2 percent. The grain's front-month futures
contract in Chicago closed down 14-3/4 cents at $7.41-1/2
a bushel.
    Chicago traded soybean and corn futures also fell, with soy
dropping 1.5 percent on continued pressure from the U.S.
government's bigger-than-expected forecast for global supplies
last week. 
    Corn, dragged down by soybeans and wheat, has fallen for
seven straight sessions, shedding 5.2 percent of its value
during the losing streak. Soybeans have given up 4.3 percent in
their four-session drop. 
    "We have a little bit of a hangover from last week's supply
and demand report," said Karl Setzer, a commodity trading
adviser and market analyst at MaxYield Cooperative. 
   
    COCOA CROP PLENTIFUL 
    Cocoa was the largest loser on the CRB, falling 2.6 percent.
    Cocoa futures in New York closed down $55, or 2.5
percent, at $2,172 a tonne. Cocoa in London settled down
24 pounds, or 1.7 percent, at 1,423 pounds a tonne. 
    Dealers said pressure came from good supply prospects in
West Africa and an anticipated backlog of origin forward sales.
Ivory Coast is the world's top cocoa producer. 
    "It emerged that Ivory Coast may have undersold the current
2012/13 crop," said Eric Sivry, head of agri options brokerage
at Marex Spectron. 
    "The sheer fact that it was offered, confirmed our
suspicions that the current crop is plentiful. Physical traders
insisted that the arrivals were healthy." 
    
    METALS DOWN TOO
    Metals prices fell too.
    Copper fell on Monday, hurt by the Lunar New Year holiday in
Asia and renewed political concerns in Europe.The three-month
copper in London, untraded at the close, was bid at
$8,199 a tonne from $8,295 a tonne at the close on Friday. 
 
    Gold fell to a one-month low, hit by technical
selling after prices slid through support level at $1,650 an
ounce. 
    
 Prices at 5:50 p.m. EST (2250 GMT)      
                             LAST/      NET    PCT     YTD
                             CLOSE      CHG    CHG     CHG
 US crude                     0.00     0.00   0.0% -100.0%
 Brent crude                118.15    -0.75  -0.6%    6.3%
 Natural gas                 3.279    0.000   0.0%   -2.1%
 
 US gold                   1648.20   -17.80  -1.1%   -1.6%
 Gold                      1647.70     0.05   0.0%   -1.6%
 US Copper                  372.25    -3.70  -1.0%    1.9%
 LME Copper                8199.00   -95.00  -1.1%    3.4%
 Dollar                     80.384    0.142   0.2%    4.7%
                               
 
 US corn                    702.25    -6.75  -1.0%    0.6%
 US soybeans               1431.50   -21.00  -1.5%    0.9%
 US wheat                   741.50   -14.75  -2.0%   -4.7%
 
 US Coffee                  140.15    -0.90  -0.6%   -2.5%
 US Cocoa                  2174.00   -58.00  -2.6%   -2.8%
 US Sugar                    18.44     0.30   1.7%   -5.5%
 
 US silver                  30.910   -0.531  -1.7%    2.3%
                               
 US palladium               758.60     7.10   0.9%    7.9%
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