COMMODITIES-On track for worst week since Oct, few markets up

Fri Apr 5, 2013 10:36am EDT

* Weak US jobs data for March extends commodity selloff

* Oil at 8-month low, copper stays weak after Thursday rout

* CRB index heads for biggest weekly loss in five months

* Gold, natgas, corn, wheat and sugar rebound

By Barani Krishnan

NEW YORK, April 5 (Reuters) - Commodity markets recovered some of Friday's early losses triggered by disappointing U.S. jobs data, but a key sector index still headed for its biggest weekly decline in five months after a rout in the past four sessions.

Oil was down by more than 1 percent, touching an 8-month low. Copper and other metals slipped too after data from the U.S. Labor Department showed American employers hired at the slowest pace in nine months in March.

A Reuters survey had earlier predicted moderate jobs growth for March, and the official data was a sign that Washington's austerity drive since December may be stealing momentum from the economy.

John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital, an energy hedge fund in New York, called jobs report "a real disappointment."

"The recent decline in crude oil prices seemed to foreshadow this negative data point and the outlook for energy demand growth will be impaired as a result," Kilduff said.

While oil and metals fell, a few commodities such as gold , natural gas, corn, wheat and sugar rebounded, helping the Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index recover from a nine-month low hit earlier in the session.

By 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT), the 19-commodity CRB was down a quarter percent, after falling about half a percent earlier.

For the week, though, the commodities bellwether was down 2.8 percent, heading for its worst weekly performance since late October.

Barclays Capital, known for its typically bullish outlook on commodities, noted that the selloff in raw materials markets that began in mid-February had continued in April, and the majority of the complex was now trading at multi-month lows.

"Neither macro nor fundamental trends have offered any persuasive reasons to counteract this price trend during this time period," it said in a note.

Oil's benchmark, the London-traded Brent crude, was down 1.4 percent at $104.85 a barrel, after falling to $104.68 earlier, its lowest level since early August.

U.S. crude dropped to a low of $91.91, from Thursday's settlement of $93.26. It briefly recouped losses before slipping again to below $92.60.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 0.2 percent at $7,420, after the previous session's close of $7,440. Thursday's low of $7,331.25 for LME copper was the weakest since August. Prices are down around 6 percent so far this year.

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