COMMODITIES-Futures pull back after early rally, await China data

Tue May 7, 2013 12:29pm EDT

* China April trade data due on Wednesday
    * Brent crude down to around $105 after nearing $106 earlier
    * Copper consolidates early run to 3-week high
    * Gold down as Australia cuts rates, ECB open to more easing

    By Barani Krishnan
    NEW YORK, May 7 (Reuters) - Oil prices fell on Tuesday after
initially rallying on hopes of another European rate cut and
copper hit three-week highs before consolidating as commodity
markets awaited crucial trade data from major raw-materials
buyer China.
    Gold fell for a second straight session. Its appeal as an
alternative investment faded as U.S. stocks remained near
Monday's record highs on prospects of more central bank
stimulus. Australia cut rates to record lows on Tuesday,
shadowing last week's move by the European Central Bank, which
said it could trim rates again.  
    In other markets, natural gas fell to a one-month low
while corn struggled to rebound from its worst sell-off in
5 weeks in the previous session.  
    Activity in commodities was restrained somewhat by anxiety
over what China's preliminary trade data for April will show on
Wednesday.
    China's imports of crude oil, iron ore and soybeans are all
likely to have climbed for a second month, although copper
arrivals may ease slightly due to port strikes in top-exporter
Chile, traders said. 
    A Reuters poll, meanwhile, showed China's import growth for
April probably eased, suggesting the underlying momentum for
both the domestic and global economies remains tepid.
 
    "The first quarter underperformance of Chinese growth has
put many investors on the sidelines," ANZ analysts said in a
note. "While we do expect Chinese demand to improve (this
quarter), the stronger seasonal demand profile may end up being
lukewarm."
    The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index
 was down nearly half a percent by 11:30 a.m. EDT (1530
GMT) after losses in 14 of the 19 futures markets it tracked. 
    In crude oil, the benchmark Brent grade out of
Europe's North Sea was down 0.4 percent, hovering just above
$105 a barrel after heading toward $106 earlier.
    Brent has rebounded more than $6 a barrel since falling
below $99 last Wednesday - its largest three-day rise since
August 2012. Traders said profit-taking could kick at this level
unless the global economy shows signs of strong growth.
    Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was
flat at just below $7,275 a tonne after running up to a 3
week-high of  $7,374. Traders said the market gave up gains
mainly on concerns about Wednesday's trade data due from China,
the world's biggest buyer of copper and other base metals.
 
    The spot price of gold fell 1.5 percent to around
$1,446 an ounce after soaring to a mid-April high of nearly
$1,488 on Friday.
    
 Prices at 11:51 a.m. EDT (1551 GMT)                      
 
                              LAST      NET    PCT     YTD
                                        CHG    CHG     CHG
 US crude                    95.43    -0.74  -0.8%    3.9%
 Brent crude                105.00    -0.46  -0.4%   -5.5%
 Natural gas                 3.944   -0.067  -1.7%   17.7%
 
                             
 Gold                      1448.26   -20.63  -1.4%  -13.5%
 US Copper                  330.25    -0.80  -0.2%   -9.6%
 LME Copper                7277.00     7.00   0.1%   -8.2%
 Dollar                     82.268   -0.047  -0.1%    7.2%
                             
 
 US corn                    676.25    -2.50  -0.4%   -3.2%
 US soybeans               1457.50    13.00   0.9%    2.7%
 US wheat                   690.00    -3.00  -0.4%  -11.3%
 
 US Coffee                  142.45     0.70   0.5%   -0.9%
 US Cocoa                  2398.00    -4.00  -0.2%    7.2%
 US Sugar                    17.56    -0.25  -1.4%  -10.0%
 
 US silver                  23.730   -0.225  -0.9%  -21.5%
 US platinum               1481.10   -26.60  -1.8%   -3.7%
 US palladium               681.40   -15.70  -2.3%   -3.1%
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