COMMODITIES-Oil up on Egpyt; gold down on better US jobs data

Fri Jul 5, 2013 3:40pm EDT

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* Gold down 3 pct, copper down more than 2 pct

* Wheat up for 3rd day; new U.S. corn crop at 2-1/2 yr low

* Sugar down 6th day; cocoa rally fizzles after 2-week high

By Barani Krishnan

NEW YORK, July 3 (Reuters) - Oil prices rallied on Friday, with London's Brent crude gaining its most in two months on fears of escalating conflict in Egypt, while gold and copper tumbled, weighed by a stronger dollar after better-than-expected U.S. jobs data.

In Chicago's grains markets, front-month wheat rose for a third straight session while the new U.S. corn crop for December delivery hit a 2-1/2 year low.

Among soft commodities in New York, raw sugar ended down for a sixth session in a row and a rally in cocoa fizzled after prices for the beverage-and-confection commodity hit two-week highs.

The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index was down 0.4 percent on the day, weighed down by weak gold and copper. For the week, the index was up 1.8 percent.

Oil rallied after the leader of a group backing the ousted Egyptian president called for his reinstatement, fueling fears of escalating conflict in the nation and spillover to elsewhere in the Middle East.

"There's enough bullish interest in owning oil that these kinds of headlines will continue to draw fresh bullish positions," said Addison Armstrong, director of market research at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

Brent settled up 2.1 percent, or $2.18, at $107.72 a barrel. New York-traded U.S. crude finished up around 2 percent, or $1.98, at $103.22.

Gold tumbled 3 percent after positive U.S. jobs data sent the dollar rallying and rekindled worries the Federal Reserve could be tempted to scale back its monetary stimulus later in the year.

The U.S. non-farm payrolls report for June showed employers added 195,000 new jobs last month, exceeding expectations of 165,000. The unemployment rate held steady at 7.6 percent.

The better-than-expected job numbers are among data that could steer the Fed toward a shorter timetable for its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases, analysts said.

The spot price of bullion dropped by as much as 3.3 percent to a session low of $1,207.50 an ounce, as the dollar index hit a 3-year high.

U.S. gold futures for August settled down 3.1 percent at 1,212.70 an ounce.

Copper fell for a second day, under pressure from a stronger dollar and worries over economic growth prospects in China and Europe.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) ended at $6,780 a tonne, down more than 2 percent from $6,950 at the close on Thursday. It had earlier dipped to a session low of $6,730 a tonne. (Editing by David Gregorio)

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