COMMODITIES-Broad drop on worries about Fed stimulus; oil up again
By Chris Prentice
NEW YORK Dec 3 (Reuters) - Most commodities closed down on light volume on Tuesday as investors fretted that the Federal Reserve may soon reduce U.S. economic stimulus, but oil rallied on supply worries, boosting a benchmark commodities index which remained near one-month highs.
Copper fell on concerns over growing supplies of the metal, while gold rose off a 5-month trough hit early in the session. Raw sugar fell to the lowest level since September, the 10th straight session of decline.
Wheat was among the few commodity markets that rose, buoyed by data indicating growing export demand for U.S. wheat, and after a forecast for a cold snap late this week that could harm some the domestic crop.
The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters/Core Commodity CRB index inched up 0.6 percent to finish at 276.3418. During the session, the index hit a high of 276.4813, matching a one-month peak hit on Monday. The CRB got a boost from the rally in its largest component, U.S. crude oil, while eight other components also rose.
U.S. crude jumped 2.4 percent to $96.04 a barrel, settling higher for a third day in a row on expectations that the January start-up of a pipeline will draw down inventories at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point of the U.S. oil futures contract.
Brent crude, the European and global benchmark for oil, finished up 1 percent at $112.62 a barrel.
Trading volumes were light for most commodities as caution gripped financial markets ahead of the U.S. jobs data on Friday. U.S. crude was an exception, with volumes about 30 percent higher than the 250-day average.
After tumbling more than 2 percent on Monday, gold sank in early trade to a five-month low before bargain hunters lifted prices, which also got a boost from oil's rally and a weaker U.S. dollar.
Spot gold was up 0.3 percent at above $1,223 an ounce. The session low was $1,215.60 an ounce, the weakest level since July.
Elsewhere in metals, silver was down. Copper fell for a second session as growing global supplies outweighed strong manufacturing data.
Grains markets rose as export demand lifted wheat prices. The front-month contract for wheat on the Chicago Board of Trade closed up 4 cents at $6.53-3/4 a bushel.
Hogs, the second-worst performer of the day, tumbled sharply on technical selling and a weak cash market.
Prices at 5:38 p.m. EDT (2238 GMT)
LAST/ NET PCT YTD
CLOSE CHG CHG CHG US crude 96.89 2.22 2.4% 5.5% Brent crude 112.72 1.27 1.1% 1.4% Natural gas 3.976 -0.012 -0.3% 18.7%
US gold 1220.80 -1.10 -0.1% -27.2% Gold 1223.32 -0.19 0.0% -26.9% US Copper 3.17 -0.02 -0.5% -13.3% LME Copper 6960.00 -15.00 -0.2% -12.2% Dollar 80.616 -0.309 -0.4% 5.0% CRB 276.342 1.590 0.6% -6.3%
US corn 422.00 5.50 1.3% -39.6% US soybeans 1319.75 -1.50 -0.1% -7.0% US wheat 653.75 4.00 0.6% -16.0%
US Coffee 110.20 0.30 0.3% -23.4% US Cocoa 2808.00 -5.00 -0.2% 25.6% US Sugar 16.81 -0.16 -0.9% -13.8%
US silver 19.065 18.872 1.5% -36.9% US platinum 1355.80 9.00 0.0% -11.9% US palladium 714.80 1.40 0.2% 1.6% (Reporting by Chris Prentice; Editing by David Gregorio)
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