| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Dec 9 U.S. natural gas futures surged
to 6-month highs on Monday on cold weather forecasts, while
nickel rallied on a planned ban on Indonesian exports of the
metal, boosting commodities to a slightly higher close despite a
drop in crude oil.
Gold prices also climbed, rallying late as the dollar
dropped and technical support encouraged funds to establish new
long positions in the precious metal.
U.S. soybeans rose after data showed a surge of sales
to China. Robusta coffee prices firmed in London on
concern about tighter immediate supplies from Vietnam, the top
grower of the crop.
Oil prices fell, as well-supplied markets saw limited demand
from European refiners.
Thomson Reuters/Core Commodity CRB index closed
little changed at 278.8671 as the drop in oil prices offset
broad gains. Prices rose for 11 of the 19 commodities tracked by
Natural gas led the gainers, rising nearly 3 percent
to $4.232 per million British thermal units, after cold weather
forecasts for most of the United States this month.
"We're now looking at an additional arctic outbreak in the
week leading up to Christmas," said Matt Rogers, a meteorologist
at Commodity Weather Group.
Private forecaster MDA Weather Services called for cold to
continue from the central United States to the East in its one-
to five-day outlook, with colder weather trending in the East
and northern-tier states in the six- to 10-day forecast.
Some moderating temperatures were on tap in the 11- to
15-day outlook for the South and West. But colder-than-normal
weather was still expected across northern states, the
In nickel, three-month futures for the metal
outperformed the London Metal Exchange (LME), closing up 1.4
percent higher at $13,955 a tonne after touching highs last seen
on Nov. 8.
The rally came ahead of a nickel export ban by Indonesia,
which comes into effect next month and is designed to increase
the value of the country's mineral exports.
Indonesia, the world's top exporter of nickel ore, thermal
coal and refined tin, has for decades and with limited success
tried to create more value from its vast array of natural
resources and hopes to develop processing industries to support
its growing economy.
In oil, benchmark Brent crude settled down $2.22, or
2 percent, at $109.39 a barrel. U.S. crude finished down
31 cents, or 0.3 percent, at $97.34 a barrel.
Prices at 5:25 p.m. EDT (2225 GMT)
LAST/ NET PCT YTD
CLOSE CHG CHG CHG
US crude 97.20 -0.31 -0.3% 5.9%
Brent crude 109.10 -2.51 -2.3% -1.8%
Natural gas 4.232 0.118 2.9% 26.3%
US gold 1234.20 5.20 0.4% -26.4%
Gold 1239.86 -0.70 -0.1% -25.9%
US Copper 3.26 0.01 0.3% -10.8%
LME Copper 7135.00 13.00 0.2% -10.0%
Dollar 80.148 -0.167 -0.2% 4.4%
CRB 278.867 0.210 0.1% -5.5%
US corn 428.50 4.50 1.1% -38.6%
US soybeans 1343.75 18.25 1.4% -5.3%
US wheat 639.00 1.75 0.3% -17.9%
US Coffee 106.10 -0.30 -0.3% -26.2%
US Cocoa 2751.00 -52.00 -1.9% 23.0%
US Sugar 16.55 -0.04 -0.2% -15.2%
US silver 19.701 19.506 1.6% -34.8%
US platinum 1368.50 12.20 0.0% -11.1%
US palladium 735.00 -1.15 -0.2% 4.5%
(Editing by David Gregorio)