* CBOT wheat futures pare losses after hitting 4-month low
* U.S. December crude futures go off the board
* Bullion ends week down 1 pct, falling 5 out of past 6
* Cocoa futures tumble on London and New York markets
By Marcy Nicholson
NEW YORK, Nov 16 U.S. soybean prices sank to a
five-month low on Friday after word spread that China, the
world's biggest oilseed importer, canceled orders, and oil
futures moved higher on concern about supplies in the Middle
Gold erased earlier losses to steady at around $1,715 an
ounce, copper dropped on the firm U.S. dollar and cocoa futures
tumbled as concerns waned about the dissolution of top grower
Ivory Coast's government.
Soybean futures trading on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT)
dropped on the cancellation of about 600,000 tonnes of U.S.
soybeans by China. The deals were scrapped, the China National
Grain and Oils Information Center said, because weak domestic
demand and a recent drop in prices made them unprofitable.
"The Chinese news about cancellations puts beans in the
driver's seat again to the downside," said Mike Zuzolo,
president of Global Commodity Analytics & Consulting.
January soybeans settled at down 1.3 percent at
$13.83-1/4 a bushel at the CBOT.
Also at the CBOT, wheat prices sank to a four-month low,
falling for the sixth straight session on chart-based selling
and lackluster demand. The market pared losses as equities
climbed after congressional leaders said their "fiscal cliff"
meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama was constructive.
December wheat fell 0.9 percent to settle at $8.38 a
Oil climbed as turmoil in the Middle East escalated,
reinforcing worries about supply while the U.S. crude market got
an additional lift from a fire on a Gulf of Mexico energy
Front-month Brent crude for January delivery rose 94
cents, or 0.87 percent, to settle at $108.95 a barrel. U.S.
December crude rose $1.22, or 1.43 percent, to settle and
go off the board at $86.67 a barrel, having traded from $85.02
Gold erased losses and steadied around $1,715 an ounce, but
posted a weekly loss as investors focused on uncertainty over
global growth and worries over the U.S. "fiscal cliff" when $600
billion worth of tax increases and deep spending cuts would take
effect early next year.
Spot gold edged down 0.1 percent at $1,712.85 an ounce
by 4:29 p.m. EDT (2129 GMT), and posted a weekly loss after
prices climbed more than 3 percent last week.
Bullion posted a 1 percent weekly drop and has now fallen in
five out of the past six weeks. The market felt pressure from
news on Thursday that the euro zone swung into a recession as
well as disappointing U.S. jobless claims data and Federal
Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's negative outlook on housing
"The severity of the recent equities decline has cast a
shadow of fear over gold investors that continued capitulation
in the stock market will force leveraged accounts to sell gold,"
said Jeffrey Sica, chief investment officer of Sica Wealth,
which manages over $1 billion in assets.
The metal was pressured as the S&P 500 equities index
dropped roughly 4 percent in the past two weeks, its
steepest two-week drop in about six months, on fears that the
United States could lapse into recession if a combination of
scheduled tax hikes and spending cuts is allowed to go forward.
U.S. gold was down a slight 0.05 percent at
Platinum group metals also fell after the end of strikes
that had swept South Africa's mining sector.
Platinum was down 0.9 percent at $1,554.99, while
palladium dropped 0.7 percent to $624.54.
The U.S. budget problems combined with the euro zone debt
crisis weighed on copper futures as investors crew increasingly
cautious. Deeper losses were prevented, however, on signs that
the slowdown in China, the world's biggest consumer of metals,
might have bottomed out.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange
closed at $7,605 a tonne, down from $7,639.50 at Thursday's
"Equities markets are weak in China, Europe and U.S. and the
euro is also under pressure, and those exogenous factors are
really weighing on the base metals," Standard Bank analyst Leon
In other metals, three-month aluminum closed at
$1,951 per tonne from $1,964 at the close on Thursday, zinc
finished at $1,920 a tonne from $1,955 and lead
at $2,150 from $2,199.
Tin closed at $20,400 from $20,475 and stainless
steel material nickel at $15,955 from $15,910.
In soft commodities, cocoa futures trading on both ICE
Futures U.S. and Liffe tumbled, falling for the first time in
six consecutive sessions as concern waned about government
turmoil in top grower Ivory Coast.
ICE March cocoa fell $85, or 3.4 percent, to finish
at $2,398 per tonne, while benchmark Liffe March cocoa futures
dropped 49 pounds, or 3.1 percent, to settle at 1,553
pounds per tonne.
The drop largely erased gains made earlier in the week after
the unexpected dissolution of the Ivory Coast government.