* Gold up 1.4 percent to lead commodities higher
* CRB index up 0.5 percent to one-month high
NEW YORK Nov 23 Commodity markets rose to their
highest in a month on Friday as signs of progress in Greek aid
talks and upbeat German economic data pressured the U.S. dollar
and elevated raw materials.
In a post-Thanksgiving trading session marked by early
closes and moribund volumes, gold set the pace for the
broad-based rally with a 1.4 percent jump -- aided by a
technical breakthrough and options dealing -- while oil and
grains saw modest gains, supported by fundamental factors.
The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a global
commodities benchmark, climbed 0.5 percent to its highest close
since Oct. 23. It gained 1.9 percent over the week, the best
weekly performance since mid-September. The index had slumped
nearly 10 percent in the two months until early November.
Macro-economic factors were in focus through Friday's thin
session, with Greece saying the International Monetary Fund had
relaxed its debt-cutting target for the country, suggesting
lenders were closer to a deal for a vital aid tranche to be
paid. But other sources involved in the talks cautioned that the
funding gap was far bigger than Greece has suggested.
Officials who failed earlier this week to agree on how to
curb Greece's debt will make a third attempt at resolving the
issue on Monday.
A day after downbeat EU manufacturing data depressed market
sentiment, the Munich-based Ifo think tank said its business
climate index rose for the first time in seven months for
November, far surpassing even the highest forecasts.
"It looks like there's some strength in the oil market today
on the back of high hopes on a stronger (European Union)," said
Carl Larry, president of Oil Outlooks and Opinions LLC.
The U.S. dollar index fell 0.9 percent as the euro
gained, while U.S. stock markets gained more than 1 percent
before their early midday close.
In oil markets, where trading volumes were about one-third
of normal, U.S. crude outpaced European Brent after news
of a spill that briefly shut Enbridge's 318,000 barrel per day
Line 14 near Mokena, Illinois, earlier in the week.
Traders were also keeping a close eye on the fragile two-day
truce between Israel and Palestinians, after the hostilities
sent Brent prices to one-month highs earlier this week.
Benchmark Brent settled 83 cents higher at $111.38 a
barrel, while U.S. crude closed at $88.28 a barrel, up 90
cents from Wednesday's settlement.
Gold rose $23.45 to $1,752.50 an ounce, punching above the
50-day moving average that had capped the market for the past
"It's definitely a technical breakout above the 50-day
moving average for the short term. If we break above $1,800, the
next real significant resistance will be the prior all-time high
near $1,900," said Adam Sarhan, CEO of Sarhan Capital.
Silver streaked 2.5 percent higher to $34.10 an ounce, its
highest in six weeks. It has gained more than 10 percent since
early November as traders bet on further stimulus.
Grain markets saw limited gains, aided in part by data
showing weekly corn and wheat export sales were higher than
analysts had expected. Cocoa futures climbed to a one-month
high, but coffee and sugar fell by nearly 2 percent as hefty
supplies kept prices pinned near their lowest in years.