* Rebounding China economy, Middle East woes lift Brent
* Copper near 2-month peak after China factory output surge
* Arabica coffee down 5 pct, leading loss on big supply
* Natgas 2nd largest loser as US Northeast cold moderates
By Barani Krishnan
NEW YORK, Dec 10 Brent crude oil ended firmer on
Monday, the first time in six days, on improving demand from
China and potential for Middle East turmoil, and copper neared
two month highs, but commodities still finished broadly lower as
most crop prices fell.
Arabica coffee sunk nearly 5 percent to lead losses and raw
sugar flirted with its lowest levels in nearly two years,
hampered by plentiful supplies in both.
Wheat fell to a three-week low, hit by chart-based selling
and concerns that U.S. export business for the grain was falling
short of forecasts. Corn also hit a three-week low, extending a
The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index settled
down 0.5 percent after 11 of the 19 markets tracked by the
commodities bellwether finished in the negative.
Natural gas futures fell 2.6 percent -- becoming the
second largest loser after arabica -- as milder weather forecast
next week in the U.S. Northeast dented the demand potential for
gas required for heating.
BRENT UP AFTER FIVE LOWER SETTLEMENTS
Brent pushed higher after five straight lower
settlements, rising 0.3 percent to close at $107.33 a barrel.
U.S. crude finished down 0.4 percent at $85.56.
With just over three weeks of trading left in the year,
Brent needs to finish above $107.38 to post a gain for 2012.
U.S. crude is on track to end the year off more than 12 percent
from its $98.83 a barrel close at the end of 2011.
Monday's rise in Brent came after China's government
released data showing stronger oil demand and factory output and
retail sales at eight-month highs in November.
China is the No. 2 oil consumer after the United States, and
its bullish data follows Friday's report of better-than-expected
jobs gains last month.
"The figures are another confirmation that Chinese oil
demand is accelerating again, and there are good reasons to
expect that it will carry on growing strongly next year," said
Carsten Fritsch, senior oil analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.
CHINA FACTORY OUTPUT AIDS COPPER
The surge in Chinese factory output also aided the run-up in
copper, the global industrial metal mostly imported by China.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange
closed up 1.3 percent at $8,140 a tonne, extending a small gain
from the previous session, when it logged a fourth week of
gains. Prices earlier hit $8,159, the highest since Oct. 19.
While China's copper imports rose 13.5 percent in November
from the previous month, some noted that the figure was boosted
by the arrival of delayed shipments after a week-long holiday,
meaning overall demand remained weak.
"The Chinese macro data was relatively good with a slight
uptick in terms of industrial production, investment etc. and
although the copper numbers were not particularly good
themselves, I think the sentiment is starting to turn a little
bit," Standard Chartered analyst Daniel Smith said.
"In the short term we are probably going to go higher but I
don't see that much upside given the wider backdrop," he added,
underlining that copper stocks were still very high in China.
GOLD UP FOR A THIRD DAY
In precious metals, the spot price of bullion rose for a
third session, climbing 0.5 percent to $1,711.75 an ounce, as
investors bought more bullion ahead of a two-day Fed policy
meeting. The U.S. central bank is expected to announce in
December monthly bond purchases of $45 billion, on top of the
$40 billion in mortgage-backed security purchases announced in
Growing unease about Europe also boosted safe-haven bids for
gold after Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti announced he would
resign once the 2013 budget is approved.
Lack of apparent progress in U.S. budget talks also
underpinned bullion. U.S. President Barack Obama was scheduled
to speak in Michigan on Monday afternoon after a weekend meeting
with Republican House Speaker John Boehner in hopes of reaching
agreement on a budget ahead of automatic tax hikes and spending
cuts set to go into effect in the new year.
Some analysts said safe havens such as gold and silver could
still sell off in the near term if a budget deal is clinched.
"Although markets are taking the lack of progress thus far
with an impressive degree of complacency, we wonder when a
potential breaking point will be reached," said Edward Meir,
metals analyst at brokerage INTL FCStone. "As a result, we would
be cautious on gold and silver here, but less so on platinum and
Prices at 3:09 p.m. EST (2008 GMT)
LAST/ NET PCT YTD
CLOSE CHG CHG CHG
US crude 85.63 -0.30 -0.4% -13.4%
Brent crude 107.41 0.39 0.4% 0.0%
Natural gas 3.460 -0.091 -2.6% 15.8%
US gold 1713.00 9.00 0.5% 9.3%
Gold 1711.35 7.31 0.4% 9.4%
US Copper 369.05 4.30 1.2% 7.4%
LME Copper 8135.00 100.00 1.2% 7.0%
Dollar 80.337 -0.071 -0.1% 0.2%
US corn 726.75 -6.00 -0.8% 12.4%
US soybeans 1472.25 3.75 0.3% 22.8%
US wheat 832.75 -11.50 -1.4% 27.6%
US Coffee 138.10 -4.00 -2.8% -39.5%
US Cocoa 2429.00 -42.00 -1.7% 15.2%
US Sugar 18.76 -0.45 -2.3% -19.2%
US silver 33.300 0.247 0.7% 19.3%
US platinum 1621.80 16.30 1.0% 15.4%
US palladium 703.25 6.75 1.0% 7.2%