* Crude oil edges higher on OPEC, EIA outlook
* Copper boosted by bets for China buying after holiday
* Gold claws back loss, palladium hits 17-month high
* Soybeans, grains and sugar tumble on looming supplies
(Write through with closing prices, details of demand outlook
By Barani Krishnan
NEW YORK, Feb 12 Oil prices edged higher on
Tuesday after a bullish demand outlook from both OPEC and the
U.S. government while copper was boosted by expectations of
stronger buying after a week-long holiday in China.
Gold rose modestly as the dollar's drop against the euro
restored some of gold's appeal as a hedge to the U.S. currency.
Crop prices mostly fell due to looming big supplies. Wheat
was down for a second day, hitting 7-1/2 month lows. Corn
fell for an eight straight session in its longest losing
streak since mid-2010 and soybeans extended losses from
Raw sugar also fell, reversing a technical run-up
from the previous session.
The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index settled
flat, with 11 of the 19 commodity markets it tracked ending in
positive territory. Gains were helped by a rally in gasoline and
rebound in arabica, the premium-grade coffee. Raw sugar
and wheat were among the biggest losers.
CRUDE OIL UP ON DEMAND OUTLOOK
Benchmark Brent crude oil in London finished up 53
cents, or 0.5 percent, at $118.66 a barrel, edging toward
Friday's nine-month high of $119.17.
U.S. crude also rose by 0.5 percent, ending up 48
cents at $97.51 a barrel.
Oil prices rose after the Organization of the Petroleum
Exporting Countries said world oil demand will grow faster this
year than previously thought. In its monthly market report, OPEC
raised its outlook for the amount of crude that needs to be
pumped to keep supply-demand in balance.
"Overall, I would say the OPEC report is constructive and
mildly bullish based on the demand forecast," said Dominick
Chirichella, senior partner at Energy Management Institute in
The U.S. government's Energy Information Administration said
in a separate report that it also expected global oil demand to
grow faster in 2013 than previously expected.
The EIA increased its forecast for demand growth by 110,000
barrels per day to 1.05 million bpd this year, taking global
demand to 90.2 million bpd in 2013 as the world economy
Weekly inventory reports from the American Petroleum
Institute -- released after Tuesday's official session for Brent
and U.S. crude - were positive too. According to API data,
stocks of U.S. crude, gasoline and distillates were all down
last week from a week ago.
Concerns over Iran's nuclear program was another factor
underpinning Tuesday's prices.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iran was
installing new centrifuges for uranium enrichment that could cut
by a third the time needed to create a nuclear bomb.
Tensions eased when Tehran acknowledged it was converting
some of its higher-grade enriched uranium into reactor fuel, a
move that could help prevent a dispute with the West over its
nuclear program hitting a crisis in mid-year. Iran says its
nuclear program is for peaceful energy purposes.
COPPER UP MODESTLY
In copper, the three-month futures contract in London
was up at $8,232.50 per tonne from a last bid of $8,199
Traders said the market bolstered by the prospect of renewed
buying by Chinese industrial customers after the end of the
Lunar New Year holiday this week.
Copper trading on the Shanghai Futures Exchange is closed
all week, while markets in Hong Kong and Singapore will reopen
Copper rallied last week to its highest level in four months
at $8,346 per tonne. Although gains have petered out since,
prices are still up 3 percent this year.
"We are all waiting to see what happens next week when China
comes back," Standard Chartered analyst Dan Smith said.
GOLD CLAWS BACK LOSS, PALLADIUM RALLIES
In precious metals, gold recovered from a six-week low as
the dollar fell. Palladium hit 17-month highs after funds chased
up prices of the jewelry- and autocatalytic- making metal deemed
to be in short supply.
The dollar fell versus the euro and yen after the Group of
Seven rich nations said it remained committed to
market-determined exchange rates, and that fiscal and monetary
policies must not be directed at devaluing currencies.
The spot price of gold, which initially tumbled to
$1,638.82 an ounce, its lowest since Jan. 4, hit a session high
of $1,653.10 after the G7 statement boosted the precious metals'
appeal as a dollar hedge. By 5:00 p.m. ET (2200 GMT), it hovered
at $1,650, versus the late Monday afternoon level of $1,649.36.
Palladium's spot price surged nearly 2 percent to
$772 an ounce, a high dating back to Sept. 5, 2011, before
paring gains to trade at around $768.
Prices at 5:05 p.m. EST (2205 GMT)
LAST/ NET PCT YTD
CLOSE CHG CHG CHG
US crude 97.55 0.52 0.5% 6.2%
Brent crude 118.61 0.48 0.4% 6.8%
Natural gas 3.230 -0.049 -1.5% -3.6%
US gold 1648.70 0.50 0.0% -1.6%
Gold 1650.64 0.24 0.0% -1.4%
US Copper 374.40 2.15 0.6% 2.5%
LME Copper 8236.00 37.00 0.5% 3.8%
Dollar 80.035 -0.273 -0.3% 4.3%
US corn 696.25 -6.00 -0.9% -0.3%
US soybeans 1420.75 -10.75 -0.8% 0.1%
US wheat 732.00 -9.50 -1.3% -5.9%
US Coffee 140.65 0.50 0.4% -2.2%
US Cocoa 2179.00 5.00 0.2% -2.5%
US Sugar 18.08 -0.36 -2.0% -7.3%
US silver 31.019 0.109 0.4% 2.6%
US platinum 1716.10 21.10 1.2% 11.5%
US palladium 771.40 12.80 1.7% 9.7%
(Editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid and Marguerita Choy)