* Oil, copper down again after Wednesday rebound
* Gold jumps on safe-haven demand; soy rallies too
By Barani Krishnan
NEW YORK, March 20 Oil and metals prices fell
back on Thursday while gold rallied as financial markets were
gripped by fresh worries of a potential financial meltdown in
Cyprus and the impact that may have on the euro zone's fragile
The dollar resumed its upward trend versus the euro, making
commodities denominated in the greenback less attractive to
holders of the single European currency.
Gold rose to a nearly one-month high as investors and
traders again sought comfort in the precious metal's edge as a
safe-haven to the troubles in Cyprus and the euro zone.
And despite the bearish mood in energy and metals, some
agricultural commodities rallied in response to tightening crop
supplies and other positive fundamentals that boosted them as
Soybeans futures in Chicago gained their most in a month on
technical buying, tight U.S. stockpiles and difficulty in
shipping soy from top global soy producer Brazil. Cocoa and
arabica coffee ended up too in New York.
The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a
bellwether for commodities, fell 0.3 percent, after Wednesday's
gain of 0.6 percent. It was down nearly 1 percent week-to-date,
after losses in three of the five sessions.
Crude oil and copper fell after the European Union gave
debt-laden Cyprus until Monday to raise billions of euros it
needs to receive an international bailout or face the collapse
of its financial system and likely exit from the euro system.
Cyprus rejected earlier in the week a conditional EU bailout
plan that would have made its citizens share steep costs for the
aid. Commodities rebounded on Wednesday as the debt-laden
Mediterranean island bought time to craft its own rescue plan.
"Definitely, the euro zone factors are weighing on crude,"
John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York, said,
referring to Thursday's session in oil.
OIL, COPPER DOWN AFTER CYPRUS
Oil's benchmark Brent crude in London fell $1.25, or
1.15 percent, to settle at $107.47 a barrel, having traded as
low as $107.08.
U.S. crude's front-month contract fell $1.05, or
1.12 percent, to settle at $92.45 a barrel, after falling as low
In copper's case, positive data from China, the top buyer of
the metal, provided a slight buffer to losses pressured by the
debt drama in Cyprus.
A preliminary survey of factory managers showed solid
first-quarter growth in China, which is also the world's
"It shows that economic activity in China has picked up
after the new year holiday and we expect to see improved
economic figures in coming months lending support to prices,"
said Daniel Briesemann, analyst at Commerzbank.
Copper's benchmark three-month futures contract in London
, was last bid at $7,590 a tonne from a close of $7,620
on Wednesday. It is still comfortably off the seven-month low of
$7,486.25 hit on Tuesday.
GOLD, SOYBEANS BUCK TREND
Spot gold rose to $1,616.36 an ounce, its highest
since Feb. 26. For the week, gold is set for a gain of 1.5
percent, which would be its biggest one-week rise since
"The Cyprus situation has ignited purchasing of gold from the
public who are now becoming concerned that the same can happen
where they live," said Miguel Perez-Santalla, vice president at
online precious metals exchange BullionVault.
In Chicago's grains markets, the front-month soybeans
contract, May, ended up 29-1/4 cents at $14.49 per bushel
after reports on Thursday that China would release soy from
state-owned reserves due to tight domestic supply.
Compounding the China worry, the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's weekly data showed net export sales of soybeans at
107,800 tonnes last week, below estimates for 300,000 to 600,000
There were reports early in the week that China, the world's
largest soy buyer, had canceled orders for two million tonnes of
soybeans from Brazil because of port congestion.
Prices at 5:59 p.m. EST (2159 GMT)
LAST/ NET PCT YTD
CLOSE CHG CHG CHG
US crude 0.00 0.00 0.0% -100.0%
Brent crude 107.20 -1.52 -1.4% -3.5%
Natural gas 3.935 0.000 0.0% 17.4%
US gold 1613.80 6.30 0.4% -3.7%
Gold 1614.20 0.11 0.0% -3.6%
US Copper 342.30 -1.25 -0.4% -6.3%
LME Copper 7582.50 -37.50 -0.5% -4.4%
Dollar 82.853 0.073 0.1% 7.9%
US corn 733.00 0.50 0.1% 5.0%
US soybeans 1449.00 29.25 2.1% 2.1%
US wheat 728.75 -7.25 -1.0% -6.3%
US Coffee 133.75 0.15 0.1% -7.0%
US Cocoa 2166.00 14.00 0.7% -3.1%
US Sugar 18.21 -0.14 -0.8% -6.7%
US silver 29.212 0.395 1.4% -3.4%
US platinum 1580.10 -2.40 -0.2% 2.7%
US palladium 756.85 -1.35 -0.2% 7.6%