(Corrects oil price milestones)
By Barani Krishnan
NEW YORK, Aug 1 Oil prices jumped on Thursday,
with Brent crude gaining its most in nearly one month, and
copper rallied too as energy supply outages in Africa and Iraq
and a wave of surprisingly positive global economic data drove
investors toward commodities.
Prices of precious metals and crops bucked the broadly
Gold fell for a fourth straight day after the
European Central Bank's pledge to keep rates low pushed the euro
down and the dollar up.
Corn tumbled to a near 3-year low as yield-boosting
weather across the U.S. Midwest raised already high expectations
about a bumper harvest this fall.
Arabica, the premium grade for coffee, hit a 4-year
bottom as favorable weather forecasts eased concerns over
potential damage to a bumper crop in top grower Brazil.
The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index
settled up 0.4 percent on the day after the sharp
upward move in U.S. crude -- the index's main component -- was
offset by the slump in gold and crops.
U.S. crude rose 2.7 percent, its biggest gain in
three weeks, to settle at $107.89 a barrel after oil supply
disruptions in Libya, Iraq and Nigeria underpinned prices.
Benchmark Brent crude out of London surged 1.7 percent,
its most since July 5, to finish at $109.54 a barrel.
Strong global economic data also fueled the rally.
Data showed the number of Americans filing new claims for
unemployment benefits fell to a 5-1/2-year low last week. A
closely watched index of U.S. manufacturing activity rose to a
2-year high; a China industrial index beat expectations and a
reading for euro zone manufacturing returned to growth.
The U.S. Federal Reserve's remarks on Wednesday showing no
sign of curbs by September on the central bank's economic
stimulus extended the bullish sentiment across markets. U.S.
stocks' Dow and S&P 500 indexes hit record highs.
"The combination of a strong stock market, strong economic
data, and the fact that the Fed said they were worried about
deflation, looks double-barrelled bullish to me," said Phil
Flynn, an analyst with Price Futures Group in Chicago.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange rose
to a session high of $7,044 a tonne, the strongest since July
24. It was last bid at $6,998 at the close, up from $6,880 on
Prices at 4:07 p.m. EDT (2007 GMT)
LAST/ NET PCT YTD
CLOSE CHG CHG CHG
US crude 107.68 2.65 2.5% 17.3%
Brent crude 109.34 1.64 1.5% -1.6%
Natural gas 3.387 -0.059 -1.7% 1.1%
US gold 1311.00 -1.40 -0.1% -21.8%
Gold 1310.09 -12.40 -0.9% -21.8%
US Copper 3.12 0.00 0.0% -14.7%
LME Copper 6999.00 119.00 1.7% -11.8%
Dollar 82.381 0.929 1.1% 7.3%
CRB 285.077 1.135 0.4% -3.4%
US corn 487.50 -11.50 -2.3% -30.2%
US soybeans 1357.75 -16.25 -1.2% -4.3%
US wheat 658.00 -9.75 -1.5% -15.4%
US Coffee 115.60 -3.00 -2.5% -19.6%
US Cocoa 2301.00 3.00 0.1% 2.9%
US Sugar 16.83 -0.14 -0.8% -13.7%
US silver 19.624 19.428 1.5% -35.1%
US platinum 1443.80 14.50 0.0% -6.2%
US palladium 731.85 5.50 0.8% 4.1%
(Editing by Grant McCool)