| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Oct 7 Commodity markets finished
Monday with mixed results as worries brought on by political
wrangling over the U.S. debt drove investors to gold as a safe
haven, but kept pressure on oil prices for fear of the potential
impact on economic growth.
Gold's safe-haven appeal sent it nearly 1 percent higher, as
the U.S. government shutdown entered its second week with no
sign politicians were willing to resolve a budget impasse and
raise the debt ceiling.
The White House reiterated that President Barack Obama would
not negotiate with Republicans over the threat of a debt
default, as stock prices fell but other safe-haven assets, such
as U.S. Treasuries and the Swiss franc, were also higher.
"There is flight-to-safety buying all the way across from
bonds to currencies to metals," said Bill O'Neill, partner of
commodities investment firm LOGIC Advisors.
Spot gold was up 0.88 percent at $1,322.08 an ounce
by 4:00 p.m. EDT (2000 GMT), having earlier reached its highest
since Oct. 1 at $1,327.94. U.S. gold futures for December
settled up $15.20 an ounce at $1,325.10.
Economists are increasingly concerned that the budget
showdown could prevent legislation to raise the country's
borrowing limit by an Oct. 17 deadline, increasing the
possibility of a sovereign debt default.
The U.S. budget deadlock in Congress pushed the dollar near
an eight-month low against a basket of currencies, adding to
gold's appeal and helping to underpin oil's losses.
While worries about the debt ceiling put early pressure on
crude oil futures on both sides of the Atlantic fell, both sides
also pared those losses following a report that a key pipeline
delivering crude oil from Cushing, Oklahoma, had resumed
shipping after an earlier outage.
U.S. crude oil slipped 81 cents to settle at $103.03
a barrel, after trading close to $2 a barrel lower
earlier. Brent crude futures reversed early losses
to finish up 22 cents at $109.68 a barrel, after trading as low
The bellwether Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index
rose 0.31 percent after all 19 of the commodity markets included
in the index had closed, with oil's late loss trimming helping
to lift the index.
In Chicago grain markets, U.S. wheat futures rose as
expected production declines in Russia and Ukraine put a premium
on high-protein supplies. Corn futures firmed on strength in
wheat, while soybeans were close to unchanged.
Copper prices stagnated on low volumes as investors paused
to monitor developments at the London Metal Exchange industry
event, referred to as LME Week, and top consumer China was
absent for the last day of its week-long break. Benchmark copper
edged down 0.2 percent to $7,245 a tonne at the close of
Elsewhere, ICE cocoa climbed above a one-year high and
London cocoa rallied to its highest in about two years as the
International Cocoa Organization forecast a deficit in the next
four years. Recent rains also stoked worry of supply concerns in
West Africa, the world's top growing region.