(In last paragraph, corrects direction of WTI to 'higher')
By Barani Krishnan
NEW YORK Oct 24 Gold prices hit one-month peaks
on Thursday on expectations the Federal Reserve would have to
sustain its stimulus efforts owing to relatively high U.S.
jobless claims, while technical support ended a rout in U.S.
Copper dipped to its lowest level in nearly two
weeks as persistent concerns about credit tightening in top
metals consumer China offset upbeat manufacturing growth there.
Cocoa dropped for a second straight session in New
York after hitting a two-year high earlier in the week, a level
viewed by many dealers as overbought.
Raw sugar fell to a one-week low, after warehouse
fires in Santos, Brazil, pushed the market to one-year highs six
sessions ago. Arabica and robusta coffee closed
down at multi-year lows.
Soybeans were one of the few commodities that bucked
the broadly lower trend in crop markets, turning higher after
the release of export data showing huge U.S. exports of soymeal
The Thomson Reuters/CoreCommodity CRB index
settled flat as the losses in sugar, cocoa offset gains in 11 of
the 19 markets it tracked. Lean hog futures rose nearly 2
percent to lead the CRB's advance, while gold, silver,
aluminium and gasoline climbed about 1 percent.
Gold broke above $1,350 an ounce for the first time in more
than a month, on rekindled buying interest prompted by ideas
that the Fed will continue its monetary stimulus after
Thursday's disappointing U.S. jobless claims data.
Bullion also rallied after the number of Americans filing
new claims for unemployment benefits fell less than expected
By 3:00 p.m. EDT (2000 GMT), the spot price of bullion
was up 1.2 percent at $1,348.21 an ounce, after scaling
$1,368.01 earlier, its highest since Sept. 20.
U.S. gold futures for December settled up $16.30 an
ounce at $1,350.30, with trading volume on track to finish near
their 30-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed.
"Overall, gold should be supported in the short term,
especially if U.S. data keeps falling short of expectations ...
that should put further pressure on the dollar and reinforce the
argument for the Fed to keep its stimulus," said MKS SA Senior
Vice President Bernard Sin.
In oil, the benchmark European Brent slid while U.S. crude
futures recouped losses in choppy trade, as traders bet that an
abrupt slump earlier this week in the hotly traded Brent-WTI
spread had gone too far.
Brent closed down 81 cents, or 0.8 percent, at
$106.99 a barrel. U.S. crude's WTI settled 25 cents, or
0.3 percent, higher at $97.11 a barrel. The spread between the
two CL-LCO1=R fell back to around $10 after blowing out to a
6-month high above $13 at one point on Wednesday.
(Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)