* Investors cautious after bearish U.S., Europe and China
* Dollar's run-up makes commodities more bearish
* Copper at new 7-month low, corn at 9-month bottom
* Oil mixed, gold has biggest drop in more than a month
* Silver tumbles to near 8-month low
By Barani Krishnan
NEW YORK, April 2 Commodity markets remained
broadly lower on Tuesday, with benchmark copper and corn prices
plumbing multi-month lows on investor caution over global growth
and creeping inventories of raw materials.
Oil prices settled mixed and gold suffered its biggest
one-day drop in more than a month as U.S. stocks rallied and the
dollar became a safe-haven for investors ahead of a Bank of
Japan monetary policy meeting.
The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index
slid 0.4 percent after 14 of the markets tracked by
the commodities bellwether settled in the negative.
Silver, coffee, gasoline, nickel
and gold all lost about 2 percent or more their
value. Sugar slipped to 2-1/2 year lows.
Even natural gas, the best performing commodity
during the first quarter with a 20 percent gain, fell more than
1 percent on Tuesday, similar to Monday, as U.S. heating-season
demand neared its end.
Among closely-watched commodities, copper fell 1 percent to
a seven-month low. The metal, used in power and construction,
sank after this week's manufacturing data from the euro zone,
the United States and China, that showed stuttering growth
momentum in copper's top markets.
"We suspect the path of least resistance will likely be
lower from here given the improving supply picture, mounting
stockpiles and questions about end-user demand, particularly out
of China," said Edward Meir, analyst at INTL FC Stone who
watches copper and other base metals.
Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange closed at
$7,465 a tonne, from $7,540 at Thursday's close, before the
Easter long weekend. During the session, it hit a low of $7,439
a tonne, its weakest level since Aug. 21.
In New York, however, copper futures' most-active contract,
May, settled up slightly at $3.3785 a lb, tracking the
rally in U.S. stocks.
Corn prices fell a third straight session, touching a
nine-month low, as funds kept liquidating positions after the
U.S. government reported last week that stockpiles were much
larger than expected.
May, the front-month for corn on the Chicago Board of
Trade, settled down 1-3/4 cents at $6.35-1/2 per bushel after
falling to as low as $6.34 earlier.
"Traders are cautious and uncertain whether the fund
liquidation that has been pressing the market lower is
complete," said Shawn McCambridge, grains analyst with Jefferies
Bache in Chicago.
"We've nailed this market so hard but could not generate
much follow-through buying."
London's Brent crude oil rose early, then reversed
to fall as much as $1 a barrel, before settling down 39 cents a
barrel at $110.69. U.S. crude fell in the morning, then
rebounded to settle up 12 cents at $97.19.
Gold tumbled as the U.S. equities benchmark, the S&P 500
index, climbed to within striking distance of an all-time
The spot price of gold fell 1.4 percent to $1,575.41 by 3:28
p.m. EDT (1928 GMT), having earlier sunk to $1,573.39, its
lowest level since March 8.
Silver dropped almost 3 percent to an eight-month low
to$27.20 an ounce. Silver, which surged to a record high near
$50 two years ago, is in a bear market after falling 20 percent
from an October high.
Prices at 5:22 p.m. EDT (2122 GMT)
LAST/ NET PCT YTD
CLOSE CHG CHG CHG
US crude 96.91 -0.16 -0.2% 5.5%
Brent crude 110.37 -0.71 -0.6% -0.7%
Natural gas 3.969 -0.046 -1.1% 18.4%
US gold 1575.10 -24.90 -1.6% -6.0%
Gold 1575.60 -22.80 -1.4% -5.9%
LME Copper 7465.00 -75.00 -1.0% -5.9%
Dollar 82.899 0.166 0.2% 8.0%
US corn 640.50 -1.75 -0.3% -8.3%
US soybeans 1394.00 3.25 0.2% -1.7%
US wheat 670.75 6.75 1.0% -13.8%
US Coffee 136.15 -2.25 -1.6% -5.3%
US Cocoa 2171.00 -13.00 -0.6% -2.9%
US Sugar 17.59 -0.10 -0.6% -9.8%
US silver 27.248 -0.696 -2.5% -9.9%
US platinum 1571.80 -24.60 -1.5% 2.2%
US palladium 769.40 -14.55 -1.9% 9.4%