* Most metals-precious and base, oil, grains and softs gain
* Silver, copper, corn among the biggest gainers
* Natural gas falls 1.2 percent on mild weather forecasts
By Carole Vaporean
NEW YORK, April 9 Most commodities rallied on
Tuesday as the dollar fell and China released data showing tame
inflation, suggesting Beijing could maintain an easy monetary
Silver jumped 2.7 percent and copper surged 2.1 percent,
making the two metals the day's biggest climbers. Oil and gold
were not far behind, helping push the Thomson Reuters-Jefferies
CRB index up 0.63 percent.
The commodities bellwether was up 1.81 points at 289 by the
end, lifted by closing gains in all but 4 of its 19 components.
"The idea that central banks are going to continue in their
monetary policies and we'll see liquidity continue to expand
makes commodities an attractive investment, and that's providing
support for oil prices," said Gene McGillian, an analyst at
Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.
Brent crude oil futures posted their biggest gain since late
December. Brent May crude closed at $106.23 per
barrel, up $1.57. U.S. May crude closed at $94.20 a
barrel, an increase of 84 cents.
McGillian and other analysts said the weak dollar, the
likelihood of an easy money policy continuing in China and other
factors helped push money into metal, grains and softs markets.
The euro rose to $1.31, its highest since mid-March, making
dollar-denominated commodities more affordable for holders of
In China, government data showed inflation slowing. This
eased concerns the Chinese central bank would have to tighten
the money supply, which stoked commodities demand.
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market
Committee will issue minutes from its meeting of March 19-20.
Investors will look to the report for clues on whether Fed
officials were warming to the idea of scaling back their
extremely easy money policy.
Gold rose, as volatility in the currency market triggered by
Japan's aggressive monetary easing plan lifted bullion's appeal
as a hedge against inflation and currency fluctuations.
Bullion climbed to a one-week high as the dollar fell
against the euro and the yen, with the Japanese currency
recovering from a four-year low set against the greenback
earlier in the session.
In early business, the tame Chinese inflation readings
boosted gold prices.
Silver was up 2.5 percent at $27.93 an ounce, its
biggest one-day gain since early November.
Analysts said pent-up buying pushed gold up after it mostly
failed to rally after the Bank of Japan pledged last week to
inject about $1.4 trillion into the economy over two years.
"Gold is now slowly sinking in to the news that Japan is
printing a quick deal of money and liquidity is going to be
abundant again," said Axel Merk, chief investment officer of
Merk Funds, which oversees $630 million in mutual fund assets.
Copper hit its highest since late March after the Chinese
inflation data, which underpinned a steady but modest seasonal
recovery in metal demand.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange rose
to $7,638 a tonne, its highest since March 28, before closing
slightly lower at $7,625 a tonne.
Corn,, cocoa and soybeans also posted sharp
gains, with each rising around 1.5 percent.
U.S. corn futures were up 1.7 percent as traders unwound
bearish bets on the market ahead of a key government supply
report, traders said.
May soybean futures, the market's front-month contract,
, also rose in pre-report positioning, while wheat futures
U.S. natural gas futures were the biggest losers,
falling 1.2 percent after declining by a similar amount in
Gas prices fell as investors took profits amid mild weather
forecasts for the eastern half of the nation, but concerns about
below-average inventory levels limited the downside.