* Gold's gains may not last, crude oil's losses may continue
* Natural gas gains 1.8 pct, up for second day as inventory
* TRJ CRB's 19 component markets nearly spit between
By Carole Vaporean
NEW YORK, April 11 Commodities came in mixed on
Thursday, even within sectors, as markets like gold and copper
were lifted by a weaker dollar and natural gas by falling
inventories, while easing demand forecasts pressured crude oil
As economic readings continue to improve, investors have
been reassessing their need to seek the additional returns
provided by alternative investments like commodities.
As a result, some markets like COMEX silver, down 0.3
percent, and sugar, off 0.4 percent, got sold after gaining in
The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, the
commodities bellwether that tracks 19 markets, was down 0.29
percent with losers and gainers almost evenly spit.
The unexpectedly large decline in the number of people
filing new unemployment claims in the United States last week,
helped boost equity markets and drew some money away from
The drop in initial jobless filings could ease fears of a
deterioration in labor market conditions after a surprise
stumble in job growth in March. Claims are now back at the lower
end of their range for this year.
"This data is especially welcome on the heels of last week's
jobs report, and it just adds to the tremendous demand that
there continues to be for equities," said Leo Grohowski, chief
investment officer at BNY Mellon Wealth Management in New York.
Earlier this week, minutes from the Federal Reserve's last
meeting showed that a few policymakers were looking to end some
stimulus measures by the end of the year provided the U.S. labor
market and growth prospects continue to improve.
"Regardless of Fed policy, there are many more attractive
assets to profit on than gold right now. It looks like the trade
right now is buy S&P and sell gold," said Mihir Dange, COMEX
gold options floor trader for Arbitrage LLC.
Meanwhile, central banks in other regions are taking
measures to simulate their economies, which brightens potential
demand prospects for those regions.
Japan's aggressive monetary easing, indications last week
that the European Central Bank may cut rates, and signs of a
growing recovery in China also lifted equity markets, with the
Dow Jones and S&P 500 stock indexes setting new closing record
While gold has benefited from the Bank of Japan's pledge
last week to inject around $1.4 trillion into its economy to
battle deflation, its ability to strengthen on that news is not
expected to last long.
Gold rose 0.4 percent to $1,564.10 an ounce by 2:26
PM (1826 GMT), having rebounded from a one-week low of $1,553.10
An improving U.S. economic outlook and rallies in the equity
markets, however, could pressure bullion prices in the near
term, analysts said.
Copper gained 0.4 percent on dollar declines and improved
demand prospects from biggest consumers China and the U.S.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange
closed up 0.46 percent at $7,610 a tonne, bouncing from a
session low of $7,510.
"Looking ahead, investors are focused on economic data out
of China, including GDP numbers, which will be a major driver
for base metals prices," said Daniel Briesemann, analyst at
China's annual economic growth is likely to have nudged
higher in the first three months of 2013 over the last quarter
of 2012, with fixed asset investment and factory output growth
in double digits, a Reuters poll showed.
Supply and demand factors moved energy markets, with crude
oil prices down after the International Energy Agency (IEA)
trimmed its forecast for energy demand growth this year. It was
the third top forecaster in the world to do so at a time of
growing oil supplies.
Brent crude oil fell below $105 per barrel, not far above an
eight-month low, after analysts cut forecasts for global oil
demand growth and U.S. crude oil stocks increased to their
highest in more than two decades.
London's Benchmark Brent futures LCOc1 for May delivery
settled down $1.52 at $104.27 a barrel. U.S. crude
futures fell $1.13 to settle at 93.51 a barrel.
Meanwhile, natural gas rose 2 percent, ending higher
for a second straight day, with the front-month contract posting
a 20-month high even though a government report showed a weekly
inventory withdrawal below expectations.