(Corrects bullet and 2nd para to say corn's gain highest since
July or in nearly 10 months, not 2 years)
* Oil near 3-week high on weak dlr, talk of cenbank easing
* Corn surges 6 pct, limit-up, in biggest rally since July
By Barani Krishnan
NEW YORK, April 29 Oil hit a near 3-week high
and copper and gold rose after a weaker dollar and speculation
of more central bank stimulus boosted commodities on Monday,
signaling a sentiment shift since a sharp price drop two weeks
On the agricultural side, corn had its biggest gain in
nearly 10 months bets of easy money from the U.S. and euro zone
central banks coupled with speculation of further delays to
plantings in the U.S. crop belt due to rain.
Among other crops, raw sugar hit its lowest level in
nearly three years before turning higher by the close.
"There's been a re-establishment of some long positions by
funds after they exited them following the sharp falls" in
mid-April, said Christopher Bellew, a crude oil broker at
In oil, U.S. crude gained 1.6 percent to finish at
$94.50 a barrel. Benchmark Brent crude traded out of
London settled at $103.81, up 0.6 percent.
Brent crude fell below $100 a barrel for the first
time in nine months during the selloff two weeks ago on signs of
stagnating Chinese growth and worries about the euro zone and
U.S. economies. Gold suffered its biggest loss in dollar
terms ever during a two-day plunge in mid April and copper
sank to an 18-month low in the days after.
Brent remains more than 6 percent below its starting point
in April when prices plunged. Global investment banks revised
downward their price outlook for commodities after the mid-April
sell-off. Large investors are still not convinced the worst is
over yet for commodities.
In Monday's session, the Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index
, a commodities bellwether, settled up 1.4 percent
after hitting its highest level since April 11.
Fifteen of the 19 markets tracked by the CRB finished in
positive territory. Corn led the pack with a 6 percent rally,
its biggest one-day gain since 2011. Natural gas rose 4
percent to extend its year-to-date gain to more than 30 percent,
the best for any commodity in 2013. Six others markets --
nickel, cotton, orange juice, silver
, soybeans and wheat -- rose between 2 and 3
Oil rose as the dollar tumbled against the euro after
Italy's new Prime Minister Enrico Letta said his government
would push to end economic austerity and pursue job growth in
one of Europe's key economies.
Copper and gold edged higher on prospects of further
monetary easing in the United States and Europe.
Benchmark three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange
ended at $7,153.50 a tonne, up from Friday's close of
$7,030, and last week's year-and-a-half low of $6,762.25.
The spot price of gold rose one percent to a session
high of $1,477.70 an ounce, and later pared gains to trade at
$1,465.41, up 0.2 percent. Gold sank to around $1,321 on April
16, its lowest in more than two years.
Corn futures rose their 40-cent daily trading limit as the
U.S. grains belt prepared for another round of showers beginning
near midweek in what has already been one of the wettest spring
seasons for corn growers.
U.S. Agriculture Department data after the close of trading
pegged corn plantings at 5 percent complete, below the range of
analyst estimates and matching the slowest pace on record from
1984. Corn plantings last year were 53 percent done.
Corn's most-active futures contract on the Chicago Board of
Trade, July, closed 40 cents higher at $6.59-3/4 per
bushel, the biggest one-day gain since early July. Wheat and
soybeans posted their biggest gains in weeks.
Prices at 4:58 p.m. EDT (2058 GMT)
LAST/ NET PCT YTD
CLOSE CHG CHG CHG
US crude 94.46 1.46 1.6% 2.9%
Brent crude 103.80 0.64 0.6% -6.6%
Natural gas 4.392 0.169 4.0% 31.1%
Gold 1475.01 12.51 0.9% -11.9%
US Copper 322.65 4.05 1.3% -11.7%
LME Copper 7153.50 123.50 1.8% -9.8%
Dollar 82.101 -0.401 -0.5% 6.9%
US corn 684.00 40.00 6.2% -2.0%
US soybeans 1471.75 41.00 2.9% 3.7%
US wheat 709.75 21.00 3.1% -8.8%
US Coffee 133.60 -0.30 -0.2% -7.1%
US Cocoa 2335.00 -29.00 -1.2% 4.4%
US Sugar 17.49 0.13 0.7% -10.4%
US silver 24.122 0.364 1.5% -20.2%
US palladium 699.20 17.25 2.5% -0.6%
(Editing by Andrew Hay)