August 22, 2013 / 8:59 PM / 4 years ago

COMMODITIES-U.S. natgas hits 4-week high on weather, corn tumbles

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NEW YORK, Aug 22 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas prices rose on
Thursday, closing near a one-month high on warmer weather
forecasts and tighter-than-expected inventory data, while
domestic crude oil prices rose on encouraging economic data from
the United States, Europe and China.
    Copper also rose while many other commodities fell as the
dollar rallied on expectations that the Federal Reserve
was on course to reduce its monthly bond purchases. 
    Corn had the largest decline of the day, tumbling
nearly 4 percent as heavier-than-expected rains in the northern
U.S. crop belt eased fears of late-season crop damage. Live hog
futures fell 1.7 percent, reacting to lower cash hog and
pork prices amid a seasonal increase in hog supplies. 
 
    Arabica, the premium grade for coffee, slumped to a
four-year low as investors fretted about plentiful supplies in
top producer Brazil and about a stronger U.S. dollar. Raw sugar
 slipped to a four-week low. 
    The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters-CRB index closed
flat, steadying from a two-day slide, as gains in natural gas
and the CRB's main component, U.S. crude, offset declines in
other commodities.
    Warmer Northeast and Midwest weather forecasts and an
unexpectedly light weekly inventory build in U.S. natural gas
drove the market to four-week highs in New York trading. Hot
weather boosts demand for air-conditioning, much of which is
powered by electricity generated from natural gas.
    Front-month gas on the New York Mercantile Exchange 
ended up 8.5 cents, or 2.5 percent, at $3.545 per million
British thermal units, after climbing to a session high of
$3.559 mmBtu. 
    The rally came after the U.S. Energy Information
Administration reported that total domestic gas inventories rose
last week by 57 billion cubic feet (cf) to 3.063 trillion cf.
Traders surveyed by Reuters had expected a 69 billion cf build.
    In oil, U.S. crude settled up 1.1 percent at $105.03
a barrel. Benchmark Brent crude out of Europe's North Sea
 finished up a modest 0.1 percent at $109.90. 
    The market rose after data showed U.S. manufacturing
activity hit a five-month high in August while euro zone
business activity picked up broadly at a faster pace than
expected. Activity in China's manufacturing sector also hit a
four-month high as new orders rebounded. 
  
    In copper, the benchmark three-month contract on the London
Metal Exchange ended at $7,320, from a last bid of
$7,240 on Wednesday, after hitting a session high of $7,389.
 
    
 Prices at 4:34 p.m. EDT (2034 GMT)      
                              LAST/      NET    PCT     YTD
                              CLOSE      CHG    CHG     CHG
 US crude                    105.10     1.25   1.2%   14.5%
 Brent crude                 109.97     0.16   0.2%   -1.0%
 Natural gas                  3.545    0.085   2.5%    5.8%
 
 US gold                    1371.20     0.60   0.0%  -18.2%
 Gold                       1374.80     9.06   0.7%  -17.9%
 US Copper                     3.33     0.02   0.7%   -8.8%
 LME Copper                 7320.00    80.00   1.1%   -7.7%
 Dollar                      81.458    0.245   0.3%    6.1%
 CRB                        288.342    0.107   0.0%   -2.3%
 
 US corn                     487.50   -10.50  -2.1%  -30.2%
 US soybeans                1322.00   -11.00  -0.8%   -6.8%
 US wheat                    630.50    -8.25  -1.3%  -19.0%
 
 US Coffee                   113.20    -0.30  -0.3%  -21.3%
 US Cocoa                   2420.00     0.00   0.0%    8.2%
 US Sugar                     16.28    -0.04  -0.2%  -16.6%
 
 US silver                   23.035   22.805   1.7%  -23.8%
 US platinum                1540.10    21.00   0.0%    0.1%
 US palladium                755.05     8.15   1.1%    7.4%

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