| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Dec 23 Commodities ended broadly lower
in thin trading on Monday, with a few markets like natural gas
and zinc being the exception, as players pared risk ahead of the
Gold edged lower on heightening concerns over deflation, oil
slipped on profit-taking after three days of gains and cocoa
fell from a 2-year high, consolidating from last week's rally.
The Thomson Reuters/Core Commodity CRB index
settled down 0.4 percent after losses in 14 of its 19
components. Nickel, aluminium, sugar and
cotton were among markets that lost about 1 percent or
Trading volumes were light across commodities, with players
wary of putting on significant positions ahead of the impending
Christmas and New Year holidays.
"The few traders who are in the office are likely to be
booking profits instead of building a new position," said
Addison Armstrong, senior director of market research at
Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.
Gold edged lower, heading for its biggest annual loss in
three decades and facing further downside forecasts for 2014.
Bullion is on track to end the year down nearly 30 percent
at a six-month low below $1,200 an ounce, and some forecasters
said the market could break under the April 2010 bottom of below
$1,050 in the new year.
Since the Federal Reserve announced the first tapering of
the U.S. monetary stimulus last week after finding the economy
strong enough for such action, many gold bulls have fled the
While the Fed only cut $10 billion from its monthly asset
purchases of $85 billion, analysts said the impact was
"Deflation has been the only thing running on people's minds
after the Fed action, not inflation, and that isn't helping
gold," said Ralph Preston, futures analyst at
HeritageWestFutures.com in San Diego, California.
"If the economy stays on track, I think gold will snap the
July 2010 low of $1,170 in the next few weeks and take on the
April 2010 lows of $1,050 in short order," Preston said.
The spot price of gold was down 0.4 percent to
$1,198.57 an ounce. U.S. gold futures for February delivery
were down 0.5 percent at $1,198.10.
In oil, U.S. crude CLc1 fell 41 cents to settle at $98.91 a
barrel in New York, off a two-month high of $99.40 reached in
the previous session. In London, benchmark Brent crude
ended 21 cents lower at $111.56 per barrel.
U.S. natural gas futures reached a near 2-1/2 year high on
forecasts that cold will follow the mild weather the East Coast
has recently experienced and on last week's report of strong
drawdowns in storage.
The front-month gas contract in New York reached
$4.532 in early Monday trading, surpassing Friday's high of
$4.492, which was the highest price since July 21, 2011.
Zinc prices rose to their highest level in nearly 10 months,
the biggest gainer in the base metals complex, lifted by
tightening supplies and robust imports by China.
Three-month zinc on the London Metal Exchange rose
to a session high of $2,071, its highest level since March 1. It
closed at $2,057 a tonne, up from a last bid of $2,039.
(Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)