January 15, 2014 / 10:06 PM / 4 years ago

COMMODITIES-U.S. oil up on stocks draw; nickel at 2-month high

By Barani Krishnan
    NEW YORK, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Crude oil prices jumped on
Wednesday after a sharper-than-expected drop in U.S. crude
stockpiles, and nickel prices hit 2-month highs, extending this
week's bullish streak on supply concerns driven by an Indonesian
export ban.
    Aluminium and cotton were other major gainers
of the day in commodities, rallying on concerns over tightening
supplies.  
    Several agricultural commodities were weaker, with wheat
, sugar, coffee and corn all falling,
dominating losses.  
    The Thomson Reuters/Core Commodity Index, a sector
bellwether, rose 0.4 percent after gains in 10 of the 19
commodities tracked by the index.
    U.S. crude oil, the CRB's heaviest-weighted
component, settled up 1.7 percent at $94.17 a barrel after
hitting a near two-week high at $94.64.
    The run-up came after data from the U.S. Energy Information
Administration showed domestic crude oil stocks fell 7.7 million
barrels last week, bringing the total draw over the last seven
weeks to 41.2 million barrels. 
    Traders attributed much of the inventory drop to higher
demand for fuels such as diesel and heating oil as frigid
weather across the eastern United States kept people indoors and
away from driving. Gasoline inventories surged, adding proof to
the theory.
    "This is a weather-related (inventory) report," said Mark
Waggoner, president at Excel Futures, an oil broker in Bend,
Oregon. "People just weren't driving - they were sitting at
home."
    London's Brent crude, which is a benchmark for
global oil prices but is not included in the CRB, rose 74 cents
or 0.7 percent to settle at $107.13 a barrel.
    Nickel, a component of stainless steel, closed up 1.4
percent, bringing its gains over the past four sessions to more
than 8 percent after a ban on unprocessed ore exports by
Indonesia came into force.
    Three-month nickel on the London Metal Exchange fell
to a session low at $14,224 a tonne before recovering to a high
of $14,622, its highest since early November. The contract
closed up $195 at $14,535 a tonne.
    Some traders said the gains are likely to be capped by
weakness in the stainless steel market and ample ore stockpiles
in China.
    "There is ongoing softness in the stainless market, while on
the raw material side, the Chinese have been stockpiling nickel
ores for months now and are not necessarily scrambling to cover
their needs," said Ed Meir, an analyst at INTL FCStone.
    Prices at 4:42 p.m. EDT (2142 GMT)      
                             LAST/      NET    PCT
                             CLOSE      CHG    CHG
US crude              94.32     1.73   1.9%
Brent crude         106.99     0.60   0.6%
Natural gas           4.325   -0.044  -1.0%
                                                          
US gold             1238.30    -7.10  -0.6%
Gold                1240.81    -3.90  -0.3%
US Copper              3.36     0.02   0.7%
LME Copper         7352.50    72.50   1.0%
Dollar               81.004    0.342   0.4%
CRB              277.845    1.072   0.4%
                                                          
US corn               425.75    -5.75  -1.3%
US soybeans          1318.00    11.00   0.8%
US wheat              567.75   -11.50  -2.0%
                                                          
US Coffee            117.20    -2.00  -1.7%
US Cocoa            2748.00    -4.00  -0.1%
US Sugar              15.23    -0.26  -1.7%
                                                          
US silver            20.134   19.931   1.6%
US platinum         1427.10    -4.80   0.0%
US palladium         744.00     5.10   0.7%

 (Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

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