February 14, 2014 / 10:51 PM / in 3 years

COMMODITIES-Softer U.S. dollar lifts gold, copper; wheat prices jump

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NEW YORK, Feb 14 (Reuters) - A key commodities index climbed to five-month highs on Friday and notched a fifth straight weekly gain, as gold prices rallied on a weaker U.S. dollar and wheat futures hit 5-1/2-week highs on chart-based buying.

The bellwether Thomson Reuters/Core Commodity CRB index touched its highest level since September 2013 as 12 of its 19 components rose.

A weaker dollar boosted metals markets, lifting copper and shooting gold prices to a three-month high above $1,300 an ounce.

Bullion saw its biggest weekly gain in 6 months as weak manufacturing output pressured the greenback and boosted gold's appeal as a currency hedge.

Silver hit its highest since November and ended the day up 4.3 percent at $21.32 an ounce.

In grains, wheat futures rose as chart signals drove short-covering and corn firmed on strong export demand and bargain buying.

U.S. wheat futures ended the week up 3.5 percent and settled up three cents at $5.98-1/2 a bushel, as corn prices rose 4-3/4 cents at $4.45-1/4 a bushel and saw a fourth straight weekly gain.

Cold winter weather in the U.S. Northeast and supply disruptions in producers Libya and Angola lifted Brent crude , but Friday's weak manufacturing data weighed on U.S. crude.

U.S. crude settled five cents lower at $100.30 a barrel, though it ended higher on the week for the fifth week in a row.

Natural gas prices zigzagged throughout the session, but jumped nine percent this week as cold weather plagued regions of the United States and stored gas supplies rapidly dwindled.

Front-month natural gas futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell less than a penny, settling at $5.214 per million British thermal units.

In softs, arabica coffee in New York edged higher in choppy, heavy trade and posted gains for a third straight week as traders worried that much-needed rains in Brazil were off to a slow start after dry weather has plagued the top producer's coffee belt for weeks.

The benchmark May arabica contract on ICE Futures U.S. ended up 0.35 cent, or 0.2 percent, at $1.4320 per lb.

Prices at 5:10 p.m. EDT (2210 GMT)

Last/ Net Pct

CLOSE CHG CHG US crude 100.38 0.04 0.0% Brent crude 109.03 0.51 0.5% Natural gas 5.214 -0.009 -0.2%

US gold 1319.00 18.60 1.4% Gold 1317.89 -0.42 0.0% US Copper 3.26 0.01 0.4% LME Copper 7150.00 40.00 0.6% Dollar 80.149 -0.174 -0.2% CRB 293.238 0.671 0.2%

US corn 445.25 4.75 1.1% US soybeans 1337.50 -6.75 -0.5% US wheat 598.50 3.00 0.5%

US Coffee 139.90 0.20 0.1% US Cocoa 2934.00 5.00 0.2% US Sugar 15.63 -0.03 -0.2%

US silver 21.421 21.217 1.6% US platinum 1430.10 13.50 0.0% US palladium 737.60 6.50 0.9% (Reporting by Chris Prentice; Editing by Diane Craft)

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