* Copper falls a fifth day, longest losing streak since Oct.
* China reports smaller-than-expected trade surplus
* Italy's debt crisis comes on heels of Greece troubles
* USDA cuts corn, soybean harvest forecasts
By Jane Lee
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 10 Markets fell on Thursday,
led by copper, after Italy's rising borrowing costs, coupled
with Greece's debt troubles, heightened concern the euro zone
crisis is spreading and China's exports rose at their slowest in
Copper declined for a fifth day in its longest losing streak
in more than a month while grains and gold futures GCcv1
slipped, though crude LCOc1 was steady above $112.
"Conditions in Europe have become like playing
whack-the-mole -- put one down only to see another one pop up,"
said Nader Naeimi, a Sydney-based senior investment strategist
at AMP Capital Investors Ltd., which has A$97 billion ($99
billion) in management.
"This will continue until the European Central Bank start a
quantitative easing, which is to print as much money as
necessary to buy Italian and Spanish bonds."
As Italy moved to the spotlight of the euro zone crisis, a
deal to form a Greek national unity government collapsed, with
the country headed towards an economic abyss, hours after
outgoing Prime Minister George Papandreou said he was handing
over to a coalition that does not exist.
China's trade surplus in October was at $17 billion, customs
figures showed on Thursday, versus analyst expectations in a
Reuters poll for exports to exceed imports by $24.9 billion.
Tokyo's Nikkei share average fell 2.5 percent, while
MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan
lost 1.1 percent.
COPPER, GOLD, EQUITIES DOWN
LME copper fell as low as $7,430.50 a tonne during
the session, its cheapest since Oct. 25. Prices have lost 22
percent this year, snapping two annual gains.
The most active January copper contract on the Shanghai
Futures Exchange SCFc3 fell more than 5 percent at the market
open on Thursday to as low as 54,830 yuan ($8,648) a tonne.
The most-active U.S. gold futures contract GCcv1 erased
1.7 percent to $1,761.70 an ounce. Spot gold dropped 0.6
percent to $1,759.79 an ounce in its third day of decline.
Prices are still up 24 percent this year, set for an 11th year
U.S. stocks tumbled 3 percent in the market's worst day
since mid-August on Wednesday, when the 19-commodity
Reuters-Jefferies CRB index fell 1.3 percent, snapping
five consecutive sessions of gains.
CHINA'S TRADE SURPLUS
China's exports rose 15.9 percent in October from a year
ago, the customs office said on Thursday, well below market
expectations of a 16.5 percent gain and down from the 17.1
percent increase recorded in September.
The slower growth raised concern that Europe's troubles are
slowing demand for China's manufactured goods.
In London, ICE Brent crude for December delivery LCOc1 was
steady at $112.33 a barrel, up 2 cents, after dropping to a
session low of $112.11.
U.S. crude for December CLc1 traded at $95.67 a barrel,
falling 7 cents. Futures on Wednesday climbed to their highest
in more than three months.
WEAKER GRAINS MARKET
Grains fell as concern over Italy's debt woes outweighed
Chicago Board of Trade corn for December delivery Cc1 shed
0.3 percent to $6.53-3/4 per bushel in early trade. It ended
Wednesday down 0.7 percent after the U.S. government slashed its
forecasts of the U.S. 2011 corn and soybean harvests, now
drawing to a close.
Wheat for December delivery Wc1 eased 0.3 percent to $6.41
per bushel following a drop of 2.1 percent on Wednesday as
investors became risk averse on worries about Europe's growing
debt crisis crimping demand. Also weighing on wheat prices was
the U.S. government confirmation of adequate global supplies.
Soybeans for January delivery Sc2, the most active
contract, fell 0.2 percent to $11.83-1/2 per bushel, adding to
the previous day's 1.6 percent decline.
(With additional reporting by Carrie Ho, Francis Kan, Rujun
Shen and Naveen Thukral; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)