January 11, 2013 / 11:00 PM / 5 years ago

COMMODITIES-Oil, metals down; crops rise to push CRB up for week

* Natgas top gains, up over 4 pct on cold weather worry
    * CRB up nearly 1 pct on week after sluggish 2013 start
    * China a worry despite turnaround in market sentiment

    By Barani Krishnan
    NEW YORK, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Oil and metals prices fell on
Friday on worries about the demand outlook while some major
crops rose, helping a key commodities index edge higher for the
    For the week, the 19-commodity Thomson Reuters Jeffries CRB
 index also settled higher, helped by big rally across
commodities on Thursday as the dollar slumped.
    The U.S. currency continued its trek lower in Friday's
session, hitting its lowest against the euro since April as the
market continued to digest the European Central Bank's decision
on Thursday to hold off on an expected rate cut. 
    On Friday, oil prices fell in heavy trading, dragged by a
drop in gasoline on expectations that a large number of European
cargoes could hit U.S. shores due to a seasonal slump in demand
in West Africa.
    Copper closed lower on Friday as demand from top consumer
China remained weak. A day earlier, the metal had hit a one-week
high in European trading.
    Gold fell on Friday too, after growing inflation pressure in
China dented hopes for more stimulus from the world's
second-largest economy.
    The CRB index managed to settle a touch higher, helped by
gains of about 2 percent or more in coffee, wheat and corn.
    Natural gas was the outlier, rising more than 4 percent, and
closing up for a second day, backed by a bullish weekly report
on inventories and colder forecasts for next week that could
boost heating demand. 
    For the week, the CRB was up 0.9 percent, almost identical
to Thursday's daily gain, as the ECB's rate cut hold pushed the
dollar sharply lower against the euro, boosting raw materials
priced in the U.S. currency.
    Thursday's run-up on the CRB was the largest daily increase
so far this year.
    Some traders have doubts about whether commodities will
continue to rise in the near term, unless giant consumer China
starts to issue consistently strong economic data.
    While China's export growth rebounded surprisingly sharply
to a seven-month high in December, its copper imports declined
6.6 percent from November. China is the world's largest buyer of
copper and other base metals.  
    "China spent much of last year accumulating stockpiles at
attractive prices. Now a recovery is beginning to take place
they have more than enough metal lying around," said Nic Brown,
head of commodities research at Natixis.
    Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange 
closed down 0.8 percent at $8,045 a tonne. 
    In crude oil, London's benchmark Brent settled down
1.1 percent at $110.64 a barrel, retreating below its 100-day
moving average of $111.05. Volume in Brent crude was 50 percent
above the 30-day norm, preliminary Thomson Reuters data showed.
    U.S. gasoline futures dropped 2 percent, the biggest
daily decline since early November, amid talk of large volumes
of European gasoline headed to the New York Harbor, delivery
point for U.S. oil product futures, as fuel demand in West
Africa declined seasonally.  
    In gold, the spot price of bullion slipped below its 200-day
moving average, down 0.7 percent to hover around $1,662 late
Friday afternoon in New York. 
    On the grains side, front-month corn on the Chicago Board of
Trade settled up 1.4 percent at $7.083/4 a bushel -- after
setting a three-week peak above $7.23 -- on
tighter-than-expected supply projections from the U.S.
Department of Agriculture. 
    The USDA, in hotly anticipated crop reports, pegged the U.S.
corn stockpile at 8.03 billion bushels as of Dec. 1. That was 3
percent smaller than expected.
    Wheat had its biggest daily gain since late November. The
front-month futures contract on the CBOT also rose 1.4
percent like corn to settle at $7.54-3.4 a bushel after a
one-week week at $7.73. 
    Arabica coffee jumped more than 2 percent to a one-month
high in New York trading. The front-month contract 
settled up 3.70 cents, or 2.5 percent, at $1.5335 per lb, with
trading volumes more than double the 30-day average, according
to Thomson Reuters data. 
 Prices at 5:29 p.m. EST (2229 GMT)      
                             LAST/      NET    PCT     YTD
                             CLOSE      CHG    CHG     CHG
 US crude                    93.77    -0.26  -0.3%    2.1%
 Brent crude                110.47    -1.42  -1.3%   -0.6%
 Natural gas                 3.327    0.134   4.2%   -0.7%
 US gold                   1660.60   -17.40  -1.0%   -0.9%
 Gold                      1661.55    -0.89  -0.1%   -0.8%
 US Copper                  365.40    -5.50  -1.5%    0.0%
 LME Copper                8045.00   -70.00  -0.9%    1.4%
 Dollar                     79.546   -0.192  -0.2%    3.6%
 US corn                    708.75    10.00   1.4%    1.5%
 US soybeans               1424.75     7.25   0.5%    0.4%
 US wheat                   754.75    10.25   1.4%   -3.0%
 US Coffee                  153.35     3.70   2.5%    6.6%
 US Cocoa                  2256.00   -13.00  -0.6%    0.9%
 US Sugar                    19.17     0.21   1.1%   -1.7%
 US silver                  30.408   -0.510  -1.6%    0.6%
 US platinum               1629.30    -3.10  -0.2%    5.9%
 US palladium               701.45    -0.75  -0.1%   -0.3%

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