November 30, 2012 / 9:30 PM / 5 years ago

COMMODITIES-Oil, copper up; most others down on fiscal cliff worry

* U.S. fiscal talks hit a stalemate
    * Brent crude up 2.3 pct in Nov, largely on supply woes
    * Copper books first monthly gain in two months
    * Wheat posts largest two-month loss in a year

    By Barani Krishnan
    NEW YORK, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Oil and copper closed both
Friday and November's trading up on supply worries and stronger
demand, while other commodities fell amid worries U.S. lawmakers
were still far from a budget deal seen crucial for preventing a
recession in the No.1 economy.
    Crude prices rose for their first month since August, after
fresh hostilities between Israel and Palestinian militants and
unrest in Egypt stirred worries about global oil supplies.
    Copper prices recovered more than half of what they lost in
October as investors returned to buy in an oversold market.
    Other raw materials markets mostly posted losses for
    U.S. wheat suffered its largest two-month decline in a year.
Weak exports and large physical deliveries of the crop against
futures contracts fueled selling in wheat on the final trading
day of November, reversing a rally from earlier in the
    U.S corn fell for a fourth month in a row and soybeans
posted their third monthly decline. 
    In precious metals, gold closed down for a second
straight month. 
    The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index
 settled down 0.1 percent for the day, while finishing
November up 1 percent. In October, the benchmark index slid more
than 4 percent, while it finished about flat in September.
    The November rebound was largely due to a pick up in oil and
copper prices.
    Analysts said they expected the key energy and metals
markets to end the year up if lawmakers could reach a deal in
the U.S. Congress by Dec. 31 to prevent $600 billion worth of
tax hikes and spending cuts from kicking in in 2013.
    "If the fiscal cliff can be avoided, prices should
increase," said Carsten Fritsch, an oil analyst in London for
the Frankfurt-based Commerzbank.
    By Friday afternoon, U.S. President Barack Obama and his
rivals remained at odds about how to reach a deal on the budget,
with the White House accusing a "handful of Republicans" of
holding up legislation to extend tax cuts for middle-class
Americans in order to try to preserve them for the wealthy.
House Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in Congress,
added: "There is a stalemate; let's not kid ourselves."  
    Oil's benchmark Brent crude in London ended up 0.4
percent for the day at $111.23 a barrel. For November, it rose
2.3 percent, and year-to-date it was up 3.5 percent. 
    Copper reached its highest levels since late October in
Friday's session, posting its first monthly gain in two months.
    The base metal's three-month futures contract in London
 closed up 0.7 percent at $7,944 tonne, just shy of the 
five-week high of $7,995 it set in earlier trading.
    U.S. copper for March delivery ended up 1.2 percent
at $3.65 a lb.
    Both the London and New York markets showed a near 3-percent
gain for November and a 5-percent gain for the year. 
    The rally in copper was supported by a weaker dollar against
the euro and growing confidence in the economic outlook of top
metals buyer China, dealers said.
    The euro hit a five-week high against the dollar
, bolstered partly by the approval of the latest Greek
bailout deal by German lawmakers. 
    In China, economists polled by Reuters said they expected
factory activity for November to have expanded at its fastest
pace in seven months, reinforcing views that recovery in the No.
2 economy is entrenched going into the final quarter.
    U.S. wheat futures slumped in Chicago trading after
disappointing export sales of the grain. Corn and soybean
futures also ended down as traders booked month-end profits.
    The most active March wheat contract on the Chicago Board of
Trade fell 2.5 percent to settle at $8.63-1/2 a bushel. In
October, wheat fell 4.2 percent, making combined losses for the
two months the largest in a year.
    Until last week, Chicago wheat had been on a climb, hitting
a two-week high on Tuesday after a record low rating for the
crop's conditions in the United States.
    The higher prices had, however, led to lower demand in the
physical market, pushing U.S. wheat exports last week to their
lowest levels in three weeks.  
    "We rallied the market up on anticipation of export demand
and we rallied away from the export price," Charlie Sernatinger,
analyst at ABN Amro in Chicago, said of the wheat market. 
 Prices at 3:29 p.m. EST (2029 GMT)      
                             LAST/      NET    PCT     YTD
                             CLOSE      CHG    CHG     CHG
 US crude                    88.79     0.72   0.8%  -10.2%
 Brent crude                111.09     0.33   0.3%    3.5%
 Natural gas                 3.561   -0.087  -2.4%   19.1%
 US gold                   1710.90   -16.30  -0.9%    9.2%
 Gold                      1713.50   -11.29  -0.7%    9.6%
 US Copper                  362.95     4.10   1.1%    5.6%
 LME Copper                7995.00    95.50   1.2%    5.2%
 Dollar                     80.147   -0.057  -0.1%    0.0%
 US corn                    748.00    -3.50  -0.5%   15.7%
 US soybeans               1438.75    -9.25  -0.6%   20.0%
 US wheat                   844.75   -24.50  -2.8%   29.4%
 US Coffee                  142.10    -4.05  -2.8%  -37.7%
 US Cocoa                  2538.00    12.00   0.5%   20.3%
 US Sugar                    19.34     0.00   0.0%  -16.7%
 US silver                  33.204   -1.144  -3.3%   18.9%
 US platinum               1603.10   -14.90  -0.9%   14.1%
 US palladium               686.25     1.05   0.2%    4.6%
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