February 5, 2013 / 8:45 PM / in 5 years

COMMODITIES-Brent oil jumps to Sept highs, cocoa hits 2-week peak

* Brent crude rallies on bullish euro zone, US ISM data
    * Gasoline, heating oil, natural gas join oil rally
    * Cocoa surges on technical buying, Ivorian worries
    * Corn, wheat down on wetter weather outlook in Argentina

    By Barani Krishnan
    NEW YORK, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Oil rebounded on Tuesday, with
London's Brent crude nearing a five-month high on rosy U.S. and
European data, while cocoa jumped on technical buying and
worries about tighter supply and political instability in top
growing country Ivory Coast.
    Gasoline, heating oil and natural gas 
joined the oil rally, taking the energy complex higher, as U.S.
stocks rebounded sharply a day after their biggest
sell-off since November. 
    The dollar's fall against the euro boosted demand for
dollar-denominated commodities from holders of the single
European currency. 
    A survey showed business optimism in the euro zone at an
eight-month high, indicating the bloc was recovering, although
Germany's reading surged while France's plummeted to its lowest
in nearly four years. The widening gap between the region's two
biggest economies worried some analysts.  
    Bucking the broadly higher trend in commodities were grains
such as corn and wheat.
    Corn fell for a third straight session. Wheat was down for a
fourth day, to a 3-1/2 week low. The selloff came after
forecasts for beneficial rains in No. 3 exporter Argentina, and
ahead of Friday's crop report for January from the U.S.
Department of Agriculture. 
    Metals saw muted moves. Gold prices  slipped
after encouraging economic trends in the United States and the
euro zone dimmed the precious metal's safe-haven appeal. 
    In copper, the base metal's benchmark London-traded futures
 closed down on concerns about a corruption scandal in
Spain and ahead of a general election in Italy later this month.
U.S. copper futures, however, rose, rebounding with the
oil and stocks markets which had closed down on Monday. 
    The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index settled up
0.4 percent, with 12 of 19 markets on the commodities bellwether
in positive territory. Natural gas and cocoa rose
nearly 3 percent each.
    In oil, London's Brent closed up 0.8 percent, or 92
cents, at $116.52 a barrel. It had rallied earlier to $117.23,  
its highest since Sept. 14.
    U.S. crude settled up 0.5 percent, or 47 cents, at
    Also boosting oil, the U.S. Institute for Supply Management
showed an expansion of the services sector in January, which
analysts said indicated moderate economic growth. 
    The ISM data also showed its non-manufacturing employment
index at a seven-year high, pointing to a labor market that
should continue to strengthen in the months ahead.
    "This supports the evidence from January's payrolls report
that the lingering fiscal uncertainty doesn't appear to be
damaging hiring too much," Paul Dales, senior U.S economist at
Capital Economics in Toronto, said in a note. 
    Cocoa hit a two-week high in New York trading and notched
the largest one-day gain since mid-November, spurred by
technical buying and supply concerns in top-grower Ivory Coast.
    The key March cocoa futures on ICE Futures U.S. 
settled up 2.5 percent, or $54, at $2,246 a tonne after earlier
touching $2,249, the highest since Jan. 22. It was also the
market's largest single-day rally since Nov. 14.
    "We are seeing a topside breakout coming from an oversold
market. We definitely had some stops triggered," said Sterling
Smith, futures specialist at Citigroup in Chicago. He was
referring to the market breaking above recent session highs that
initiated automatic buy orders.
    Some traders said there was little fundamental news behind
the bounce in cocoa.
    But Hector Galvan, a senior market strategist at RJO Futures
in Chicago, pointed to the Ivory Coast, where dry weather and
pirate activity had raised the specter of supply disruption from
the world's largest producer. 
    Arid weather in Ivory Coast has prompted concern over the
output and quality of cocoa beans from there. The
hijacking of a French tanker off the Ivorian coast added to
worries over the country's cocoa exports. 
    "Any instability in the region is bullish cocoa," Galvan
 Prices at 3:17 p.m. EST (2017 GMT)      
                             LAST/      NET    PCT     YTD
                             CLOSE      CHG    CHG     CHG
 US crude                    96.62     0.45   0.5%    5.2%
 Brent crude                116.49     0.89   0.8%    4.8%
 Natural gas                 3.399    0.084   2.5%    1.4%
 US gold                   1672.40    -2.90  -0.2%   -0.2%
 Gold                      1672.70    -1.30  -0.1%   -0.1%
 US Copper                  377.00     0.15   0.0%    3.2%
 LME Copper                8270.00   -35.00  -0.4%    4.3%
 Dollar                     79.503   -0.051  -0.1%    3.6%
 US corn                    729.00    -5.25  -0.7%    4.4%
 US soybeans               1495.50     6.75   0.5%    5.4%
 US wheat                   757.50    -5.50  -0.7%   -2.6%
 US Coffee                  144.05    -0.30  -0.2%    0.2%
 US Cocoa                  2246.00    54.00   2.5%    0.4%
 US Sugar                    18.56    -0.17  -0.9%   -4.9%
 US silver                  31.875    0.159   0.5%    5.5%
 US palladium               765.45     7.65   1.0%    8.8%
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