May 24, 2013 / 6:56 PM / in 5 years

COMMODITIES-Biggest weekly loss in a month for oil; gold up on week

* Industrial commodities weighed down by shaky China demand
    * Brent crude oil down about 2 percent on week
    * Gold rises 2 pct on week, helped by conviction of more
    * Copper little changed on both the day and week

    By Barani Krishnan
    NEW YORK, May 24 (Reuters) - Oil posted its biggest weekly
loss in a month on Friday while copper was down slightly on both
the day and week after a shaky demand outlook for industrial
commodities from major consumer China.
    Gold had its biggest weekly rise in a month, supported by
lower stock markets and comments from a Federal Reserve official
that signaled the central bank was unlikely to hastily end U.S.
economic stimulus that has sharply boosted the metal.
    On the agricultural side, soybeans fell for the first
time in seven sessions and corn eased after two days of
gains as investors squared positions ahead of the three-day U.S.
Memorial Day holiday weekend. 
    Among other crops, arabica coffee slumped to a
more-than-three-year low while cocoa fell for a third
straight day. 
    The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index
 was down nearly half a percent on the day and about 1
percent lower on the week. Arabica coffee was the biggest
drag on the CRB in Friday's session, losing more than 2 percent.
Live cattle led the index's gains, rising nearly 1
    Oil's benchmark Brent crude out of Europe's North Sea
 was up 21 cents at $102.65 a barrel by 2:30 p.m. EDT
(1830 GMT) after shedding 79 cents earlier to reach a session
low of $101.65.
    For the week, the market showed a loss of nearly $2 a
barrel, largely due to worries that China, the world's No. 2
economy and second largest oil consumer, may miss its 7.5
percent growth target this year. 
    Investors in oil are also looking to the U.S. driving
season, which starts this weekend, for indications of higher
demand in the top oil consuming nation. U.S. gasoline stockpiles
last week were close to the highest level for this time of the
year since 1999. 
    The oil market is going to need to see more than "one week's
worth of demand" to garner any support from the gasoline side,
said Gene McGillian, an analyst with Tradition Energy in
Stamford, Connecticut. 
    Copper prices fell slightly as investors weighed the
positive impact of better-than-expected U.S. jobs and
manufacturing data against slowing industrial activity in top
metals consuming nation China.
    Data out on Thursday showed China's factory activity shrank
for the first time in seven months in May, raising fears that
its economic recovery has stalled. 
    Partially balancing concerns about China, which accounts for
about 40 percent of global copper consumption, was data from the
United States that showed orders for long-lasting manufactured
goods rose more than expected in April. 
    U.S. data on Thursday also showed a bigger-than-expected
drop in claims for unemployment benefits. 
    Copper's benchmark three-month futures contract in London
 settled down at around $7,280 a tonne, versus Thursday's
close of $7,300. A week ago, the contract stood at $7,305.
    In gold, the spot price of bullion was at around
$1,386 an ounce, little changed from $1,390.40 late on Thursday
but up 2.3 percent on the week.
    The precious metal is on track for its biggest weekly rise
since late April, in a further break from the near 2-1/2 year
low hit during last month's rout.  
    The weekly rise was helped by comments on Thursday by James
Bullard, head of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, who said he
 did not think the Fed was "that close" to starting the process
of winding down its stimulus for the U.S. economy.
    Bullard's comments came as a follow-up to remarks on
Wednesday by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke who said the central bank
could start scaling back over the next few months its $85
billion in monthly U.S. bond purchases. Fed stimulus action has
propped up prices of gold and other commodities over the past 3
    "This week presented something for everyone" in gold, Saxo
Bank vice president Ole Hansen said. "The bears have not seen
any evidence of them being wrong, while the bulls got a bit of
safe haven and on balance a rather dovish Bernanke."
 Prices at 2:09 p.m. EDT (1809 GMT)                       
                              LAST      NET    PCT     YTD
                                        CHG    CHG     CHG
 US crude                    94.10    -0.15  -0.2%    2.5%
 Brent crude                102.66     0.22   0.2%   -7.6%
 Natural gas                 4.228   -0.033  -0.8%   26.2%
 Gold                      1387.41    -3.29  -0.2%  -17.1%
 US Copper                  329.65    -0.75  -0.2%   -9.7%
 LME Copper                7283.25   -16.75  -0.2%   -8.2%
 Dollar                     83.634   -0.166  -0.2%    8.9%
 US corn                    658.50    -3.75  -0.5%   -5.7%
 US soybeans               1479.25   -20.25  -1.4%    4.3%
 US wheat                   698.50    -4.75  -0.7%  -10.2%
 US Coffee                  127.15    -2.90  -2.2%  -11.6%
 US Cocoa                  2250.00   -33.00  -1.5%    0.6%
 US Sugar                    16.87     0.11   0.7%  -13.5%
 US silver                  22.455   -0.053  -0.2%  -25.7%
 US platinum               1452.80    -4.40  -0.3%   -5.6%
 US palladium               725.90   -12.75  -1.7%    3.2%
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