August 16, 2013 / 9:44 PM / in 4 years

COMMODITIES-Metals higher on improved demand, better weather hits ag prices

By Carole Vaporean
    NEW YORK, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Commodity prices traded mixed
on Friday, with profit taking, favorable weather and currency
pressures hitting grains, sugar, and coffee prices, but an
improved demand outlook sent some industrial metals up nearly 2
    Supply worries stirred up by violence in Egypt and Libya
lifted energy prices, although dollar strength capped gains. 
    Oil futures on both sides of the Atlantic ended higher for a
sixth straight session, with Brent oil posting the biggest
weekly percentage gain in six weeks. 
    Brent crude oil futures for October delivery ended 
80 cents higher at $110.40 a barrel, and gained 2 percent on the
week for its largest weekly percentage gain since July 5. 
    U.S. crude oil futures for September delivery settled
13 cents higher at $107.46, and up 1.4 percent for the week.
    The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, measuring
price action of 19-commodities, was up a mere 0.01 percent,
reflecting mixed market reactions. Earlier in the session, the
gauge climbed to its highest level since April 3, adding to its
4.38 percent advance since hitting a one-month bottom on Aug. 7.
    The dollar reversed course during New York trading to rise
against the euro and yen, in a risk-averse reaction to a report
showing U.S. consumer optimism easing. The darker sentiment
reading dimmed hopes for a swift economic recovery, but
brightened gold's prospects.  
    Gold rose 0.75 percent to two-month highs that contributed
to its 4.75 percent rise, the biggest weekly gain in five weeks.
    Bullion's appeal as an investment hedge increased after U.S.
economic data showed weaker consumer confidence in August and
lower-than-expected residential construction last month.
    "Uncertainty is re-entering the economy and making money
managers think," said Carlos Perez-Santalla at futures brokerage
Marex Spectron.
    Silver rose 1.7 percent for an eighth consecutive
daily gain. It has sharply outperformed gold and was up 13.5
percent this week for its biggest weekly rise in almost five
years. With industrial demand expected to pick up and positive
technical charts, analysts look for the grey metal to add to its
    An improved demand outlook also pushed copper to a 10-week
high. The industrial metal posted three straight weeks of gains.
    Copper has risen more than 7 percent so far this month,
rebounding from three-year lows hit in June, and nickel and
aluminum both finished the session up 1.9 percent on signs of
resilience in China's economy, an exit from recession for Europe
and a U.S. recovery slowly gaining steam. 
    Elsewhere, U.S. corn futures retreated in a profit-taking
setback after strong gains a day earlier and on a slightly
wetter forecast that could support crop yield. 
    Among soft commodities, raw sugar futures on ICE fell the
most in seven weeks and stemmed a five-week rally as a tumbling
real and a quickening harvest pace in top grower Brazil left
prices on the defensive. Arabica coffee also fell under the
currency pressure. 
 Prices at 3:16 p.m. EDT (1916 GMT)      
                              LAST/      NET    PCT     YTD
                              CLOSE      CHG    CHG     CHG
 US crude                    107.59     0.26   0.2%   17.2%
 Brent crude                 110.45     0.85   0.8%   -0.6%
 Natural gas                  3.368   -0.051  -1.5%    0.5%
 US gold                    1371.70    10.10   0.7%  -18.1%
 Gold                       1376.70    11.15   0.8%  -17.8%
 US Copper                     3.36     0.03   0.8%   -7.9%
 LME Copper                 7400.00    91.00   1.2%   -6.7%
 Dollar                      81.278    0.097   0.1%    5.9%
 CRB                        292.491    0.043   0.0%   -0.9%
 US corn                     473.75    -7.75  -1.6%  -32.2%
 US soybeans                1283.25    -5.00  -0.4%   -9.6%
 US wheat                    631.00    -6.50  -1.0%  -18.9%
 US Coffee                   120.50    -1.35  -1.1%  -16.2%
 US Cocoa                   2445.00     9.00   0.4%    9.3%
 US Sugar                     16.94    -0.25  -1.5%  -13.2%
 US silver                   23.322   23.093   1.7%  -22.8%
 US platinum                1527.60    -4.70   0.0%   -0.7%
 US palladium                763.05     6.20   0.8%    8.5%
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