October 25, 2012 / 9:55 PM / 7 years ago

COMMODITIES-Corn slips; Brent oil up on Hurricane Sandy threat

* Brent bounces after 7 down days
    * Hurricane Sandy seen threatening U.S. Northeast
    * Corn down 2 percent on poor export sales

    By David Sheppard
    NEW YORK, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Most commodity markets posted
slight losses on Thursday, led by a 2 percent slide in corn on
weak U.S. export sales, though Brent crude oil prices bounced
following seven days of losses as gasoline prices surged.
    Oil traders were eyeing a Hurricane Sandy as it raked Cuba
with 150-mile winds. The powerful late-season storm is expected
to makes its way north in the coming days toward the
Northeastern United States, potentially disrupting refinery
operations.
    "Sandy looks to make a direct hit in the Northeast, so it's
very possible New Jersey and Pennsylvania refiners might engage
in some defense and slow or shut some operations," said John
Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York.
    Brent crude oil prices rose 64 cents to $108.49 a
barrel, while RBOB gasoline futures jumped more than 3
percent to $2.68 a gallon.    
    The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a
bellwether for commodities, rose 0.02 percent, snapping a
four-day losing streak on the back of the oil price bounce.
    Gold rose by 0.5 percent to $1,710.20 an ounce, a day after
falling to the lowest level since September. U.S. palladium
futures were up 2 percent to $604.50 an ounce.     
         
    WEAK ECONOMIC DATA WEIGHS
    The U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to keep interest rates
near-zero until mid-2015 to stimulate the economy did little to
support copper in the face of a stronger U.S. dollar. Benchmark
copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) ended at
$7,815 a tonne, down from $7,817 on Wednesday.
    U.S. business investment showed signs of stalling in
September, an indication that worries over a possible sharp
tightening in the federal budget are already weighing on the
economy.
    New orders for capital goods, excluding defense, were 
unchanged last month at $60.3 billion, the Commerce Department
reported, disappointing analysts who had predicted a rise.
    A monthly manufacturing output report from the Federal
Reserve Bank of Kansas City showed activity in the Midwestern
United States slowed in October from the previous month.
    Corn was down 1.7 percent, wheat fell 1.4 percent and
soybeans shed 0.4 percent on signs the historic highs of this
summer during the Midwest drought have hit end-user profits, who
are now curtailing demand.
   The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) weekly export
sales report showed lower-than-expected export sales. The USDA
said net export sales of corn were at 142,400 tonnes, below
estimates for 150,000 to 250,000.
    Export sales of U.S. wheat last week totaled nearly 572,000
tonnes, above estimates for 350,000 to 450,000.
    
 Prices at 5:20 p.m. EDT (2120 GMT)      
                             LAST/      NET    PCT     YTD
                             CLOSE      CHG    CHG     CHG
 US crude                    86.05     0.32   0.4%  -12.9%
 Brent crude                108.49     0.64   0.6%    1.0%
 Natural gas                 3.434   -0.016  -0.5%   14.9%
 
 US gold                   1713.00    11.40   0.7%    9.3%
 Gold                      1710.54     8.61   0.5%    9.4%
 US Copper                  355.05    -1.75  -0.5%    3.3%
 LME Copper                7815.00    -2.00   0.0%    2.8%
 Dollar                     80.099    0.186   0.2%   -0.1%
 
 
 US corn                    742.00   -12.50  -1.7%   14.8%
 US soybeans               1564.00    -6.50  -0.4%   30.5%
 US wheat                   872.75   -11.25  -1.3%   33.7%
 
 US Coffee                  161.00     1.20   0.8%  -29.4%
 US Cocoa                  2402.00     3.00   0.1%   13.9%
 US Sugar                    19.53    -0.15  -0.8%  -15.9%
 
 US silver                  32.078    0.458   1.4%   14.9%
 US platinum               1569.60     6.90   0.4%   11.7%
 US palladium               604.50    11.75   2.0%   -7.9%
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