October 4, 2013 / 8:33 PM / in 4 years

COMMODITIES-Gold slips on firm U.S. dollar; copper, oil rise

CHICAGO, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Commodities markets were mixed on Friday as copper rose 1 percent in a technical bounce and gold slipped on a firmer U.S. dollar, despite concerns that deeply divided lawmakers in Washington were far from reaching a budget deal.

Oil prices edged higher as Tropical Storm Karen shuttered half of offshore production in the Gulf of Mexico, but the U.S. political stalemate stoked worries about demand in the world’s largest oil consumer and trimmed gains.

The U.S. government shutdown entered its fourth day and nearly 1 million government workers remained home without pay.

Some Federal agencies and programs stopped functioning. The Labor Department postponed Friday’s release of September non-farm payrolls data. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission did not publish its weekly Commitment of Traders report.

The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index rose 0.3 percent as 13 of the 19 markets on the index closed higher. But the bellwether commodities price index notched its fourth straight weekly decline.

Copper rose 1 percent on Friday, nickel jumped as much as 4 percent and tin surged 5.5 percent in thin-volume trading as top metals consumer China was away from the market due to a week-long national holiday.

Gold shed about 0.5 percent but platinum added more than 1.5 percent amid threats to output in top miner South Africa from strikes and curbed water use.

“With half the industry out on strike, plus the news we’re hearing about water restrictions, platinum has had something of a step up,” Mitsubishi analyst Jonathan Butler said.

Oil eked out its first gain in three weeks as oil and gas firms shut in platforms and evacuated some workers stationed offshore in the U.S. Gulf, although the storm’s impact on output could be minimal.

“The Gulf output is still material, but any shut-ins will be quickly reversed and the output will not be missed,” said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York.

“The hit to economic activity from the government shutdown is also offsetting some the angst that Karen would otherwise generate.”

Cocoa prices advanced on fears of crop damage from a heat wave in key producers Ivory Coast and Ghana. Robusta coffee climbed, although gains were capped by an advancing Vietnamese harvest. Arabica coffee and raw sugar eased.

Harvest-delaying rains lifted corn and soybean futures while expectations for a record-large Canadian crop anchored wheat futures after a week of gains tied to strong U.S. exports lifted prices to a 3-1/2 month peak.

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