August 2, 2012 / 8:31 PM / 8 years ago

COMMODITIES-Markets slump as ECB disappoints; metals off sharply

* ECB and Fed disappoint investors hoping for stimulus
    * Copper, nickel down about 2 pct or more
    * Weak US data also pressures NY oil, Brent closes down
    * Grains market join other markets in red after choppy trade

 (Updates throughout with settlement prices)
    By Barani Krishnan
    NEW YORK, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Most commodities fell on
Thursday after neither the European Central Bank nor the Federal
Reserve announced a stimulus plan, leaving investors concerned
about risk-taking in a world of growing economic challenges.
    A rise in jobless claims and drop in factory orders in the
United States also pressured oil futures in New York. In London,
Brent crude closed down, surrendering early gains.
    Soybeans and corn also settled lower as rains brought relief
to drought-parched fields in the U.S. Midwest.
    The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a global
benchmark for commodities, ended down 1.6 percent. Fifteen of
the 19 commodities tracked by the CRB showed losses, led by
natural gas, which fell 8 percent after a surge in U.S. gas
stockpiles. 
    Metals fell sharply, with copper and nickel 
down about 2 percent each.  
    The slump in metals came after ECB President Mario Draghi
ended Thursday's much-awaited ECB meeting without announcing any
immediate economic stimulus action. Last week, a statement by
Draghi had raised investor hopes for a stimulus.
    Instead, he said the central bank may start buying
government bonds again to reduce crippling Spanish and Italian
borrowing costs. But the conditions set and the dissenting voice
of a key German member disappointed markets. 
    "Investors were looking for a bazooka and what they got was
a pea-shooter instead," said Peter Buchanan, commodities analyst
and senior economist at CIBC in Toronto.
    The dollar rose on Draghi's remarks, weighing on
demand for dollar-denominated commodities by holders of the euro
. The ECB's decision followed a Federal Reserve
announcement that also disappointed investors. 
    Crude futures in New York fell 2 percent, ending at
$87.13 a barrel, after soft economic data showed more Americans
filed new claims for jobless benefits last week, along with an 
unexpected drop in manufacturing orders in June. 
    A government report on Friday is expected to show that
employers added 100,000 new workers to their payrolls last
month, according to a Reuters survey, up from 80,000 in June.
    That would be more than the average 75,000 per month job
growth in the second quarter, but far less than the average
monthly rise of 226,000 in the first three months of the
year. 
    London's Brent settled 6 cents down at $105.90. 
    Caution gripped grains markets ahead of the U.S. Department
of Agriculture's all-important crop report on Aug. 10 that could
revise the government's yield/production estimates and demand
forecast for corn and soybeans. 
    Benchmark soybean futures in Chicago finished down 0.8
percent at $16.16-1/2 a bushel. Corn fell 0.6 percent to
$7.95-3/4 a bushel.
    
 Prices at 4:08 p.m. EDT (2008 GMT)      
                             LAST/      NET    PCT     YTD
                             CLOSE      CHG    CHG     CHG
 US crude                    87.32    -1.59  -1.8%  -11.6%
 Brent crude                106.02     0.06   0.1%   -1.3%
 Natural gas                 2.920   -0.251  -7.9%   -2.3%
 
 US gold                   1590.70   -16.60  -1.0%    1.5%
 Gold                      1589.11    -9.48  -0.6%    1.6%
 US Copper                  329.05    -8.45  -2.5%   -4.2%
                              
 Dollar                     83.319    0.261   0.3%    3.9%
 CRB                       294.500   -4.730  -1.6%   -3.5%
 
 US corn                    797.50    -1.50  -0.2%   23.4%
 US soybeans               1616.50   -12.50  -0.8%   34.9%
 US wheat                   884.50   -14.25  -1.6%   35.5%
 
 US Coffee                  171.65    -2.95  -1.7%  -24.8%
 US Cocoa                  2369.00   -32.00  -1.3%   12.3%
 US Sugar                    22.20    -0.37  -1.6%   -4.4%
 
 US silver                  26.995   -0.540  -2.0%   -3.3%
 US platinum               1386.70   -13.50  -1.0%   -1.3%
 US palladium               567.85   -14.75  -2.5%  -13.5%
 
 (Additional reporting by Chris Kelly; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer
and David Gregorio)
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