COMMODITIES-Strong dollar, weak demand snap 4 days of gains

Thu Mar 14, 2013 2:08am IST

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Stocks

   

* Dlr at 7-mth high vs currency basket, 3-mth peak to euro
    * Oil also pressured by large U.S. crude inventories
    * Gold slips after strong U.S. retail sales data
    * Robusta coffee hit by profit-taking; soy down on supplies

    By Barani Krishnan
    NEW YORK, March 13 (Reuters) - Commodities fell on
Wednesday, snapping four straight days of gains, with a strong
dollar and a general slowdown in demand pressuring prices for
oil, metals and most crops.
    Some raw materials, like robusta coffee and corn, slid on
profit-taking as traders unwound bullish bets built since last 
Thursday on optimism about the U.S. economic recovery.
    Benchmark Brent crude oil in London fell after the dollar
climbed to a seven-month high against a basket of currencies
 and hit a three-month peak versus the euro. 
    A larger-than-expected increase in U.S. crude inventories,
and a trimmed demand forecast from the International Energy
Agency, also weighed on oil prices.
    Copper was also hit by the stronger dollar while gold
slipped after a failure to rise past $1,600 an ounce prompted
investors in bullion to reduce positions.
    The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a
bellwether for commodity prices, settled down 0.3 percent.
Thirteen of the 19 markets tracked by the CRB ended down, with
coffee, soybeans, silver and heating oil falling 1 percent each.
    
    NATGAS, COTTON BUCK TREND
    Natural gas and cotton each rose about 1 percent, bucking
the lower trend. Gas hit a three-month high on forecasts
for more cold weather in key U.S. consuming regions.
Short-covering and mill options drove cotton to 10-month
peaks.  
    Brent crude settled down $1.13 at $108.52 per
barrel, dropping below its 200-day moving average of $109.37, a
technical level monitored by chart-watching traders and
analysts. 
    U.S. crude oil finished down 2 cents at $92.52.
    The selloff in oil came after the U.S. Energy Information
Administration (EIA) said in its weekly report domestic crude 
stocks rose 2.62 million barrels last week, slightly more than
the build of 2.3 million barrels forecast on average by analysts
surveyed by Reuters. 
    In gold, the key futures contract in New York, April
, ended down $3.30 at $1,588.40, with trading volume
below the 250-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed.
 
    Gold came under pressure after data showed U.S. retail sales
expanded at their fastest pace in five months in February. The
report came on the heels of strong gains in employment and
manufacturing, increasing chances the Federal Reserve might halt
its bond-buying earlier than thought. 
    London's robusta coffee closed down $3 at $2,203 a
tonne, sliding from a 5-month high as profit-taking cut into
gains made earlier in the day on concern over unfavorable
growing weather in top producer Vietnam. 
    Soybeans' second-month contract in Chicago tumbled
21-3/4 cents to $14.47 a bushel on slowing global demand for the
remnants of last autumn's U.S. harvest as South American
supplies begin to flood the market. 
    
 Prices at 4:22 p.m. EST (2022 GMT)      
                             LAST/      NET    PCT     YTD
                             CLOSE      CHG    CHG     CHG
 US crude                    92.47    -0.07  -0.1%    0.7%
 Brent crude                108.38    -1.27  -1.2%   -2.5%
 Natural gas                 3.680    0.035   1.0%    9.8%
 
 US gold                   1588.40    -3.30  -0.2%   -5.2%
 Gold                      1587.76    -4.33  -0.3%   -5.2%
 US Copper                  350.95    -2.85  -0.8%   -3.9%
 LME Copper                7787.50   -42.50  -0.5%   -1.8%
 Dollar                     82.937    0.348   0.4%    8.0%
                              
 
 US corn                    741.25     0.25   0.0%    6.2%
 US soybeans               1475.00   -14.75  -1.0%    4.0%
 US wheat                   707.25     6.75   1.0%   -9.1%
 
 US Coffee                  140.60    -1.75  -1.2%   -2.2%
 US Cocoa                  2147.00   -11.00  -0.5%   -4.0%
 US Sugar                    18.80    -0.02  -0.1%   -3.6%
 
 US silver                  28.958   -0.213  -0.7%   -4.2%
 US platinum               1593.10    -1.90  -0.1%    3.5%
 US palladium               771.25    -4.25  -0.5%    9.7%
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