COMMODITIES-Oil up as U.S. fuel stocks drop; gold, copper rise too

NEW YORK, July 10 Thu Jul 11, 2013 2:06am IST

NEW YORK, July 10 (Reuters) - Oil prices jumped on Wednesday after a sharp drop in U.S. fuel stockpiles, and copper and gold closed firm as the dollar fell on signs the Federal Reserve may extend its economic stimulus.

Among crops, U.S. new-crop soybean futures rose to a nearly three-week high on concerns that rains in the eastern Midwest would prevent farmers from planting the last of their acres.

Raw sugar turned lower after data from Brazil showed hefty sugar output in the world's top grower, despite a slowdown in cane crushing expected by traders due to rains.

The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index settled up nearly 1 percent for its biggest daily gain in nearly five weeks.

"The markets have moved quite a bit lower over the course of June and have likely priced in a good amount of the negative news that has come our way over the past few weeks. They are, therefore, due for a modest bounce from here," Edward Meir, metals analyst at INTL FC Stone, wrote in his daily commentary.

U.S. crude oil's front-month contract settled up $2.99, or nearly 3 percent, at $106.52 a barrel. It had surged to a 16-month high of $106.66 earlier.

The rally in oil came after data showing U.S. crude inventories plunging about 10 million barrels for a second week in a row, highlighting the unexpectedly rapid tightening of the market after three years of pent-up supply due to a dramatic resurgence in domestic production.

London's Brent crude closed up 70 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $108.51 a barrel.

Gold and copper ended in positive territory after minutes from the Federal Reserve's June meeting showed many officials wanting more reassurance that the job market was on solid ground before withdrawing the central bank's economic stimulus.

The spot price of bullion was up half a percent late afternoon in New York, hovering at around $1,251 an ounce, after rising as much as 1 percent earlier.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange, untraded at the close, was bid at $6,825 per tonne, up from $6,730 at the close on Tuesday.

Copper was partly bolstered by hopes the People's Bank of China might resort to monetary easing or other stimulus measures to lift the country's economy after data showing a drop in Chinese exports in June. China is the No. 1 copper consumer, accounting for as much as 40 percent of global refined demand. (Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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