* Oil, iron ore headed for biggest weekly fall since Nov
* Copper, corn looking at weakest week since Aug
* Coming up: U.S. nonfarm payrolls at 1330 GMT
By Manolo Serapio Jr
MANILA, March 10 Global commodities from oil to
metals and grains were on course to post their steepest weekly
declines in months on Friday as the recent rallies in the asset
class showed signs of fatigue, pressured by a glut and tepid
demand from top consumer China.
Gold, which investors typically run to when they flee risky
assets, was not spared from this week's selloff as the metal
dropped below the critical $1,200 an ounce support amid a
looming U.S. interest rate hike.
The Thomson Reuters CRB index, a measure of 19
commodities, is headed for its biggest weekly fall since
China's decision on Sunday to cut its economic growth target
this year to around 6.5 percent "came across as slightly
negative for commodities," said Vishnu Varathan, senior
economist at Mizuho Bank.
"But the underlying tone there is there should be some
support on the way down because China hasn't really relinquished
its desire for growth stability either," said Varathan.
"Commodities might take a step back, a bit of a breather
from the rally last year, but the hopes are tilted to the
With little pull from China, the market focus shifted back
to the surplus of raw materials, dragging down commodities after
last year's recovery.
U.S. crude oil, which fell below $50 a barrel on
Thursday for the first time since mid-December, has lost nearly
7 percent so far this week, the most since November. It was up
0.8 percent at $49.68 by 0916 GMT.
Brent crude, last up 0.7 percent at $52.55 a barrel,
has fallen 6 percent for the week, also the biggest since
"Steep price falls in the last two days amid building U.S.
inventories show that the market remains concerned about the
supply-demand balance," NAB Group Economics said in a note.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange,
trading near a two-month low at $5,707 a tonne, has declined 3.5
percent this week, heading for its largest such drop since
Stocks at LME warehouses have risen to the highest since
December amid worries over Asian demand. MCUSTX-TOTAL
Iron ore, at a one-month trough below $87 a tonne
.IO62-CNO=MB, was headed for its worst week since
mid-November, amid a growing mountain of stocks at Chinese ports
- the highest since at least 2004 at around 130 million tonnes.
Iron ore rallied with steel this year despite rising port
stocks. But as steel prices pulled back, concerns emerged over
the expanding inventory of the steelmaking ingredient that could
In agriculture, Chicago soybean futures were poised
for their biggest weekly loss since December on forecasts for a
record Brazilian crop and corn was eyeing its biggest
weekly decline since August.
A stronger dollar pulled down spot gold to its weakest
since Jan. 31 ahead of key U.S. jobs data that may reinforce
expectations for a rate increase next week when Federal Reserve
The precious metal has dropped 3 percent this week, the most
"Gold will be under pressure going into the FOMC meeting and
hover around the $1,185-$1,190 level," said Ronald Leung, chief
dealer at Lee Cheong Gold Dealers in Hong Kong.
(Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Christian