March 20, 2012 / 8:32 PM / 5 years ago

COMMODITIES-Down broadly; oil tumbles on Saudi supply pledge

* US crude down over 2 pct as Saudis assure supply
    * Gold, copper also slide, pressured by stronger dollar
    * Corn pulls ags down with 2.4 pct drop; juice off 4 pct

 (Recasts and updates throughout with markets' close)	
    By Barani Krishnan	
    NEW YORK, March 20 (Reuters) - Oil tumbled on Tuesday, with
U.S. crude posting the biggest daily decline in three months,
after Saudi Arabia reassured markets it will pump enough to
compensate for the potential loss of Iranian crude. Gold and
other commodities also fell as the dollar rebounded.	
    The dollar gained against the euro and other major
currencies as concerns about China's growth sent
investors scurrying to the safety of the greenback.
Copper prices slid too, pressured by the dollar.	
    The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index 
settled down 1.2 percent -- its most in two weeks -- as the
bearish trend extended to a number of agricultural markets.	
    Cocoa bucked the trend, jumping 3.6 percent in New York
trade due to disappointing crop quality in top grower Ivory
Coast. It was the only commodity in the CRB index that rose for
the day.  	
    Aside from crude oil, the markets that weighed most on the
CRB included niche commodities such as orange juice and silver.
Juice prices fell 4 percent while those of silver dropped 3
percent. Corn was another big loser on the agricultural side,
sliding more than 2 percent. (CRB graphic link.reuters.com/naw27s)	
    Crude prices fell after Saudi Arabia reaffirmed its
commitment to increase exports to meet the loss of any of
shipments from Tehran, and also work to return prices to fair
levels.	
    U.S. crude settled down 2.2 percent, or $2.48 at
$105.61 a barrel.	
    Brent oil in London closed down 1.3, or $1.59 at
$124.12 per barrel.	
    Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told a media
briefing in Qatar that his kingdom was pumping 9.9 million
barrels per day, the highest level in decades.	
    The production could be cranked up to a maximum of 12.5
million bpd, Naimi said, although supply was outpacing demand by
more than 1.0 million bpd now.	
     "I want to assure you that there is no shortage of supply
in the market," Naimi said. "We are ready and willing to put
more oil on the market, but you need a buyer." 	
    Supply concerns over oil also eased after the ruler of
Kuwait said Iran officials had assured him that Tehran would not
close the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation against Western
sanctions on Iranian oil. Some 35 percent of global crude
sea-borne shipments pass through the strait. 
 	
    Gold fell for the first time in four days, hampered by the
strength in the dollar. 	
    Adding to the negative mood in gold was a sharp rise in
benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yields, which have
gained more than a third of a percentage point in less than a
week, while holdings of the metals in exchange-traded products
staged their largest one-day drop since late January.	
    "Gold is looking for support and buyers and so far probably
has not found either," said Ole Hansen, senior manager at
Denmark's Saxo Bank.	
    The spot price of gold, which tracks trades in bullion
, fell nearly 1 percent to hover below $1,650 an ounce. It
had gained 1.2 percent in three previous sessions. 	
    Copper prices fell 1.6 percent, the sharpest drop in two
weeks, reacting to the firmer U.S. currency and concerns raised
by BHP Billiton, the world's biggest miner, about the
possibility of a sharp slowdown in iron ore demand from top
metals consumer China.	
    Benchmark three-month copper in London closed down
$140 at $8,430 per tonne after touching a two-week low of
$8,383. 	
    U.S. corn prices fell 2.4 percent as favorable crop weather
and technical charts pointed to a sell after the markets' s
run-up to 4-month highs. Soybeans and wheat prices also slid as
funds liquidated long positions in both markets.	
    Chicago-traded corn for delivery in May ended down 16
cents at $6.47-1/2 per bushel, its biggest since early January.
   	
 Prices at 4:01 p.m. EDT (2001 GMT)      
                             LAST/      NET    PCT     YTD
                             CLOSE      CHG    CHG     CHG
 US crude                   105.68    -2.48  -2.3%    6.9%
 Brent crude                124.20    -1.51  -1.2%   15.7%
 Natural gas                 2.335   -0.016  -0.7%  -21.9%
 
 US gold                   1647.00   -20.30  -1.2%    5.1%
 Gold                      1648.70   -11.71  -0.7%    5.4%
 US Copper                  383.05    -7.85  -2.0%   11.5%
                          #VALUE!
 Dollar                     79.628    0.177   0.2%   -0.7%
 CRB                       315.530   -3.890  -1.2%    3.4%
 
 US corn                    647.50   -16.00  -2.4%    0.2%
 US soybeans               1345.00   -21.50  -1.6%   12.2%
 US wheat                   642.50    -9.75  -1.5%   -1.6%
 
 US Coffee                  183.60     0.10   0.1%  -19.5%
 US Cocoa                  2372.00    83.00   3.6%   12.5%
 US Sugar                    25.61    -0.05  -0.2%   10.2%
 
 US silver                  31.834   -1.121  -3.4%   14.0%
 US platinum               1654.30   -30.40  -1.8%   17.8%
 US palladium               697.05   -10.55  -1.5%    6.2%
 	
	
 (Editing by David Gregorio)

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