* Thin gains in most markets, investors await positive news
* Oil prices slip about 1 percent, down for a third day
* Gasoline falls more than any commodity on inventory jump
* Gold back at one-month low, cocoa extends Tuesday loss
By Barani Krishnan
NEW YORK, Dec 5 Oil prices fell again on
Wednesday as a sluggish global economy has traders worried about
demand, but most other commodities had slight gains as investors
awaited progress on U.S. budget talks or other news that could
bring vigor back to the markets.
Oil prices closed down about 1 percent for a third day of
losses after data showed larger-than-expected increases last
week in stockpiles of refined products in the United States, the
top energy consuming nation. Gasoline prices fell more than
crude oil prices because of a spike in petroleum inventories.
Gold surrendered early gains to fall back to a
one-month low, pressured by technical selling and a stronger
Cocoa fell about 1 percent, extending Tuesday's 3
COPPER HOLDS ITS OWN
Copper remained above the fray, bucking the generally weak
trend in commodities over the last week on renewed economic
prospects in China, the biggest market for industrial metals.
The leading base metal was up for a fourth consecutive day
running, gaining a total of 7 percent from a Nov. 9 low of
$7,506 a tonne in London.
Copper's latest run-up was supported by comments from
China's Communist Party chief Xi Jinping that Beijing would
fine-tune economic policies next year to ensure stable economic
The selloff in other commodities at one point or another
over the past week was mainly due to worries over sticky U.S.
budget negotiations which, if unresolved by the end of the year,
could bring on $600 billion in spending cuts and tax hikes that
could derail the economic recovery.
The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index
rose by nearly a quarter percent, with 15 of the 19
markets it tracks finishing in positive territory. Copper aside,
markets with substantial gains included natural gas,
which rose 4 percent, and soybeans, which climbed 1.6
OIL, GASOLINE HIT BY EIA DATA
Oil's benchmark Brent crude in London slipped below
$109 a barrel, ending down nearly 1 percent at $108.81.
The market surpassed $110 a barrel early before falling in
reaction to higher U.S. refined oil stockpiles, weak euro zone
retail data and a bearish preliminary report on U.S. jobs data
"There was some hopeful data from the U.S. last week and
positive noise from China (this week), but Europe's a big
worry," said Richard Langkemper, an analyst at Argos North Sea
Group in Rotterdam.
The volume of retail trade in the 17-member euro zone fell
1.2 percent in October from September, the biggest drop since
Oil inventory data reported by the Energy Information
Administration was also a major drag on the market, with
gasoline stockpiles swelling by their most in a week since
September 2001 due to higher-than-expected refinery output.
Gasoline fell 1.8 percent, leading the CRB's loss.
"The (EIA) report (on gasoline) is solidly bearish and a
welcomed development for consumers," said John Kilduff, partner
at Again Capital in New York.
Prices at 4:33 p.m. EST (2133 GMT)
LAST/ NET PCT YTD
CLOSE CHG CHG CHG
US crude 87.79 -0.71 -0.8% -11.2%
Brent crude 108.71 -1.13 -1.0% 1.2%
Natural gas 3.700 0.161 4.5% 23.8%
US gold 1692.40 -2.00 -0.1% 8.0%
Gold 1693.34 -3.40 -0.2% 8.3%
US Copper 366.70 3.35 0.9% 6.7%
LME Copper 8075.00 43.00 0.5% 6.3%
Dollar 79.811 0.164 0.2% -0.5%
US corn 753.25 6.75 0.9% 16.5%
US soybeans 1479.25 23.75 1.6% 23.4%
US wheat 842.25 3.75 0.5% 29.0%
US Coffee 139.60 2.25 1.6% -38.8%
US Cocoa 2460.00 -31.00 -1.2% 16.6%
US Sugar 19.57 0.13 0.7% -15.8%
US silver 32.883 0.149 0.5% 17.8%
US platinum 1582.70 1.30 0.1% 12.7%
US palladium 685.95 4.85 0.7% 4.5%