* Oil down modestly for the day, up on week and the year
* Gold, copper also down on day but up on the year
* Natgas has biggest year since shale gas revolution of 2007
* Soybeans best performer for 2012; coffee worst
By Barani Krishnan
NEW YORK, Dec 28 Commodities ended broadly lower
in nervous trading on Friday as traders and investors followed
last-ditch attempts by U.S. politicians to resolve a fiscal
crisis before the year-end.
Most markets were on tenterhooks as President Barack Obama
held a meeting at the White House with congressional leaders
from the Democratic and Republican parties to restart stalled
talks on the budget.
The dollar rose, U.S. Treasury yields hit two-week lows and
stocks on Wall Street fell for a fifth straight day as the
president and his political rivals sought to avoid $600 billion
in tax increases and spending cuts that take effect on Jan. 1.
Many economists have warned that failure to reach a deal
will tip the U.S. economy over a "fiscal cliff" and into
Supply-demand factors -- such as the unexpected surge in
U.S. gasoline stockpiles in the world's largest oil consumer --
further weighed on prices.
Fourteen of the 19 markets on the Thomson Reuters-Jefferies
CRB index settled in negative territory -- pushing the
broad commodities gauge down half a percent on the day, although
it rose slightly on the week due to modest gains in recent
Of the few markets that bucked the trend, wheat hit a 2-year
high on soaring U.S. exports of the grain and natural gas ran up
on cold weather forecasts over much of the United States over
the next 10 days.
WASHINGTON SETS TONE
"All eyes are on Washington," said Addison Armstrong, senior
director for market research at Tradition Energy, referring to
the 11th-hour deliberations over fiscal issue.
Oil's benchmark Brent crude in London fell 18 cents
to settle at $110.62 a barrel, after it tested a support below
the 200-day moving average at $109.94.
U.S crude fell 7 cents to $90.80. It dipped below its
100-day moving average after rising as high as $91.49 during the
session, the highest front-month price since October.
Trading in oil remained thin due to the holiday season.
Volume in Brent was 40 percent below the 30-day norm. Activity
in U.S. crude was down by around half.
Weekly data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration
showed U.S. gasoline stocks rose by 3.8 million barrels last
week, capping a five-week build of nearly 23 million barrels.
Demand for the motor fuel is down 2.8 percent from the same
period of 2011. The weekly build in gasoline stocks was larger
than analysts had expected.
SOYBEANS BEST PERFORMER FOR 2012; COFFEE WORST
Despite its weakened positioned now, oil is still headed for
a fourth straight year of gains, although its annual rise itself
-- 3 percent -- is the smallest since the rebound from the 2008
Gold prices fell for the day and week as
traders priced the market lower while awaiting the outcome of
the U.S. budget talks. For the year, gold is up nearly 6
percent, extending its unbeaten run for a 12th year, although
its 2012 gain is one of the slimmest in decade. Gold is also
having its worst quarter since the middle of 2004.
Copper prices fell too in Friday's session, although
signs of a recovering economy in top metals buyer China limited
losses. Copper is poised to finish the year up 4 percent,
rebounding from a 2011 loss.
Natural gas, one of the outperformers in Friday's
market, was headed for a near 12 percent gain on the year, its
best since 2007, just before the revolution in shale gas supply
really took off.
Soybeans, which rose modestly on the day, is set to be
the year's biggest gainer, with a 19 percent annual gain, driven
by the worst U.S. drought in decades that destroyed a huge swath
of the soy crop this summer.
Arabica coffee, by far, is the worst performer of the
year, falling more than 35 percent and headed for a second year
of losses due to concerns over record global production.
Prices at 5:18 p.m. EST (2218 GMT)
LAST/ NET PCT YTD
CLOSE CHG CHG CHG
US crude 90.62 -0.25 -0.3% -8.3%
Brent crude 110.38 -0.42 -0.4% 2.8%
Natural gas 3.469 0.057 1.7% 16.1%
US gold 1655.90 -7.80 -0.5% 5.7%
Gold 1655.29 0.39 0.0% 5.9%
US Copper 358.95 -1.15 -0.3% 4.5%
LME Copper 7887.00 -28.00 -0.4% 3.8%
Dollar 79.679 0.059 0.1% -0.6%
US corn 694.00 2.50 0.4% 7.3%
US soybeans 1424.00 5.25 0.4% 18.8%
US wheat 778.75 6.50 0.8% 19.3%
US Coffee 146.85 -1.05 -0.7% -35.6%
US Cocoa 2249.00 -6.00 -0.3% 6.6%
US Sugar 19.42 -0.03 -0.2% -16.4%
US silver 29.975 -0.265 -0.9% 7.4%
US platinum 1517.40 -14.40 -0.9% 8.0%
US palladium 700.30 -8.20 -1.2% 6.7%