April 5, 2012 / 8:17 PM / 6 years ago

COMMODITIES-Oil, gold rebound as key jobs, trade data loom

* Commodities recover after Fed-induced selloff
    * Investors cautious ahead of holidays, key data
    * US payrolls on Fri; USDA, China trade data on Tues

    NEW YORK, April 5 (Reuters) - Oil and gold prices rebounded
from multi-week lows in subdued trade o n T hursday, as traders
focused on new signs of a U.S. economic recovery and mounting
concerns over Iran's oil exports.	
    Two days after many commodity markets shuddered at the
prospect of the Federal Reserve winding down years of stimulus,
prices regained their footing. U.S. trading activity was 25
percent or more below average as many dealers pulled to the
sidelines ahead of Easter market holidays.	
    The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index 
rose 0.5 percent after two days of losses. It shed 0.6 percent
for the week, taking its six-week losses to 6 percent.	
    Prices rose following weekly data showing a fall in U.S.
jobless claims to a near four-year low. Oil drew additional
support from new reports suggesting U.S. and European sanctions
may curtail even more of Iran's shipments than expected.	
    But many investors appeared hesitant to take on big
positions ahead of monthly nonfarm payrolls data on Friday,
which is expected to show the U.S. economy added 203,000 jobs
last month-- the longest stretch of monthly employment gains
topping 200,000 since 1999. 	
    "Geopolitical and supply risk worries are pushing oil prices
higher ahead of a three-day holiday weekend," said Gene
McGillian, analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.	
    Because U.S. markets will be shut on Friday, while European
exchanges are also shut Monday, it may be several days before
traders get an opportunity to react to the jobs data.	
    Bullion rose $11 or 0.7 percent to $1,630.60 an ounce,
rebounding from its biggest two-day drop in a month after a test
of key technical resistance at $1,600, where investors had
placed heavy put options to protect against further losses.	
    Commodity traders were also looking ahead to next Tuesday's
release of monthly Chinese trade data, expected to show arrivals
of refined copper rose further, potentially boosting prices that
rallied earlier this week to within 1 percent of its 2012 peaks.	
    London Metal Exchange (LME) three-month copper 
closed up $11 at $8,361 a tonne on Thursday. In New York, the
COMEX May contract firmed 0.50 cent to settle at $3.7955
per lb, after dealing between $3.7745 and $3.8270.	
    "Markets are pausing to digest this week's sell-off," said
Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital.	
    "We're data-dependent. Tomorrow's jobs report and China's
trade figures next week are either going to define growth or lay
a more cautious element to the global recovery."	
    Oil rose after two straight days of losses, spurred both by
the dimming outlook for further Fed stimulus as well as data on
Wednesday showing that total U.S. crude oil inventories jumped
by more than 16 million barrels over the past two weeks, the
biggest increase since March 2001.	
    Despite signs of improving supply, traders remained anxious
over the prospect of falling shipments from Iran. A major
Chinese ship insurer will halt indemnity coverage for tankers
carrying Iranian oil, a move that could complicate exports after
a European Union embargo takes effect on July 1..	
    And analysts at JP Morgan said in a research note that the
country's output could fall by 1 million barrels per day by the
end of June as refiners quit buying.	
    U.S. May crude settled at $103.31 a barrel, gaining
$1.84, after setting a session high at $103.40. For the week,
the contract rose 29 cents, ending three successive weeks of
losses. ICE Brent crude for May delivery rose $1.09 top
$123.43 a barrel, gaining 0.5 percent for the week.	
    In Chicago, U.S. soybean futures climbed to a seven-month
high, buoyed by good export demand due to a drought-damaged
South American crop and short-covering ahead of the holiday,
while strong weekly export sales data underpinned corn.	
    Chicago Board of Trade May soybeans gained 14-1/2
cents, or 1 percent, to settle at $14.34 a bushel, securing a
second consecutive weekly gain. CBOT May corn rose 1-1/2
cents to $6.58-1/4 per bushel, up 0.2 percent on the day.	
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture will update its monthly
world supply and demand estimates and ending stocks forecasts
next Tuesday.   	
 Prices at 3:49 p.m. EST (1949 GMT)      
                             LAST/      NET    PCT     YTD
                             CLOSE      CHG    CHG     CHG
 US crude                   103.29     1.82   1.8%    4.5%
 Brent crude                123.42     1.08   0.9%   14.9%
 Natural gas                 2.089   -0.052  -2.4%  -30.1%
 US gold                   1630.10    16.00   1.0%    4.0%
 Gold                      1630.50    11.14   0.7%    4.3%
 US Copper                  379.55     0.50   0.1%   10.5%
 Dollar                     80.066    0.288   0.4%   -0.1%
 CRB                       306.490    1.530   0.5%    0.4%
 US corn                    658.25     1.50   0.2%    1.8%
 US soybeans               1434.00    14.50   1.0%   19.6%
 US wheat                   638.50    -0.75  -0.1%   -2.2%
 US Coffee                  183.00    -1.75  -0.9%  -19.8%
 US Cocoa                  2085.00     2.00   0.1%   -1.1%
 US Sugar                    24.58     0.16   0.7%    5.8%
 US silver                  31.730    0.686   2.2%   13.7%
 US platinum               1607.60     9.00   0.6%   14.4%
 US palladium               644.80    12.05   1.9%   -1.7%
 (Editing by David Gregorio)

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