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COMMODITIES-Broad losses as 2nd quarter opens; corn, copper tumble
April 1, 2013 / 10:20 PM / 5 years ago

COMMODITIES-Broad losses as 2nd quarter opens; corn, copper tumble

* US, China factory data; weaker supply-demand disappoints
    * Cyprus bailout still a threat as Europe closed for Easter
    * Caution too before ECB meeting, US jobs data
    * Dollar down versus euro, US stocks retreat from record

 (Updates with markets close)
    By Barani Krishnan
    NEW YORK, April 1 (Reuters) - Grains and metals markets
extended their tumble into the second quarter, with corn and
copper hitting nine-month lows on Monday amid weaker
supply-demand fundamentals and disappointing U.S. and Chinese
manufacturing data.
    Oil prices recovered by the close, but remained vulnerable
as traders braced for more fallout from Cyprus' banking bailout
and the impact that could have on the broader euro zone when
European markets reopen on Tuesday from the Easter break.
    Caution also prevailed before the European Central Bank's
monetary policy review on Thursday and monthly U.S. payroll data
on Friday. U.S. stocks fell as the S&P 500 retreated from record
closing highs of the previous session. The dollar slipped
against other major currencies. .
    The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index ended down
0.6 percent after 12 of the 19 markets tracked by the
commodities bellwether slipped into negative territory.
    The broad decline came after The Institute for Supply
Management's reading of 51.3 for U.S. manufacturing in March
fell short of analysts' average forecast of 54.2.
    In China, the official purchasing managers index for March
was 50.9, the highest in 11 months, although a Reuters poll
showed economists expected a rise to 52.0 from February's
five-month low of 50.1. 
    China's factory data "came in below market expectations,
which could indicate oil demand growth may not expand quite as
quickly as we would like it to", said Carl Larry, president of
the Houston-based Oil Outlooks and Opinion.
    London's benchmark Brent crude finished up $1.06
cents at $111.08 a barrel, after a 1 percent drop in the first
quarter which ended Thursday. Its peak for the session was
$111.33, which marked a high since March 7.
    U.S. crude settled down 16 cents at $97.07 a barrel,
swinging between a six-week high of $97.80 and an intraday low
of $95.92 during the session. It had gained nearly 6 percent in
the January-March period. 
    On the grains front, corn futures in Chicago dropped to a
nine-month low, extending its biggest two-day slide since
January 2009, as larger-than-expected U.S. stockpiles heaped
pressure on the market.
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture surprised grains markets
on Thursday by pegging corn stocks at 5.399 billion bushels as
of March 1, above the average analyst estimate of 5.013 billion
bushels. The USDA also said farmers would plant the highest corn
acreage since 1936.    
    The front-month corn contract on the Chicago Board of Trade
corn closed down 53 cents, or 7.6 percent, at $6.42-1/2 a
bushel, the lowest nearby price since late June. It had fallen
nearly 13 percent over the past two sessions, the biggest
two-day drop since 1996.
    Wheat also hit a 9-month low, weighed down by corn.
Wheat had posted the biggest fall among U.S. commodities for the
first quarter, falling nearly 12 percent. CBOT soybeans 
fell to a 2-1/2-month low. 
    Investment bank Goldman Sachs added to the bearish mood in
grains by lowering its price forecasts for corn, soybeans and
wheat, citing the larger than expected stocks, trade sources
said. Goldman lowered its three-month price forecast for CBOT
corn to $6.50 per bushel from $7.50 previously. 
    For soybeans, Goldman lowered its three-month price forecast
to $13.50 a bushel from $14 and cut its wheat's outlook to $6.50
from $7.80.
    In metals, the most-active copper futures contract in
Shanghai fell more than 2 percent to 53,600 yuan
($8,600) a tonne, its lowest in more than nine months, pressured
by a weak euro and new measures to douse China's red hot
property sector. 
    In New York, U.S. copper's most-active contract, May,
settled down 0.8 percent at $3.3745 a lb.
 Prices at 5:07 p.m. EST (2107 GMT)      
                             LAST/      NET    PCT     YTD
                             CLOSE      CHG    CHG     CHG
 US crude                    96.96    -0.27  -0.3%    5.6%
 Brent crude                111.00     0.98   0.9%   -0.1%
 Natural gas                 4.015   -0.009  -0.2%   19.8%
 US gold                   1600.00     5.20   0.3%   -4.5%
 Gold                      1598.79     2.62   0.2%   -4.5%
 US Copper                  337.45    -2.75  -0.8%   -7.6%
 LME Copper                7540.00     0.00   0.0%   -4.9%
 Dollar                     82.756   -0.466  -0.6%    7.8%
 US corn                    642.25   -53.00  -7.6%   -8.0%
 US soybeans               1390.75   -14.00  -1.0%   -2.0%
 US wheat                   664.00   -23.75  -3.5%  -14.7%
 US Coffee                  138.40     1.25   0.9%   -3.8%
 US Cocoa                  2184.00    14.00   0.6%   -2.3%
 US Sugar                    17.69     0.03   0.2%   -9.3%
 US silver                  27.944   -0.379  -1.3%   -7.6%
 US platinum               1596.40    25.20   1.6%    3.7%
 US palladium               783.95    15.70   2.0%   11.5%
 (Editing by Andrew Hay and Andre Grenon)

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