COMMODITIES-Down after post-storm oil supply boost; cocoa jumps
* Foreign oil tankers help ease supply crunch in US Northeast
* Little focus on better-than-expected US jobs data for Oct
* Oil prices lose 2 pct on the day; Brent down 4 pct
* Gold hits 2-month low; copper ends down for 4th week
* Cocoa rallies on Ghana supply squeeze, bucking weak trend
NEW YORK, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Oil prices tumbled on Friday as foreign tankers were allowed to bring fuel from U.S. ports to the Northeast to ease a supply crunch after Hurricane Sandy, and metals and other key commodities fell on worries the devastation from the storm could hamper the economic recovery. The declines wiped out Thursday's gains that came after markets appeared to gain a sense of normalcy following the massive storm earlier this week that killed at least 102 people. Many in the stricken region were still without power, gasoline and information about when their shattered lives might return to normal. Oil prices fell more than 2 percent on the day, with U.S. crude settling below $85 a barrel and London's Brent finishing under $106. Brent, which affects global oil prices more than U.S. crude, fell nearly 4 percent on the week. Gasoline futures in New York also fell more than 2 percent, to below $2.58 per gallon, as oil tankers and pipelines supplying New Jersey and the New York Harbor - the delivery point for the U.S. contract - restored more operations that had been roiled by the hurricane. The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a bellwether for commodities, fell 1.6 percent after 14 of its 19 components settled in negative territory. The selloff came despite a stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs report for October which ordinarily would have sent prices rallying. While oil and gasoline fell over 2 percent, natural gas was the CRB's biggest loser for the day. It tumbled 4 percent on milder weather forecasts for the U.S. Northeast next week that reduced the potential demand for gas as a heating fuel. Oil came under pressure after the U.S. government temporarily waived Jones Act restrictions on tankers carrying fuel from the Gulf Coast refining hub to the hard-hit Northeast, increasing the fleet of ships that would normally be confined to domestic vessels and crews. ``I think economic uncertainty and next week's (U.S.) elections are weighing on oil prices. You also have the statement that the Jones Act is going to be waived for a week, suggesting some supplies are going to return,'' said analyst Gene McGillian at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.
GOLD AT 2-MONTH LOW, COPPER DOWN U.S. gold futures hit a two-month low below $1,700 an ounce and were down almost 2 percent this week, settling at below $1,682 to mark a fourth consecutive weekly decline. Gold has erased all its gains made after the U.S. Federal Reserve announced its latest bond buybacks to boost the job market in September. ``Better-than-expected numbers reduced the risk demand for gold, and a drop below $1,700 an ounce triggered sell-stops and momentum selling,'' said James Steel, metals analyst at HSBC. ``There are also long liquidation ahead of elections triggered by the job number,'' Steel said. Copper prices fell for a fourth consecutive week. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange closed at $7,665.50 a tonne in official rings, down 2 percent from Thursday's close of $7,826 a tonne. Corn and soybeans fell about 2 percent each on Midwest harvest projections that suggested both crops may be larger than previously thought.
COCOA BUCKS LOWER TREND Cocoa bucked the weakness in other commodities, pushing above technical support levels as some exports faced a holdup and purchases slowed in the main West African growing region. New York-traded cocoa futures closed up $27, or 1.1 percent, at $2,447 per tonne, as traders watched the early progress of main crop harvests in West Africa. The market climbed for a second straight day after hitting its 200-day moving average around $2,352. Cocoa purchases in Ghana, the world's second-biggest producer of the crop, stood at 86,028 tonnes by Oct. 19 in the first week of the season, down 42 percent from the same period a year ago, trade data showed on Thursday. The numbers were lower than expected and were helping to underpin the market, traders said.
Prices at 4:30 p.m. EDT (2030 GMT)