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COMMODITIES-Thin trade on US election eve; oil up, copper down

Barani Krishnan
Monday, 5 Nov 2012 | 9:55 PM ET

* Greece funding, China leadership adds to uncertainty

* CRB hits 4-month low on strong dollar, before rebounding

* Oil up 2 pct, recovering from Friday selloff

* Copper hits 2-month bottom, coffee multi-month lows

NEW YORK, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Oil rebounded on Monday from the previous session's sharp loss while metals and crop prices mostly fell as financial markets treaded warily ahead of the U.S. presidential election and amid recovery work on the destruction left by Hurricane Sandy. Uncertainty on whether Greece will get two key votes it needs to secure more funding for its battered economy, and caution over a leadership transition in China also led to choppy trading conditions for commodities. The stronger dollar against the euro was another factor that pulled commodities lower as holders of the euro found it costlier to buy commodities priced in the U.S. currency. The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index settled flat after the 19 commodity markets it tracked ended almost evenly divided between positive and negative territory. The CRB hit a near four-month low during the session as the dollar peaked at a near two-month high against the euro. Gasoline led gains on the CRB, rising by more than 2 percent, while coffee was the biggest loser, slipping nearly 3 percent. Volume was below the 30-day average on many of the markets, with gold, for instance, seeing less than a third of its usual business. ``There will be no sizeable positions until there's clarity,'' said Sean McGillivray, head of asset allocation at Great Pacific Wealth Management, which manages mutual funds in commodities. ``The markets cannot deal with uncertainty.''

POLITICAL UNCERTAINTY Victory in Tuesday's U.S. election for Republican contender Mitt Romney would pave the way for more deregulation and tax cuts, while a second term for President Barack Obama would probably bring bigger public investment in education, research and infrastructure, analysts say. In China, the world's largest buyer of copper and other industrial metals, the central bank's announcement that it would prioritize supporting the economy above other needs affirmed expectations that economic recovery was feeble at its best. The ruling Communist Party is due to install a new leader next week.

And in Greece, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' coalition is being closely watched to see it musters enough support to win a vote on structural reforms on Wednesday and another on Sunday for an austerity budget in 2013.

OIL REBOUNDS FROM FRIDAY SLUMP Oil prices rose in volatile trading. London's benchmark Brent crude snapped losses in five earlier sessions to end up $2.05, or 2 percent, at $107.73 a barrel. During the session, it fell to $104.76, the lowest since Aug. 1's low of $104.06. U.S. crude finished up 79 cents, or nearly 1 percent, at $85.65. The near- and long-term effect of Hurricane Sandy on demand for petroleum is still unfolding as the U.S. East Coast's recovery continued after the storm hit the region early last week. Around 1.4 million homes and businesses were still without power on Monday morning, according to the Department of Energy, even as the key New York Harbor oil network neared normal operations and fuel terminals resumed operations after power was restored over the weekend. ``There is some support for oil because of some expectation that the lower prices will prompt some demand,'' said Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

COPPER HITS TWO-MONTHS LOWS Copper prices fell to the lowest levels since September, extending Friday's selloff. Three-month futures for the metal traded in London closed at 7,650 per tonne, versus its previous close of $7,665.50. The metal used in power and construction, fell to as low as $7,596 during the session, marking a new bottom since Sept. 5. ``In the absence of any other stimulus the market is just drifting a bit weaker,'' a copper trader in London said. ``It is a bit oversold down at this sort of numbers but there is no real investment coming into the market right now.''

SOYBEANS DOWN, COFFEE AT MULTI-MONTH LOWS Soybean futures traded in Chicago settled down 1.5 percent at $15.04-1/4 a bushel on forecasts for improving crop weather in South America. Expectations for a boost to official estimates of the U.S. harvest when the U.S. Agriculture Department releases its monthly supply and demand forecast on Friday added to the bearish tone overhanging soy prices. In coffee, London-traded robusta closed down 1.2 percent at $1,952 a tonne, near an eight-month low. Arabica in New York settled down 2.5 percent at $1.5090 per lb at a 4-1/2-month bottom.

Prices at 4:48 p.m. EST (2148 GMT)

LAST/ NET PCT YTD CLOSE CHG CHG CHG US crude 85.78 0.92 1.1% -13.2% Brent crude 108.06 2.38 2.3% 0.6% Natural gas 3.554 0.000 0.0% 18.9%US gold 1683.20 8.00 0.5% 7.4% Gold 1684.41 8.05 0.5% 7.7% US Copper 347.00 -1.15 -0.3% 1.0% LME Copper 7650.00 -15.00 -0.2% 0.7% Dollar 80.737 0.144 0.2% 0.7%US corn 735.50 -4.00 -0.5% 13.8% US soybeans 1504.25 -22.75 -1.5% 25.5% US wheat 866.00 1.50 0.2% 32.7%US Coffee 150.90 -3.80 -2.5% -33.9% US Cocoa 2444.00 -3.00 -0.1% 15.9% US Sugar 19.33 -0.12 -0.6% -16.8%US silver 31.128 0.271 0.9% 11.5% US platinum 1540.70 -2.20 -0.1% 9.7% US palladium 603.00 3.35 0.6% -8.1%