COMMODITIES-Fed doubts about stimulus pressure gold, oil
* Gold down after some Fed policymakes suggest QE to end soon
* Oil, industrial metals under pressure from economic worries
* Soybeans down for 3rd session as China canceled orders
* Coming up: U.S. Dec. nonfarm payrolls Friday
NEW YORK, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Commodities prices on Thursday surrendered some of the previous session's gains, hit by signs that Federal Reserve officials are increasingly concerned about the potential risks of its asset purchases on financial markets. After the release of the Fed December policy meeting minutes showing a reticence about further increases in the central bank's $2.9 trillion balance sheet, gold and silver got hammered. Crude oil prices also fell after the Fed minutes showed several officials thought it would be appropriate to slow or stop asset purchases before year end. "With the news that some policymakers suggested that the Fed could withdraw QE before the end of year, that put a dent on one of the underpinnings on gold, which is expansionary monetary policy," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist of Janney Montgomery Scott, a broker-dealer which manages $54 billion in assets. Spot gold was down 1.4 percent at $1,663.39 by 3:59 p.m. EST (2059 GMT), while U.S. COMEX gold futures for February delivery settled down $14.20 an ounce at $1,674.60. Silver tumbled nearly 3 percent. The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, which tracks 19 commodities, gave up most of its gains from Wednesday.
BASE METALS, OIL BROADLY DOWN Industrial metals trading on the London Metal Exchange ended lower across the board, with aluminium futures closed at $2,116, down 2 percent from $2,160, while zinc and lead prices also finished down. Copper fell from an 11-week high reached on Wednesday. The metal's futures in London closed at $8,154 a tonne, down slightly from $8,210. U.S. COMEX copper futures for March delivery fell further after the Fed minutes, down more than 1 percent. Oil prices also slipped from 11-week highs. Brent crude settled 33 cents lower at $112.14 a barrel. U.S. crude fell 20 cents to settle at $92.92 a barrel, erasing smaller gains from earlier in the day after the Fed minutes were released.
CANCELED ORDER PRESSURES SOYBEAN U.S. soybean prices fell for the third consecutive trading session, extending losses after China, the world's biggest soy importer, canceled orders for U.S. soy and on expectations for bumper crops in South America. "We're about two weeks away from the start of probably a record Brazilian soybean harvest, that and China canceling beans took soybeans down," said Art Liming, futures specialist for Citigroup. Private exporters reported the cancellation of 315,000 tonnes of soybeans sold to China for delivery this marketing year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. Chicago Board Of Trade March soybeans were down 5-3/4 cents per bushel at $13.86-1/2, March wheat was up 1/4 at $7.55-1/2 and March corn was down 1-1/2 at $6.89-1/4. In soft commodities, raw sugar futures on ICE Futures U.S. fell more than 3 percent and arabica coffee turned lower after hitting a seven-week high as commodities came under pressure with the dollar rising on concerns about looming U.S. political battles over the budget. March raw sugar futures on ICE dropped 3.2 percent to finish at 19.06 cents per lb, having earlier dropped 4.1 percent to a session low of 18.89 cents.
Prices at 3:59 p.m. EST (2059 GMT)
LAST NET PCT CHG CHG US crude 92.67 -0.45 -0.5% Brent crude 111.80 -0.67 -0.6% Natural gas 3.190 -0.044 -1.4%US gold 1664.30 -24.50 -1.5% Gold 1663.39 -22.96 -1.4% US Copper 369.15 -4.45 -1.2% LME Copper 8163.85 -45.15 -0.6% Dollar 80.435 0.590 0.7%US corn 688.25 -2.50 -0.4% US soybeans 1403.25 -2.50 -0.2% US wheat 756.00 0.75 0.1%US Coffee 145.85 -3.55 -2.4% US Cocoa 2264.00 5.00 0.2% US Sugar 19.06 -0.63 -3.2%US silver 30.145 -0.862 -2.8% US platinum 1576.70 11.60 0.7% US palladium 692.05 -15.90 -2.3%