COMMODITIES-Wheat, cocoa tumble on supply; gasoline down too
* Wheat at 1-month low as rain, snow cool heated crops
* Cocoa near 2-wk low on good weather before W.Africa crop
* Gasoline down on lack of fuel outages after US blizzard
NEW YORK, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Most crop prices tumbled on Monday on worries about surplus supply, while gasoline sank after a blizzard in the U.S. Northeast did not produce fuel outages in one of the world's biggest energy markets, as many investors had expected. Prices of wheat sank to a one-month low in Chicago futures trade after rain and snow provided much-need moisture to drought-stricken the U.S. Plains, a major producer of the global staple crop. Cocoa neared a two-week low in New York amid favorable weather before the next mid crop in West Africa, the world's top growing region of the raw material for chocolate. A stronger dollar also made cocoa and other commodities priced in the greenback costlier for holders of other currencies. On the energy front, gasoline fell as dealers unwound trades put in place last week by investors betting that the weekend blizzard in the U.S. Northeast would harm refineries. Although the blizzard brought up to 40 inches (1 meter) of snow and hurricane-force winds that left hundreds of thousands of people without power, it did not crimp fuel supplies.
"The storm just caused demand destruction" for gasoline, said Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. Gasoline fell 3 cents, or 1 percent, to finish at 3.0212 a gallon. In oil, London's benchmark Brent crude settled down 77 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $118.13 a barrel, after slipping to $117.54 in early trade. The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index settled down 0.1 percent, with 12 of the 19 markets tracked by the commodities bellwether ending in negative territory.
SUPPLY FORECAST HURTS WHEAT Wheat was the CRB's second-largest loser in percentage terms, falling 2 percent. The grain's front-month futures contract in Chicago closed down 14-3/4 cents at $7.41-1/2 a bushel. Chicago traded soybean and corn futures also fell, with soy dropping 1.5 percent on continued pressure from the U.S. government's bigger-than-expected forecast for global supplies last week. Corn, dragged down by soybeans and wheat, has fallen for seven straight sessions, shedding 5.2 percent of its value during the losing streak. Soybeans have given up 4.3 percent in their four-session drop. "We have a little bit of a hangover from last week's supply and demand report," said Karl Setzer, a commodity trading adviser and market analyst at MaxYield Cooperative.
COCOA CROP PLENTIFUL Cocoa was the largest loser on the CRB, falling 2.6 percent. Cocoa futures in New York closed down $55, or 2.5 percent, at $2,172 a tonne. Cocoa in London settled down 24 pounds, or 1.7 percent, at 1,423 pounds a tonne. Dealers said pressure came from good supply prospects in West Africa and an anticipated backlog of origin forward sales. Ivory Coast is the world's top cocoa producer. "It emerged that Ivory Coast may have undersold the current 2012/13 crop," said Eric Sivry, head of agri options brokerage at Marex Spectron. "The sheer fact that it was offered, confirmed our suspicions that the current crop is plentiful. Physical traders insisted that the arrivals were healthy."
METALS DOWN TOO Metals prices fell too. Copper fell on Monday, hurt by the Lunar New Year holiday in Asia and renewed political concerns in Europe.The three-month copper in London, untraded at the close, was bid at $8,199 a tonne from $8,295 a tonne at the close on Friday.
Gold fell to a one-month low, hit by technical selling after prices slid through support level at $1,650 an ounce.
Prices at 5:50 p.m. EST (2250 GMT)
LAST/ NET PCT YTD CLOSE CHG CHG CHG US crude 0.00 0.00 0.0% -100.0% Brent crude 118.15 -0.75 -0.6% 6.3% Natural gas 3.279 0.000 0.0% -2.1%US gold 1648.20 -17.80 -1.1% -1.6% Gold 1647.70 0.05 0.0% -1.6% US Copper 372.25 -3.70 -1.0% 1.9% LME Copper 8199.00 -95.00 -1.1% 3.4% Dollar 80.384 0.142 0.2% 4.7%US corn 702.25 -6.75 -1.0% 0.6% US soybeans 1431.50 -21.00 -1.5% 0.9% US wheat 741.50 -14.75 -2.0% -4.7%US Coffee 140.15 -0.90 -0.6% -2.5% US Cocoa 2174.00 -58.00 -2.6% -2.8% US Sugar 18.44 0.30 1.7% -5.5%US silver 30.910 -0.531 -1.7% 2.3%US palladium 758.60 7.10 0.9% 7.9%