COMMODITIES-Copper, gold lead broad rally on dovish Fed signals
* Gold, copper hit multi-week highs; oil at multi-month top
* Bernanke says Fed will keep accommodative policy for now
* Shanghai copper, rubber limit up
SINGAPORE, July 11 (Reuters) - Commodities surged across the board on Thursday, led by gains in copper and gold, as signals from the Federal Reserve that it may maintain its economic stimulus longer than previously expected revived the appetite for riskier assets.
Gold and copper prices jumped about 3 percent to their best in weeks, while oil hit multi-month highs and rubber climbed 5 percent after minutes from the Fed's June meeting showed many among the policymakers wanted more signs the U.S. job market was improving before cutting bond purchases.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said separately that the U.S. central bank would continue to pursue an accommodative monetary policy given tame inflation and a fragile labour market, pressuring the dollar and making commodities priced in the greenback cheaper for holders of other currencies.
"The Fed minutes stabilised markets, then we really took off when Bernanke spoke - he sounded more dovish than the minutes," said INTL FC Stone analyst Ed Meir.
"It's swinging the pendulum from an imminent cessation of easing to one where we're not sure if he's going to pull the trigger in September."
Gold led the rally early in Asia as investors bought back the precious metal which has been hammered by fears the Fed would soon cut back on its monthly $85-billion bond purchases. Gold's price peaks in recent years had been driven by the easy U.S. monetary policy as investors hedged against inflation.
Spot gold climbed 2.7 percent to peak at $1,298.36 an ounce, a 2-1/2-week high, before cutting gains to $1,284.61 by 0715 GMT, still up 1.7 percent.
Spot silver rose nearly 5 percent to $20.26 an ounce, while platinum and palladium also scaled higher.
U.S. gold futures gained 4 percent and silver futures rose as much as 5.7 percent.
With physical demand in top gold markets India and China remaining subdued, analysts were sceptical about the current upward momentum being sustained.
"We are likely to see a short-term rally in gold up to around $1,400 and then a fall back to current levels," said Amber MacKinnon, an analyst at Nomura Securities in Sydney.
OIL EXTENDS GAINS
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange rose 3.3 percent to $7,049.25 a tonne, its highest since June 18. Benchmark copper on the Shanghai Futures Exchange climbed by its 5 percent daily limit to 50,790 yuan ($8,300) per tonne.
Price increases in oil were far more subdued, although Brent and U.S. crude futures managed to hit new multi-month highs, stretching recent gains.
Front-month Brent crude rose 34 cents to $108.85 a barrel, its highest since April 3. U.S. crude peaked at $107.45, its loftiest since late March 2012.
West Texas Intermediate crude jumped nearly 3 percent in the previous session, its biggest daily rise since early May, after data showed the biggest two-week drop on record in U.S. crude stockpiles, pointing to strong demand in the top oil consumer.
Brent's premium to U.S. crude <CL-LCO1=R> narrowed to $1.32 at one stage, the smallest since November 2010.
Data from the Energy Information Administration showed U.S. oil stocks fell about 10 million barrels for a second consecutive week, with refinery demand at its strongest in six years.
"We are finally seeing oil demand catch up with the economic recovery in the U.S., this is putting upward momentum on oil prices," said Carl Larry, president of Houston-based consultancy Oil Outlooks and Opinions LLC.
Rubber futures in Shanghai and in Tokyo soared by 5 percent, with Shanghai prices hitting their upside limit, also aided by strong gains in Chinese equities on hopes Beijing may launch stimulus measures to boost slowing growth.
($1 = 6.1341 Chinese yuan)
(Editing by Ed Davies)