COMMODITIES-Gold, copper at 1-month highs; US crude drops
NEW YORK, July 22 (Reuters) - Gold jumped to one-month highs on Monday as a rise above $1,300 an ounce prompted more buying by speculators covering bearish bets, while copper and many agricultural commodities rallied too. U.S. crude oil fell, limiting gains on a benchmark commodities index. Soybean meal futures soared the daily trading limit on the Chicago Board of Trade, reaching a contract high. Arabica coffee and raw sugar rose as well in New York after cold weather and rains in Brazil prompted short covering in markets that touched multi-year lows over the past month on expectations of big supplies. A softer U.S. dollar boosted metals and crop futures. The dollar fell against the yen for the first time in four sessions after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe won a widely-expected victory in elections in parliament's upper house. Even so, the 19-commodity Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index settled flat as the drop in U.S. crude oil offset gains in other markets. U.S. crude, which dominates the CRB with a 23 percent weighting, slid sharply from last week's 16-month high that had briefly lifted its price above that of global oil benchmark Brent for the first time in nearly three years. U.S. crude settled at $106.91 a barrel, down $1.14 or just over 1 percent. Brent finished up 8 cents at $108.15 a barrel. The spot price of gold surged nearly 3 percent as a technical breakout above $1,300 an ounce triggered a rush by funds and speculators to cover short positions. Gold is on track to post its biggest three-day rally in more than a year, partly boosted by heavy short-covering. Spot silver also rallied, surging around 6 percent to above $20.50 an ounce. Copper rose for a third day to its highest level in over a month, boosted by higher Chinese copper imports, Beijing's move to lift controls on lending rates and a weaker dollar. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was last bid at $7,029 a tonne, up 1.6 percent from Friday's close. Earlier in the session, the metal, used in power and construction, hit its highest since June 18 at $7,053. No. 1 metals buyer China boosted refined copper imports by 11 percent in June from a year ago to 277,696 tonnes, recovering from May's 23 percent drop.
Prices at 4:51 p.m. EDT (2051 GMT)
LAST/ NET PCT YTD CLOSE CHG CHG CHG US crude 106.71 -1.14 -1.1% 16.2% Brent crude 108.18 0.11 0.1% -2.6% Natural gas 3.677 -0.112 -3.0% 9.7% US gold 1336.00 43.10 3.3% -20.3% Gold 1335.16 39.42 3.0% -20.3% US Copper 3.19 0.04 1.3% -12.7% LME Copper 7029.00 114.00 1.6% -11.4% Dollar 82.217 -0.390 -0.5% 7.1% CRB 291.035 0.112 0.0% -1.3% US corn 540.75 -3.25 -0.6% -22.6% US soybeans 1520.25 29.50 2.0% 7.2% US wheat 659.75 -4.75 -0.7% -15.2% US Coffee 125.30 2.60 2.1% -12.9% US Cocoa 2348.00 -16.00 -0.7% 5.0% US Sugar 16.40 0.11 0.7% -15.9% US silver 20.509 20.314 1.6% -32.2% US platinum 1448.00 16.80 0.0% -5.9% US palladium 750.45 0.70 0.1% 6.7%
(Reporting by Barani Krishnan; Editing by David Gregorio)