COMMODITIES-Gold stays above $1300, copper near one-month high
NEW YORK, July 23 (Reuters) - Gold hit a new one-month high and held above $1,300 an ounce on Tuesday, and copper rallied as well on expectations of steady buying from China. In oil, U.S. crude and benchmark Brent from Europe's North Sea rose slightly and almost identically, after volatile trading in their closely-watched spread. On the agricultural front, premium arabica coffee closed higher in New York on calls for frost on the fringes of the coffee belt in top growing nation Brazil. Corn futures in Chicago fell to a more than 2-1/2 year low as forecasts for nearly ideal crop weather buoyed hopes for a record U.S. harvest. The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index settled a touch lower after the rise in U.S. crude - its main component - muted the impact of the losses in corn. Gold moved in a $20 trading range following its 3 percent gain on Monday, when it hit a one-month high. By 4:15 p.m EDT (2015 GMT), the spot price of bullion was up 0.6 percent at above $1,342 an ounce, after rallying earlier to $1,346.11, a new peak since June 20. Part of gold's strength was due to the dollar's drop to a one-month low against the euro on views by some that the Federal Reserve may reduce its U.S. economic stimulus much later this year than thought. The stimulus has been one of the pillars in the gold rally of the past few years. But even with Tuesday's one-month high in bullion, liquidation continued from gold-backed exchange-traded funds, with outflows tracked by Reuters totaling 10 tonnes on Monday. SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold ETF, reported a 1.2 tonne drop in holdings, indicating that not all investors were convinced the rebound in gold prices would hold.
"Given the ongoing ETF outflows, we believe it is still too early to describe this (rebound) as a lasting trend reversal," Commerzbank analysts said in a note. Copper held steady near a one-month peak on expectations of more Chinese buying after local media in the country reported that the government was looking at boosting investment in railway projects to ensure annual economic growth does not dip below 7 percent. China is the largest consumer of copper and other base metals. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange, untraded at the close, was bid at $7,039 a tonne from $7,029 at the close on Monday. Copper on Monday reached its highest level since June 18 at $7,053 a tonne.
Prices at 4:09 p.m. EDT (2009 GMT)
LAST/ NET PCT YTD CLOSE CHG CHG CHG US crude 107.11 0.17 0.2% 16.7% Brent crude 108.45 0.30 0.3% -2.4% Natural gas 3.743 0.066 1.8% 11.7% US gold 1334.70 -1.30 -0.1% -20.4% Gold 1342.91 7.87 0.6% -19.8% US Copper 3.20 0.01 0.3% -12.4% LME Copper 7039.00 10.00 0.1% -11.2% Dollar 81.981 -0.238 -0.3% 6.8% CRB 290.647 -0.388 -0.1% -1.5% US corn 522.50 -18.25 -3.4% -25.2% US soybeans 1462.50 -57.75 -3.8% 3.1% US wheat 653.75 -6.00 -0.9% -16.0% US Coffee 126.10 0.80 0.6% -12.3% US Cocoa 2359.00 11.00 0.5% 5.5% US Sugar 16.34 -0.06 -0.4% -16.2% US silver 20.254 20.049 1.5% -33.0% US platinum 1443.10 -4.90 0.0% -6.2% US palladium 739.45 -11.00 -1.5% 5.1%
(Reporting by Barani Krishnan; Editing by Chris Reese)