COMMODITIES-Oil, gold down after weak China data, strong dollar
NEW YORK, July 24 (Reuters) - Crude prices slumped on Wednesday after weak data from China renewed concerns about demand growth in the No. 2 oil consumer, and gold fell too as the dollar rose and funds exited from bullion amid continued the U.S. and European recoveries.
Copper bucked the trend, closing up for a fifth day in a row, although gains were minimal due to worries about the growth in China -- which is also the world's largest metals buyer.
On the agricultural side, soybeans and soymeal dropped their daily limits in Chicago trading as cash bids for the two commodities collapsed across the Midwest. Farmers added to the selloff by dumping some of their scarce old-crop soybeans to take advantage of nearby prices, which were higher than those for the next crop.
In other crop markets, premium grade arabica coffee dropped the most in a month on easing worries about frost damage to Brazil's coffee. Raw sugar also fell as a Brazil crop report showed production speeding up in early July in the top sugar growing nation.
The broad slide across the different commodity markets took the Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a key sector gauge, down more than 1.1 percent.
Crude prices fell after data showed that activity in China's manufacturing sector slowed to an 11-month low in July, with faltering new orders pointing to weaker economic growth in the key oil consumer.
The spread between U.S. crude and oil's international benchmark, Brent, swung wildly for a second straight session, narrowing to as little as 56 cents a barrel before settling at $1.80.
U.S. crude lost $1.84 to settle at $105.39. Brent closed down $1.23 at $107.19.
The spot price of gold was down 2.1 percent to $1,319.24 an ounce by 3:29 p.m. EDT (1929 GMT), after earlier hitting $1,347.69 an ounce, its highest since June 20.
Bullion fell even as leading Wall Street investment bank Goldman Sachs stuck to its average forecast of $1,413 for an ounce of gold in 2013, citing the improbability of any sharp reductions in U.S. Federal Reserve stimulus this year that could really sink gold.
In soybean futures, the most-active August contract on the Chicago Board of Trade fell 4.8 percent, or the 70-cent daily limit, to $13.92-1/2 a bushel. The contract has lost 8.8 percent since hitting a 10-month high early on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Barani Krishnan; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)