COMMODITIES-Cocoa, coffee rally, helping CRB rise; oil down
NEW YORK, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Cocoa and coffee prices rallied on Wednesday while those of copper and gold steadied from recent declines, helping a broad commodities index settle up for the first time in four days. Prices of crude oil fell on an expected increase in North Sea crude output next month and over worries about how soon the Federal Reserve will end its U.S. economic stimulus. Natural gas and heating oil also closed lower. The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index settled up marginally after losing a total of more than 1 percent in three earlier sessions. Cocoa futures hit multi-month highs on both sides of the Atlantic on worries about dry weather in West African growing countries and on increased estimates for forward sales of the upcoming crop in Ivory Coast. Cocoa's key December contract on U.K.'s Liffe rose 2.2 percent to settle at $1,631 a tonne. It hit a 10-month high of $1,635 during the session. Futures of arabica, the premium grade for coffee, rallied in New York as Brazil's government came in with price support measures to help ease a supply glut. Arabica's key September contract on ICE Futures U.S. rose 2.3 percent to settle at $1.2105 per lb, rebounding firmly from a four-year low of $1.1535 hit last week. Copper rose as the dollar fell. Gains in the metal were limited by worries over the Fed's anticipated stimulus-tapering and ahead of key data from top metals consumer China. Gold recovered from a three-week low, although traders and investors kept a close watch on clues as to when the Fed tapering would begin. In the latest comment from Fed officials, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Sandra Pianalto said the central bank would be prepared to scale back asset purchases if the labor market remains on the stronger path followed since last fall.
Prices at 3:45 p.m. EDT (1945 GMT)
LAST/ NET PCT YTD CLOSE CHG CHG CHG US crude 104.25 -1.05 -1.0% 13.5% Brent crude 107.34 -0.84 -0.8% -3.4% Natural gas 3.247 -0.071 -2.1% -3.1% US gold 1285.30 2.80 0.2% -23.3% Gold 1285.46 4.17 0.3% -23.2% US Copper 3.18 0.01 0.2% -13.0% LME Copper 7006.00 1.00 0.0% -11.7% Dollar 81.276 -0.327 -0.4% 5.9% CRB 281.537 0.167 0.1% -4.6% US corn 468.25 -4.00 -0.9% -32.9% US soybeans 1327.75 3.50 0.3% -6.4% US wheat 643.50 -7.00 -1.1% -17.3% US Coffee 121.05 3.15 2.7% -15.8% US Cocoa 2442.00 68.00 2.9% 9.2% US Sugar 16.78 0.23 1.4% -14.0% US silver 19.508 19.313 1.5% -35.5% US platinum 1438.30 10.50 0.0% -6.5% US palladium 723.15 0.35 0.0% 2.8%