COMMODITIES-Copper, cotton up; lower gold, crops halt wider rally
NEW YORK, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Copper hit nine-week highs on Tuesday on signs of tighter-than-expected stockpiles in China, and cotton rallied on supply concerns, but declines in other markets slowed the wider commodities complex after four days of gains. Gold prices slipped 1 percent, weighed down by better U.S. consumer spending data and after top buyer India hiked its import duty on the precious metal to a record 10 percent. Arabica, the premium grade for coffee, fell more than 3 percent in heavy, technically driven selling. Corn slid more than 3 percent, surrendering nearly all of the previous day's gains, as investors shifted their focus from Monday's shockingly low U.S. government corn yield estimate to its forecast for a record-large harvest and plentiful stockpiles next season. The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index settled nearly flat after gaining 2.5 percent over the previous four sessions. Copper rallied on signs of tighter-than-expected inventories in China, although gains were capped by a firm dollar. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange ended up 0.3 percent at $7,275 a tonne. It earlier hit $7,354.75, its highest level since June 7. China may have to increase copper imports in coming months as domestic smelters are forced to cut output due to problems disposing of sulphuric acid, a byproduct of the smelting process, industry sources said. Weak demand for sulphuric acid and the scrap supply shortage could push China's refined copper production down to about 5.2 million tonnes this year from 5.6 million tonnes in 2012, a trading manager at a copper smelter in Gansu province said. The higher copper imports required by China, already the largest buyer of the metal, coincides with recent upbeat factory data and other economic indicators in the world's No. 2 economy.
Cotton rallied for a second straight day as the market remained bullish after Monday's monthly U.S. government report that cut domestic and global production forecasts to below trade expectations. U.S. cotton futures' benchmark contract, December, settled up 1.8 percent at 91.72 cents a lb after peaking at 92.54, its highest level since February 2012. In Monday's trade, the contract gained 1.3 percent. Oil prices rose too, with benchmark Brent settling up 0.8 percent and U.S. crude climbing 0.7 percent after supply worries in OPEC nations Libya and Iraq.
Prices at 4:02 p.m. EDT (2002 GMT)
LAST/ NET PCT YTD CLOSE CHG CHG CHG US crude 106.51 0.40 0.4% 16.0% Brent crude 109.47 0.50 0.5% -1.5% Natural gas 3.285 -0.025 -0.8% -2.0% US gold 1321.20 -13.50 -1.0% -21.2% Gold 1321.84 -13.95 -1.0% -21.1% US Copper 3.32 0.01 0.4% -9.2% LME Copper 7275.00 24.00 0.3% -8.3% Dollar 81.738 0.405 0.5% 6.5% CRB 288.076 -0.159 -0.1% -2.3% US corn 455.25 -17.00 -3.6% -34.8% US soybeans 1359.75 -14.00 -1.0% -4.2% US wheat 628.25 -6.75 -1.1% -19.2% US Coffee 120.60 -2.85 -2.3% -16.1% US Cocoa 2428.00 -45.00 -1.8% 8.6% US Sugar 17.25 0.09 0.5% -11.6% US silver 21.343 21.130 1.6% -29.4% US platinum 1499.70 1.00 0.0% -2.5% US palladium 738.90 1.30 0.2% 5.1%