COMMODITIES-Metals higher on improved demand, better weather hits ag prices
NEW YORK, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Commodity prices traded mixed on Friday, with profit taking, favorable weather and currency pressures hitting grains, sugar, and coffee prices, but an improved demand outlook sent some industrial metals up nearly 2 percent. Supply worries stirred up by violence in Egypt and Libya lifted energy prices, although dollar strength capped gains. Oil futures on both sides of the Atlantic ended higher for a sixth straight session, with Brent oil posting the biggest weekly percentage gain in six weeks. Brent crude oil futures for October delivery ended 80 cents higher at $110.40 a barrel, and gained 2 percent on the week for its largest weekly percentage gain since July 5. U.S. crude oil futures for September delivery settled 13 cents higher at $107.46, and up 1.4 percent for the week. The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, measuring price action of 19-commodities, was up a mere 0.01 percent, reflecting mixed market reactions. Earlier in the session, the gauge climbed to its highest level since April 3, adding to its 4.38 percent advance since hitting a one-month bottom on Aug. 7. The dollar reversed course during New York trading to rise against the euro and yen, in a risk-averse reaction to a report showing U.S. consumer optimism easing. The darker sentiment reading dimmed hopes for a swift economic recovery, but brightened gold's prospects. Gold rose 0.75 percent to two-month highs that contributed to its 4.75 percent rise, the biggest weekly gain in five weeks. Bullion's appeal as an investment hedge increased after U.S. economic data showed weaker consumer confidence in August and lower-than-expected residential construction last month.
"Uncertainty is re-entering the economy and making money managers think," said Carlos Perez-Santalla at futures brokerage Marex Spectron. Silver rose 1.7 percent for an eighth consecutive daily gain. It has sharply outperformed gold and was up 13.5 percent this week for its biggest weekly rise in almost five years. With industrial demand expected to pick up and positive technical charts, analysts look for the grey metal to add to its gains. An improved demand outlook also pushed copper to a 10-week high. The industrial metal posted three straight weeks of gains. Copper has risen more than 7 percent so far this month, rebounding from three-year lows hit in June, and nickel and aluminum both finished the session up 1.9 percent on signs of resilience in China's economy, an exit from recession for Europe and a U.S. recovery slowly gaining steam. Elsewhere, U.S. corn futures retreated in a profit-taking setback after strong gains a day earlier and on a slightly wetter forecast that could support crop yield. Among soft commodities, raw sugar futures on ICE fell the most in seven weeks and stemmed a five-week rally as a tumbling real and a quickening harvest pace in top grower Brazil left prices on the defensive. Arabica coffee also fell under the currency pressure. Prices at 3:16 p.m. EDT (1916 GMT)
LAST/ NET PCT YTD CLOSE CHG CHG CHG US crude 107.59 0.26 0.2% 17.2% Brent crude 110.45 0.85 0.8% -0.6% Natural gas 3.368 -0.051 -1.5% 0.5% US gold 1371.70 10.10 0.7% -18.1% Gold 1376.70 11.15 0.8% -17.8% US Copper 3.36 0.03 0.8% -7.9% LME Copper 7400.00 91.00 1.2% -6.7% Dollar 81.278 0.097 0.1% 5.9% CRB 292.491 0.043 0.0% -0.9% US corn 473.75 -7.75 -1.6% -32.2% US soybeans 1283.25 -5.00 -0.4% -9.6% US wheat 631.00 -6.50 -1.0% -18.9% US Coffee 120.50 -1.35 -1.1% -16.2% US Cocoa 2445.00 9.00 0.4% 9.3% US Sugar 16.94 -0.25 -1.5% -13.2% US silver 23.322 23.093 1.7% -22.8% US platinum 1527.60 -4.70 0.0% -0.7% US palladium 763.05 6.20 0.8% 8.5%