COMMODITIES-U.S. crude down most in 2 months; gold up, bucking trend
NEW YORK, Aug 20 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil prices tumbled their most in two months on Tuesday after news of a major crude pipeline closure raised fears about excess oil supplies, and worries about larger-than-expected inventories also weighed on cotton and arabica coffee. Gold, cocoa and lean hogs were among the few commodities that rose for the day as investors looked for safe havens amid concerns that the Federal Reserve could soon slow its massive stimulus support for the U.S. economy. The Fed publishes the minutes of its July 30-31 meeting on Wednesday, and markets will be looking for any wording that indicates the pace and timing of the central bank's plans to trim its monthly bond buying of $85 billion. The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters-CRB index dropped almost 1 percent, closing lower for the first time in five sessions. U.S. crude oil futures fell sharply as traders sold to close out positions ahead of the front-month contract's expiration and in reaction to news the Seaway pipeline had shut down, halting shipments from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast. Seaway carries crude oil from Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures, to refineries on the Gulf Coast. U.S. crude's expiring front-month contract, September , settled down $2.14, or 2 percent, at $104.96 a barrel, the largest percentage loss since June 20. Benchmark Brent crude out of Europe's North Sea finished up 25 cents, or nearly a quarter percent, at $110.15 a barrel. U.S. cotton futures sank more than 4 percent, with the key December contract ending down 3.41 cents at 89.45 cents a lb. Traders blamed the price drop largely on computer-generated sell stops that are designed to cut further losses.
The selloff in cotton came after a weekly U.S. government report issued on Monday indicated some improving crop conditions in the world's top cotton exporter. Arabica, the premium-grade for coffee, was pressured by signs of huge supply from Brazil's off-year harvest. The second-month arabica futures contract traded in New York sank 3.95 cents, or 3.2 percent, to close at $1.1880 per lb, after falling to a session low at $1.1865, within sight of a four-year low of $1.1710 hit on June 20. Gold fell early in the session but closed higher as the dollar weakened and U.S. Treasury bond yields retreated on uncertainty over when the Fed will reduce its stimulus. Spot gold was up 0.4 percent at $1,370.91 an ounce by 4:55 pm EDT (2055 GMT), rebounding nearly $20 from its low of $1,352.20.
Prices at 4:56 p.m. EDT (2056 GMT)
LAST/ NET PCT YTD CLOSE CHG CHG CHG US crude 104.92 -2.14 -2.0% 14.3% Brent crude 110.12 0.22 0.2% -0.9% Natural gas 3.444 -0.019 -0.5% 2.8% US gold 1373.10 6.90 0.5% -18.1% Gold 1370.79 5.31 0.4% -18.1% US Copper 3.34 0.01 0.2% -8.6% LME Copper 7320.00 14.00 0.2% -7.7% Dollar 80.933 -0.293 -0.4% 5.4% CRB 290.341 -2.727 -0.9% -1.6% US corn 483.75 -9.50 -1.9% -30.7% US soybeans 1309.25 -12.75 -1.0% -7.7% US wheat 634.25 -7.25 -1.1% -18.5% US Coffee 114.95 -4.30 -3.6% -20.1% US Cocoa 2477.00 13.00 0.5% 10.8% US Sugar 16.47 -0.06 -0.4% -15.6% US silver 23.071 22.839 1.7% -23.7% US platinum 1525.50 16.50 0.0% -0.9% US palladium 749.65 -3.25 -0.4% 6.6%