COMMODITIES-Soybeans, gold rise in broad rally; CRB down on week
NEW YORK, Aug 23 (Reuters) - A weak dollar and prospects for stronger demand pushed U.S. grains, precious metals and oil prices up sharply on Friday, but a broad commodities gauge finished the week down after losses in earlier sessions. Soybean futures leaped 3 percent to a two-month high, as hot and dry weather forecast for the U.S. crop belt threatened to trim soy yields. Gold rose to almost a three-month high, gaining nearly 2 percent, after a big drop in U.S. new-home sales renewed hopes the Federal Reserve will maintain its bond-buying economic stimulus. Silver was another big gainer among precious metals, rising 3 percent. U.S. crude oil rose more than 1 percent for its sharpest daily gain since Aug. 9 after news of a unit shutdown at an East Coast Canadian refinery. The broad rally in commodities came as the dollar fell on fresh speculation that the Fed may be influenced to keep its monthly bond purchases worth $85 billion after the July home sales data released on Friday. Markets had speculated for months that the Fed might trim its stimulus by September. The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters-CRB index closed up 0.9 percent. For the week, the index was down 0.6 percent after accounting for sharp losses on Tuesday and Wednesday. The most-active soybeans futures contract on the Chicago Board of Trade, November, settled up 41-1/4 cents at $13.28 a bushel. Corn rose too, with the CBOT's benchmark December contract finishing up 5-1/2 cents at $4.70 a bushel. Corn and soybeans were planted late this season due to excessively wet spring weather in the U.S. Midwest, leaving each crop well behind its normal maturity pace and vulnerable to harsh weather in August. "The central and western Midwest is expected to be about 20 degrees above normal for the next 10 days and that can't be good for either soybeans or corn given the lack of maturity," said Mike Zuzolo, analyst at Global Commodity Analytics. The spot price of gold was up 1.5 percent to trade at above $1,396 an ounce by 3:55 p.m. EDT (1955 GMT). It earlier hit a 11-week high, above $1,399. In oil, U.S. crude settled up $1.39 at $106.42 a barrel. Brent crude finished $1.14 higher at $111.04.
Prices at 3:34 p.m. EDT (1934 GMT)
LAST/ NET PCT YTD CLOSE CHG CHG CHG US crude 106.40 1.37 1.3% 15.9% Brent crude 111.00 1.10 1.0% -0.1% Natural gas 3.485 -0.060 -1.7% 4.0% US gold 1395.70 24.50 1.8% -16.7% Gold 1396.50 21.26 1.5% -16.6% US Copper 3.35 0.02 0.6% -8.3% LME Copper 7360.00 40.00 0.5% -7.2% Dollar 81.360 -0.128 -0.2% 6.0% CRB 290.794 2.452 0.9% -1.4% US corn 495.50 8.00 1.6% -29.0% US soybeans 1365.25 43.25 3.3% -3.8% US wheat 634.50 4.00 0.6% -18.4% US Coffee 113.05 -0.15 -0.1% -21.4% US Cocoa 2427.00 7.00 0.3% 8.5% US Sugar 16.47 0.19 1.2% -15.6% US silver 23.738 23.508 1.7% -21.5% US platinum 1541.60 1.50 0.0% 0.2% US palladium 750.85 -4.20 -0.6% 6.8%