COMMODITIES-Oil, gold, grains retreat from last week's run-up
NEW YORK, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Commodity markets were mostly lower on Monday as profit-taking eroded much of last week's strong gains, with oil down 1 to 2 percent as a military attack on Syria seemed less likely and grains off 1 to 3 percent ahead of U.S. government supply data. Gold eased on expectations the Federal Reserve will opt to taper its monetary stimulus program. The U.S. central bank's stimulative efforts had been a key driver of higher bullion prices, but speculation that it might trim liquidity has helped push gold down 17 percent this year. The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index slipped 0.37 percent, with grains showing the largest declines while coffee, cotton and copper showed mostly modest rises. Some gold investors grabbed profits after Friday's 2 percent gains. Spot gold was off 0.31 percent at $1,386.50 an ounce by 3:52 p.m. EDT (1952 GMT). Gold's gains came after U.S. data showed jobs growth in August was slower than expected. But analysts believe the economy is strong enough for the Fed to start reducing its monthly stimulus. The September meeting of Fed policy makers "is likely to place downside pressure on gold," said Suki Cooper, precious metals strategist at Barclays Capital. Buying of oil and safe-haven flows to gold dried up as President Barack Obama has met resistance in the U.S. Congress to his call for U.S. military action in Syria. Investors grew less worried about the risk of further oil supply disruption in the Middle East. Brent crude oil prices sank over 2 percent and U.S. crude futures settled 0.91 percent lower. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry suggested Damascus could avert U.S. strikes by handing over chemical weapons. Russia seized on his remarks and made a similar suggestion.
"This has thrown some sand into the wheels of military preparation in the U.S.," said Michael Lynch, president of consultancy Strategic Energy & Economic Research Inc in Winchester, Massachusetts. "At the very least, the debate is going to be stalled while we wait and see if it works out." Copper, the metal used in power and construction, was lifted demand for metals from the world's largest consumer. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange closed at $7,196, up 0.50 percent from $7,160 on Friday. "Even if you are skeptical of Chinese data, this fits a pattern of global demand turning the corner," said Quincy Krosby, Prudential Financial market strategist in New Jersey. In Chicago, U.S. grain and soybean futures slid as traders took profits ahead of a government report due Thursday that will update the outlook for U.S. harvests. Soybeans have pulled back 3 percent since approaching an 11-month high last week on concerns that hot, dry weather will damage the nation's crop. Cocoa futures on ICE and Liffe fell below last week's one-year highs on improved weather in top grower Ivory Coast. Raw sugar extended gains to a three-week high on stronger-than-expected demand. And, Arabica coffee futures on ICE Futures U.S. inched higher, still eyeing last week's four-year low.
Prices at 3:14 p.m. EDT (1914 GMT)
LAST/ NET PCT YTD CLOSE CHG CHG CHG US crude 109.14 -1.38 -1.3% 18.9% Brent crude 113.29 -2.85 -2.5% 1.9% Natural gas 3.605 0.075 2.1% 7.6% US gold 1386.70 0.20 0.0% -17.3% Gold 1385.99 -4.89 -0.4% -17.2% US Copper 3.27 0.02 0.6% -10.3% LME Copper 7196.00 36.00 0.5% -9.3% Dollar 81.796 -0.350 -0.4% 6.5% CRB 292.267 -1.071 -0.4% -0.9% US corn 477.25 -14.25 -2.9% -31.7% US soybeans 1404.25 -32.75 -2.3% -1.0% US wheat 628.75 -6.25 -1.0% -19.2% US Coffee 113.85 -0.10 -0.1% -20.8% US Cocoa 2526.00 -18.00 -0.7% 13.0% US Sugar 17.01 0.22 1.3% -12.8% US silver 23.668 23.430 1.7% -21.7% US platinum 1483.00 -12.70 0.0% -3.6% US palladium 681.40 -14.05 -2.0% -3.1%