COMMODITIES-Oil up, gold dips, investors focus on Washington
NEW YORK, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Crude oil, copper and soft commodities cocoa and sugar rose on Tuesday, while grains and gold eased as investors remained cautious about the partial U.S. government shutdown and the threat of default. The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a bellwether index comprised of 19 of commodity markets, ended 0.23 percent higher. In a research note, analyst Jim Ritterbusch said the budget crisis had weakened the U.S. currency, making oil more attractive for holders of other currencies. He also raised the possibility of a steep sell-off in oil, describing the budget crisis as "somewhat of a two-edged sword." U.S. crude oil futures settled at $103.49 per barrel, up 46 cents, or 0.45 percent. Brent crude futures closed at $110.16 a barrel, a gain of 48 cents, or 0.44 percent. Other analysts also said that the dollar was helping boost oil prices, those gains would probably be temporary due to the ongoing U.S. budget crisis, the approach of the debt ceiling and mounting supplies. Spot gold prices were higher for most of the session but gave back those gains and edged lower in a late bout of profit taking. Gold prices should find support as long as the U.S. budget impasse and the looming Oct. 17 deadline to raise the debt-ceiling limit prompts investors sell risky assets such as equities and seek safe havens. "The longer the shutdown goes on, the bigger the problems we are going to have in the economy," said Ed Moy, chief strategist of Morgan Gold, which offers retirement accounts that include precious metals. Spot gold fell 0.2 percent to $1,319.10 an ounce by 3:53 p.m. EDT (1953 GMT). U.S. Comex gold futures for December delivery settled down 50 cents at $1,324.60. President Barack Obama told Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner on Tuesday he would be willing to negotiate with Republicans once the U.S. government is re-opened and the threat of a default is lifted. Copper, an industrial metal, eked out a gain from Chinese buying after a week-long holiday. Gains were capped, however, by threat of a global surplus and weak economic data from China, the world's top consumer of the industrial metal. Three-month copper has prices have languished since early August in a $7,000-$7,500 range. Analysts say the market remains amply supplied, and a 2014 surplus looms. Chicago grain markets were mixed. Corn and soybean futures fell on reports of better-than-expected yields from the ongoing U.S. Midwest harvest. U.S. wheat futures received support from concerns about acreage cuts in Black Sea countries. Among soft commodities, cocoa futures climbed to a 13-month peak on ICE and to the highest level in over two years on Liffe, buoyed by concerns over a tight global market and expectations that European third-quarter grind data, due on Thursday, would indicate firm demand.
Prices at 3:57 p.m. EDT (1957 GMT)
LAST/ NET PCT YTD CLOSE CHG CHG CHG US crude 103.53 0.50 0.5% 12.8% Brent crude 110.10 0.42 0.4% -0.9% Natural gas 3.716 0.087 2.4% 10.9% US gold 1324.60 -0.50 0.0% -21.0% Gold 1319.45 -1.84 -0.1% -21.2% US Copper 3.28 -0.01 -0.2% -10.1% LME Copper 7239.50 -5.50 -0.1% -8.7% Dollar 80.003 0.071 0.1% 4.2% CRB 288.005 0.661 0.2% -2.4% US corn 441.75 -7.50 -1.7% -36.7% US soybeans 1288.75 -7.75 -0.6% -9.2% US wheat 693.50 -1.25 -0.2% -10.9% US Coffee 115.05 0.55 0.5% -20.0% US Cocoa 2718.00 19.00 0.7% 21.6% US Sugar 18.62 0.03 0.2% -4.6% US silver 22.397 22.174 1.7% -25.9% US platinum 1400.20 1.60 0.0% -9.0% US palladium 713.90 9.55 1.4% 1.5%