COMMODITIES-Many markets down, US crude at 3-1/2 mth low below $100
NEW YORK, Oct 21 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil tumbled below $100 a barrel for the first time since July on Monday amid fears of excessive near-term supplies, and most other commodities closed lower too on uncertainties about demand. A stronger dollar versus the yen added pressure to commodities denominated in the U.S. currency. The Thomson Reuters/CoreCommodity CRB index fell 0.6 percent, with 10 of the 19 futures markets tracked by the index ending in negative territory. Natural gas led the declines, sliding 2 percent, as growing inventories encouraged investors to cut their positions despite upcoming colder weather that will force more homeowners and businesses to crank up their heaters. Arabica coffee, U.S. crude, orange juice and wheat were other significant losers, each closing down about 1 percent or more. In oil, the discount of New York-traded crude versus Europe's Brent hit its widest in six months as diminished oil inventories in the U.S. Midwest began to grow. New York's West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell $1.59 to settle at $99.22 a barrel for the front-month contract. Brent's benchmark contract slipped just 30 cents to close at $109.64 a barrel. The December premium for Brent to WTI ballooned by $1.30 to more than $10 a barrel. The December WTI contract also fell to a discount versus January, a structure known as contango, signaling a near-term excess of oil. Seasonal refinery maintenance and shifting pipeline flows around the key Cushing, Oklahoma, oil hub have helped reverse a months-long decline in WTI stockpiles, dramatically shifting the oil market's structure over the past two weeks. Now, instead of a squeeze on supplies, traders are betting on a near-term surplus of inventories, at least until ramped-down refineries begin to rev up operations again. Delayed U.S. government data for the week to Oct. 11 confirmed the first decline in Cushing stocks in 14 weeks, while industry data suggested the drawdown had continued since then. "That crude build stood out," said Gene McGillian, analyst with Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. "After last week's API data there are signs that we have strong production levels and ample supplies."
Prices at 5:09 p.m. EDT (2109 GMT)
LAST/ NET PCT YTD CLOSE CHG CHG CHG US crude 99.05 -1.76 -1.8% 7.9% Brent crude 109.77 -0.17 -0.2% -1.2% Natural gas 3.668 -0.096 -2.6% 9.5% US gold 1315.80 1.20 0.1% -21.5% Gold 1315.54 -0.21 0.0% -21.4% US Copper 3.30 0.00 0.1% -9.8% LME Copper 7244.00 -1.00 0.0% -8.7% Dollar 79.695 0.041 0.1% 3.8% CRB 285.337 -1.581 -0.6% -3.3% US corn 444.00 2.50 0.6% -36.4% US soybeans 1303.25 12.00 0.9% -8.1% US wheat 699.75 -6.00 -0.9% -10.1% US Coffee 112.70 -1.95 -1.7% -21.6% US Cocoa 2730.00 9.00 0.3% 22.1% US Sugar 19.42 -0.08 -0.4% -0.5% US silver 22.233 22.014 1.7% -26.4% US platinum 1435.70 0.90 0.0% -6.7% US palladium 749.25 9.60 1.3% 6.5%