COMMODITIES-Gasoline, oil rally fuels biggest CRB gain in 7 weeks

Thursday, 21 Nov 2013 | 5:25 PM ET

NEW YORK, Nov 21 (Reuters) - A sharp rally in the energy complex and higher grains and metals prices gave a key commodities index its largest gain in seven weeks on Thursday. Gasoline prices jumped about 3 percent, crude oil rose nearly 2 percent and heating oil and natural gas added about 1 percent each after news of dwindling energy inventories and refinery glitches in the United States and Europe. In grains, corn futures rose 1 about percent on strengthening cash prices and persistently large weekly export sales of U.S.-grown corn. In other crop markets, cocoa surged to a 2-year high and robusta coffee hit a 1-month top. On the metals front, copper closed up about 1 percent in London. Gold futures rebounded in New York from the previous session's losses, sparked by worries that the Federal Reserve might curtail the size of the U.S. economic stimulus. The Thomson Reuters/Core Commodity CRB index rose 0.8 percent by the close for its highest one-day gain since Oct. 2. Much of the advance was helped by gains in energy. U.S. crude oil accounts for 23 percent of the CRB's weighting, and gasoline and heating oil 5 percent each. Upbeat U.S. economic data helped support energy prices, while traders also kept an eye on talks between Western powers and Iran on hopes of an accord over its nuclear program. New York-traded gasoline jumped 3 percent, or 8 cents, to close at $2.7438 a gallon on the unexpected closure of a gasoline-making unit at Motiva's 600,000-barrel-per-day refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, the nation's largest. In Europe, the gasoline-making unit at Total's 360,000-bpd refinery in Antwerp, Belgium, was offline after an explosion on Tuesday that killed two. The gasoline rally fueled gains across the energy complex. Crude oil prices spiked as those who sold short to push the market to multi-month lows recently rushed to cover their bets. "The reality is when shorts are running the market as they have been, the longer the market sits there the more chance it has of going the other way," said Rich Ilczyszyn, chief market strategist at iitrader.com in Chicago. Crude oil's benchmark Brent grade settled up $2.02 at $110.08 per barrel. The contract breached the 100-day moving average of $109.36 for the first time in three weeks, after setting a 4-month low under $103 on Nov. 8. U.S. crude finished up $1.59 at $95.44 per barrel, after a high at $95.63. It hit a 5-month low of $92.43 on Tuesday. Prices at 5:10 p.m. EDT (2210 GMT)

LAST/ NET PCT YTD CLOSE CHG CHG CHG US crude 95.23 1.38 1.5% 3.7% Brent crude 110.16 2.10 1.9% -0.9% Natural gas 3.702 0.028 0.8% 10.5% US gold 1243.60 -14.40 -1.1% -25.8% Gold 1242.10 -0.25 0.0% -25.8% US Copper 3.19 0.03 1.0% -12.6% LME Copper 7020.00 24.00 0.3% -11.5% Dollar 80.965 -0.147 -0.2% 5.5% CRB 275.548 2.248 0.8% -6.6% US corn 423.00 4.25 1.0% -39.4% US soybeans 1291.50 17.75 1.4% -9.0% US wheat 648.75 1.50 0.2% -16.6% US Coffee 110.45 3.10 2.9% -23.2% US Cocoa 2796.00 -14.00 -0.5% 25.0% US Sugar 17.51 -0.09 -0.5% -10.3% US silver 19.934 19.733 1.6% -34.1% US platinum 1391.70 -7.90 0.0% -9.6% US palladium 713.25 -0.60 -0.1% 1.4%

(Editing by Ken Wills)