COMMODITIES-Oil seesaws after early drop on Iran; metals flat
NEW YORK, Nov 25 (Reuters) - Oil markets were mixed on Monday, paring stiff losses caused by a nuclear agreement between world powers and Iran, while gold and copper prices were steady. The agreement on Sunday in Geneva first raised expectations of more oil exports from the OPEC nation. U.S. crude oil, which accounts for a nearly a quarter of the CRB, fell nearly 1 percent to around $94 a barrel after hitting a low of $93.08. Brent, the more important crude globally from Europe's North Sea, rebounded from early losses of up to $3 a barrel and was trading just above $113 a barrel. The Thomson Reuters/Core Commodity CRB index was barely changed at 275.1140 points by 1:30 p.m. EST (1630 GMT)as the drop in oil offset positive trades seen in other commodities. On the agricultural front, wheat prices hit a 2-week high as worries about harvests in Argentina and Australia bolstered potential demand for U.S. wheat. Among softs, sugar remained just above a seven-week low, pressured by ample supplies and weak cash demand. Cocoa steadied near last week's two-year peak. Natural gas held steady too, after touching a six-week high in early New York trade, on forecasts for continued cold weather in most regions through at least early December. Brent initially fell in reaction to the long-awaited nuclear deal in which Iran agreed to cutting its nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief. Tough sanctions against Iran in the past two years have prevented western energy companies from dealing with Tehran and slashed exports from the OPEC member by more than half, keeping Brent above $100 a barrel. Brent came partially back, however, as traders ruled out any immediate increase in Iranian oil shipments after officials said the deal struck in Geneva on Sunday leaves U.S. and European oil sanctions in place for six months. But an easing of a ban on European shipping insurance may ease crude exports to Iran's big Asian customers. "(The market is) realizing, at least in the next few months, there's not going to be a substantial increase in oil exports," said Amrita Sen, chief analyst at consultants Energy Aspects. Benchmark three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange CMCU3 closed at $7,099 a tonne on Monday, after hitting its highest level in nearly two weeks at $7,140 a tonne. It closed at $7,095 on Friday. The spot price of gold touched its lowest level since July 8 at $1,227.34 an ounce, before trading back up at $1,243.00.
(Editing by Kenneth Barry)