COMMODITIES-Gold gains, natgas jumps; Goldman bearish on bullion, copper and soy
soy@ NEW YORK, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Gold hit one-month highs on Monday, extending gains from last week driven by weak U.S. jobs data, even as influential market voice Goldman Sachs predicted a losing year for bullion and other commodities such as copper and soybeans. The spot price of gold rose about half a percent to above $1,255 an ounce, its highest since Dec. 12, joining a broad run-up in the commodities complex on Monday as the dollar stumbled and U.S. stocks eased. Goldman on Monday forecast a year-end price target of $1,050 for gold that puts the shiny metal on course for a 15 percent loss from current levels. A similar percentage loss in copper for 2014 was predicted by the Wall Street bank and commodities trader. Copper futures rose slightly to close at $7,329 a tonne in London but was still down about 1 percent on the year. In soybeans, Goldman saw a "significant downside" through the year due to expectations for record South American output. On Monday, soybeans rallied 1.2 percent to above $12.94 a bushel in Chicago, rebounding from the 6-week low hit in early January. For the year, soy is little changed.
Goldman said it was neutral on commodities near-term and underweight over the longer term, forecasting a 3 percent return over a 3-month period and negative 3 percent over 12 months. "The uncertainty about oil supplies due to geopolitical risks in Libya and South Sudan keeps us from taking a stronger view near term," it said. While it saw a structural bear market in the distant future, Goldman still recommended holding commodities in 2014 "from an asset allocation perspective". The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters/Core Commodity Index rose a modest 0.3 percent on Monday and is down nearly 1.5 percent on the year. Oil prices fell, with U.S. crude down nearly 1 percent at $91.80 a barrel while benchmark Brent oil slipping about half a percent to below $107. Gold prices surged on Friday after U.S. jobs data for December showed employers hiring the fewest workers in nearly three years. Gold traders and investors saw the data as a sign that the Federal Reserve will take longer to taper bond-buying and raise interest rates than previously thought. Gold, a favorite hedge against the weak dollar and economic uncertainty, hit record highs above $1,900 in 2011 as the Fed accelerated its monetary expansion after the financial crisis. Last year, after a 12-year rally, it fell for the first time, plunging nearly 30 percent, and the Fed moved to roll back its stimulus measures. This year so far, it has risen 4 percent. Some believe the rebound can continue. "If gold prices can sustain the $1,200 key support level, the majority of the 2014 year could very well remain within the $1,200-$1,400 range," London-based ETF Securities said in an report. Natural gas and nickel were among the largest gainers on the CRB on Monday. Natgas futures rose over 5 percent in New York trading, reaching at above $4.26 per million British thermal units, as cold weather forecasts returned to the northeastern United States after a brief respite last week. Nickel gained over 2 percent, adding to Friday's near 4 percent rise, and reached a 2-week high of above $14,215 a tonne, as a ban on unprocessed ore exports from top exporter Indonesia came into effect. Prices at 2:24 p.m. EDT (1924 GMT)
LAST NET PCT CHG CHG US crude 91.69 -1.03 -1.1% Brent crude 106.76 -0.49 -0.5% Natural gas 4.265 0.211 5.2% US gold 1254.00 6.50 0.5% Gold 1253.54 6.84 0.5% US Copper 3.39 0.01 0.4% LME Copper 7323.00 20.50 0.3% Dollar 80.556 -0.102 -0.1% CRB 275.980 0.557 0.2% US corn 434.00 1.25 0.3% US soybeans 1327.00 23.00 1.8% US wheat 573.00 4.50 0.8% US Coffee 120.00 -0.65 -0.5% US Cocoa 2707.00 -5.00 -0.2% US Sugar 15.63 0.06 0.4% US silver 20.425 0.002 1.0% US platinum 1435.20 7.20 0.5% US palladium 740.25 -5.80 -0.8%
(Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)