COMMODITIES-Natgas jumps on U.S. cold; nickel up on Indonesia ban

Barani Krishnan
Tuesday, 14 Jan 2014 | 11:15 AM ET

NEW YORK, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Natural gas led gains across U.S. commodities for a second day on Tuesday as cold weather forecasts boosted anticipated demand for heating, and nickel rallied too as investors remained spooked over an export ban by top nickel ore shipper Indonesia. Other base metals from lead to zinc and tin were also up, hitting their highest levels since early January, on worries about potentially low supplies. But copper slipped on caution over growth prospects in No. 1 metals importer China. Gold was also down, backing away from Monday's one-month high. Oil prices were mixed, with U.S. crude up after a two-day decline, and London's Brent down as Libyan oil supplies picked up and a restart of Iranian crude shipments loomed closer. The Thomson Reuters/Core Commodity Index rose a modest 0.1 percent, after gains in 12 of the 19 markets it tracked. Raw sugar was among the losers, falling nearly 1 percent to a 3-1/2 year low, on good crop prospects from major growers such as Brazil, India and Thailand. In grain markets, corn eased, halting a 2-day rally sparked by lower-than-expected U.S. government supply estimates. Natural gas, which rose nearly 5.5 percent in Monday's session, gained a further 1 percent on forecasts calling for mid-winter cold that could lead to heavy draws on storage. Front-month gas futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange were up 4.7 cents at $4.321 per million British thermal units at 10:51 a.m. EST (1551 GMT), after scaling a near one-week high at $4.353 per mmBtu. The eastern two-thirds of the United States was expected to experience colder weather than initially thought in the next 11-to-15 day range, revised forecasts from MDA Weather Forecasts showed. Nickel rose about 1 percent to $14,330 a tonne, adding to a rise of more than 6 percent in the last two sessions, as Indonesia's ban on unprocessed mineral ore exports came into force. Prices at 11:01 a.m. EDT (1601 GMT)

LAST NET PCT CHG CHG US crude 92.07 0.27 0.3% Brent crude 106.21 -0.54 -0.5% Natural gas 4.304 0.030 0.7% US gold 1253.40 1.60 0.1% Gold 1253.23 0.17 0.0% US Copper 3.38 -0.02 -0.7% LME Copper 7282.50 -47.00 -0.6% Dollar 80.520 0.007 0.0% CRB 275.854 -0.245 -0.1% US corn 427.25 -7.25 -1.7% US soybeans 1321.75 -5.00 -0.4% US wheat 572.25 -1.25 -0.2% US Coffee 120.05 0.20 0.2% US Cocoa 2744.00 32.00 1.2% US Sugar 15.47 -0.13 -0.8% US silver 20.565 0.002 0.9% US platinum 1431.80 -10.10 -0.7% US palladium 740.95 0.95 0.1%

(Editing by David Gregorio)