COMMODITIES-Arabica jumps on Brazilian heat; natgas slumps

NEW YORK, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Arabica coffee rose 5 percent on Wednesday, reinforcing its position as the year's best-performing commodity, while natural gas tumbled more than 6 percent as investors took profits on the previous session's rally. Silver, gasoline and lean hogs were other markets that saw significant gains of between 1 and 2 percent on the day. Key commodities such as crude oil, gold and copper were little changed. The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters/Core Commodity Index , a global benchmark for commodities, settled up nearly a quarter percent. Arabica coffee futures hit a nine-month high on speculation that output for the commodity might be severely affected by one of hottest and driest January in 30 years in Brazil's coffee-growing regions. "If they don't get rain soon (in Brazil), it'll be an issue for production," said Nick Gentile, senior partner at commodity trading consultancy Atlantic Capital Advisors. Arabica's front-month contract in New York reached a session high of $1.4370 per lb, before paring gains to settle up 6.85 cents, or 5 percent, at $1.4310. "We ran into some buy-stops," Gentile, said, describing the market action. It was the seventh straight day of gains for arabica, and the market's steepest week-long rally since July 2000. Arabica prices have risen nearly 30 percent this year, making it the best performing commodity. Natural gas, No. 2 on the slot, is up by less than 20 percent. On Wednesday, natural gas prices were pressured by moderating weather forecasts after five weeks of frigid temperatures and snowstorms across the United States sharply boosted prices. Gas futures rose 5 percent earlier in the session to a four-year high, extending the 10-percent rally on Tuesday. But by mid-afternoon, the market's attention turned toward moderating weather forecasts that would curb demand for the heating fuel, and traders started taking profit on the gains. "Once they realized they couldn't push it any higher, they pushed it the other way," said Brad Schaeffer, principal and founder of Occam Commodity Brokers in Red Bank, New Jersey. New York's front-month gas contract settled down 34.50 cents, or 6.4 percent, at $5.03 per million British thermal units, after the four-year high at $5.737.

Prices at 5:13 p.m. EST (2213 GMT)

LAST/ NET PCT CLOSE CHG CHG US crude 97.30 0.11 0.1% Brent crude 106.18 0.40 0.4% Natural gas 5.030 -0.345 -6.4% US gold 1257.30 5.60 0.4% Gold 1257.15 -0.50 0.0% US Copper 3.19 0.00 -0.1% LME Copper 7039.00 -2.00 0.0% Dollar 81.058 -0.063 -0.1% CRB 287.107 0.670 0.2% US corn 443.25 1.50 0.3% US soybeans 1316.25 3.00 0.2% US wheat 587.50 3.00 0.5% US Coffee 143.10 6.85 5.0% US Cocoa 2884.00 7.00 0.2% US Sugar 16.10 0.04 0.2% US silver 19.805 19.611 1.6% US platinum 1379.30 5.90 0.0% US palladium 707.10 7.00 1.0%

(Editing by Marguerita Choy)