NEW YORK, March 5 (Reuters) - Oil slid further on Wednesday, weighing on a key commodities index, but gold, nickel and coffee prices rose as investor attention returned after a brief pause over the Ukraine crisis.
Oil slid nearly $2 per barrel as U.S. government data reflected weaker oil demand as Europe and the United States head into spring and refiners move into maintenance season.
Gold edged higher after weak U.S. private-sector job data and lackluster services-sector activities boosted bullion's appeal as a safe-haven buy.
Nickel hit a nine-month high on persistent worries about an Indonesian ban on ore exports and after China's leaders affirmed a solid growth target for the year ahead.
Arabica coffee surged above $2 per lb for the first time in two years on heavy investor buying as concern about crop damage from a drought in Brazil fueled the volatile market.
The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters/CoreCommodity CRB Index , which has almost a quarter of its weighting in U.S. crude oil, settled marginally down after tracking the lower prices for oil.
U.S. crude's front-month contract finished down almost 2 percent at $101.45 a barrel. Benchmark Brent crude out of London ended more than 1 percent lower at $107.76.
Some analysts voiced concern that investor optimism seemed to be running high in commodities despite the Federal Reserve affirming that severe winter weather across much of the United States in the last two months had slowed economic growth.
"I think that the disappointing economic data kind of set a negative tone," said Gene McGillian, energy analyst with Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.
Prices at 6:04 p.m. EST (2304 GMT)
LAST/ NET PCT
CLOSE CHG CHG
US crude 101.03 -0.42 -0.4% Brent crude 107.75 -1.55 -1.4% Natural gas 4.523 0.000 0.0% US gold 1340.30 2.40 0.2% Gold 1336.39 -0.62 0.0% US Copper 3.25 -0.01 -0.3% LME Copper 7030.00 -19.50 -0.3% Dollar 80.098 -0.073 -0.1% CRB 306.069 -0.185 -0.1% US corn 475.25 -0.50 0.0% US soybeans 1420.00 2.00 0.1% US wheat 637.25 -2.50 -0.4% US Coffee 200.65 15.50 8.4% US Cocoa 2938.00 15.00 0.5% US Sugar 16.47 0.00 0.0% US silver 21.239 21.027 1.6% US platinum 1476.60 12.50 0.0% US palladium 772.65 8.95 1.2%
(Editing by Grant McCool)