May 9, 2012 / 9:29 PM / 7 years ago

COMMODITIES-Brent oil up, most others down; focus on Europe

* Copper hits 3-week low, gold almost wipes out 2012 gain
    * Corn, wheat, soybeans all down
    * Bargain hunting lifts Brent after 5 days of losses

    By Barani Krishnan	
    NEW YORK, May 9 (Reuters) - Copper hit a three-week bottom
o n W ednesday and gold and a number of agricultural markets
closed lower on nagging fears about an economic slowdown in
Europe, but the commodities selloff eased somewhat as bargain
hunters lifted battered Brent oil prices.	
    Trading was choppy across commodity markets, with wild
swings in sugar and coffee futures as dealers tried to decipher
mixed signals out of Europe.	
    The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index 
ended nearly flat, down just 0.1 percent versus Tuesday's near 1
percent drop.	
    While approval of a bailout payment to Greece supported
Brent prices, fear about the risk posed by Spanish banks hit the
euro. Stocks on Wall Street fell for a sixth
straight day, with the key S&P 500 index flirting near a
two-month low. U.S. Treasury prices gained as some
investors continued to seek the safety of bonds. 	
    Analysts said the uncertainties in Europe were complicating
the outlook for China and other dynamic economies.	
    "You're seeing significant economic forces within the
European Union slip into recession ... that causes problems for
a Chinese economy that is all about growth, and really can't
handle any set-backs," said Sean McGillivray, vice president and
head of asset allocation for Great Pacific Wealth Management in
Oregon.  	
    "When you look at an export-driven economy (China), whose
main customers are contracting, you cannot say that they are
going to be able to just internalize all of their demand."	
    Copper futures in New York closed half a percent
lower at $3.6595 per lb after plumbing to a three-week low of
$3.61. 	
    The spot price of gold dropped below $1,600 an ounce,
nearly wiping out gains for 2012. 	
    Corn and wheat futures in Chicago fell more than
2 percent, while soybeans closed down for a third
consecutive session. 	
    Raw sugar futures tumbled to a 20-month low early, but
recovered to finish slightly higher. Arabica coffee also turned
positive after hitting the lowest since August 2010 	
    Crude oil, which stabilized after a rout that began a week
ago, ended mixed, with Brent higher and U.S. crude futures 
slipping. 	
    Brent crude settled in London at $113.20 a barrel,
rising 47 cents, after falling to a session low of $111.31
early.	
    U.S. crude dipped 20 cents to close at $96.81 per
barrel, falling for the sixth straight session.	
    "Brent keeps stalling and finding resistance trying to get
back to its 200-day moving average and U.S. crude is running
into support and can't make a decisive move below its 200-day
average," said Stephen Schork, president of the Schork Group in
Villanova, Pennsylvania.	
 Prices at 5:02 p.m. EDT (2102 GMT)      
                             LAST/      NET    PCT     YTD
                             CLOSE      CHG    CHG     CHG
 US crude                    96.45    -0.56  -0.6%   -2.4%
 Brent crude                112.78     0.05   0.0%    5.0%
 Natural gas                 2.465    0.072   3.0%  -17.5%
 
 US gold                   1594.20   -10.30  -0.6%    1.7%
 Gold                      1589.20   -15.68  -1.0%    1.6%
 US Copper                  365.95    -1.80  -0.5%    6.5%
                              
 Dollar                     80.157    0.418   0.5%    0.0%
 CRB                       294.830   -0.300  -0.1%   -3.4%
 
 US corn                    641.25   -24.75  -3.7%   -0.8%
 US soybeans               1427.75   -10.00  -0.7%   19.1%
 US wheat                   591.25   -17.75  -2.9%   -9.4%
 
 US Coffee                  175.15     0.00   0.0%  -23.2%
 US Cocoa                  2334.00     8.00   0.3%   10.7%
 US Sugar                    20.38     0.01   0.0%  -12.3%
 
 US silver                  29.197   -0.217  -0.7%    4.6%
 US platinum               1499.20    -9.10  -0.6%    6.7%
 US palladium               613.65    -9.20  -1.5%   -6.5%
 	
 (Editing by David Gregorio)
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