COMMODITIES-Metals slide on ECB move; Brent up, grains off lows
* ECB joins Fed in disappointing stimulus hoping markets
* Copper, nickel and silver down about 2 pct or more
* NY crude down on weak US data, Brent up on supply worries
* Grains market claw back losses in volatile trading
By Barani Krishnan
NEW YORK, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Prices for copper and other metals dropped on Thursday after neither the European Central Bank nor the Federal Reserve announced a stimulus plan, leaving investors to ponder about risk-taking in a world of growing economic challenges.
Oil futures fell in New York after a rise in jobless claims and drop in factory orders in the United States. But Brent crude in London rose on production problems in the North Sea field, and the threat to oil supply from the turmoil in Syria and Iran's dispute with the West over Tehran's nuclear program.
Soybeans and corn clawed back most of their early losses as the moderating drought in the U.S. Midwest farm belt sparked choppy trading in grains.
The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a global benchmark for commodities, fell nearly 1.5 percent by midday. Fifteen of the 19 commodities tracked by the CRB showed losses, led by natural gas, which fell 6 percent after a surge in U.S. gas stockpiles.
The metals complex was among the bigger losers, with copper , nickel and silver prices slipping 2 percent or more.
The slump in metals came after the ECB's move to delay market hopes for a stimulus for Europe's worst economies, including Spain and Greece.
ECB President Mario Draghi, who raised expectations for a stimulus last week when he pledged the central bank would do all it could to save the euro zone, ended Thursday's much-awaited ECB meeting without any announcement to gratify markets. He said the central bank will draw up plans in coming weeks to make outright purchases to stabilize euro zone borrowing costs.
"Investors were looking for a bazooka and what they got was a pea-shooter instead," said Peter Buchanan, commodities analyst and senior economist at CIBC in Toronto.
The dollar rose on Draghi's remarks, weighing on demand for dollar-denominated commodities by holders of the euro . The ECB's decision comes on the heels of the Federal Reserve's announcement that it will further monitor the U.S. economy to gauge the assistance it needed.
Crude futures in New York fell 2 percent, trading below $88 per barrel, after the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits rose last week and manufacturers suffered an unexpected drop in orders in June, suggesting the economy was still struggling to break out of a soft patch.
A government report on Friday is expected to show that employers added 100,000 new workers to their payrolls last month, according to a Reuters survey, up from 80,000 in June.
That would be more than the average 75,000 per month job growth in the second quarter, but far less than the average monthly rise of 226,000 in the first three months of the year.
London's Brent was up 0.3 percent, trading above $106.
Benchmark soybean futures in Chicago were down about 0.4 percent, hovering near $16.23 a bushel, after trading as low as $15.95 at one point. Corn futures rebounded, rising 0.1 percent to just above $8 a bushel, after sliding to around $7.85 earlier.
Analysts said there was caution in the market ahead of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's supply-demand report on Aug. 10 that could further cut the government's yield and production estimates for corn and soybeans while revising down its demand forecast.
Prices at 2:25 p.m. EDT (1825 GMT)
LAST NET PCT YTD
CHG CHG CHG US crude 87.23 -1.68 -1.9% -11.7% Brent crude 106.15 0.19 0.2% -1.1% Natural gas 2.934 -0.237 -7.5% -1.8% US gold 1589.00 -18.30 -1.1% 1.4% Gold 1585.80 -12.79 -0.8% 1.4% US Copper 329.70 -7.80 -2.3% -4.0% LME Copper 7290.00 -135.00 -1.8% -4.1% Dollar 83.370 0.312 0.4% 4.0% CRB 294.990 -4.240 -1.4% -3.4% US corn 800.50 0.00 0.0% 23.8% US soybeans 1659.75 -22.50 -1.3% 38.5% US wheat 877.25 -2.25 -0.3% 34.4% US Coffee 171.60 -3.00 -1.7% -24.8% US Cocoa 2365.00 -36.00 -1.5% 12.1% US Sugar 21.95 -0.61 -2.7% -5.5% US silver 27.015 -0.520 -1.9% -3.2% US platinum 1384.40 -16.90 -1.2% -1.5% US palladium 568.40 -14.20 -2.4% -13.4% (Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)
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