COMMODITIES-Oil rallies after Israel strike on Hamas; soy up

Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:24pm GMT

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* Oil up 1.0 pct after news of Hamas' military chief's killing

* Soybeans up 1.0 pct as China buys US soy

* Cocoa up 3.0 pct on surprise government dissolution in Ivory Coast

By Barani Krishnan

NEW YORK, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Crude oil prices rose on Wednesday for the first time in three days after Israel launched a major offensive against Palestinian militants in Gaza, and soybeans rebounded too from the previous session's selloff to help lead commodity price indexes higher.

Cocoa futures trading on European and U.S. markets posted their biggest one-day surge in 10 weeks, after the president of the world's top producer Ivory Coast unexpectedly dissolved the country's government.

Gold was another market that posted gains, after tacking on to the rally in crude oil.

The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a global indicator for commodity investors, rose by more than 0.5 percent as 13 of the 19 markets it tracked ended up.

Copper was one of the few commodities that closed down for the day. Prices of the base metal slipped on worries that a failure to avoid the U.S. "fiscal cliff" may dampen demand worries and renewed problems in the European debt crisis.

OIL SURGES ON ISRAELI STRIKES

Crude oil prices settled up about 1.0 percent after news the Hamas' military chief was killed by an Israeli air strike that hit his car.

Multiple Israeli attacks also rocked the Gaza Strip, reinforcing concerns about tensions across the Middle East and the security of oil supplies from the region.

"There are some ticking time bombs in the Middle East right now and the Israeli air strikes on Gaza have brought the tensions in the region back into focus for the oil market," said Todd Gross, founder of fund management company Hudson Capital Group LLC in New York.

London's benchmark Brent crude oil settled at $109.61, up $1.35 on the day and above the 100-day moving average of $109.50.

U.S. crude rose 94 cents to settle at $86.32 a barrel in New York, off the session high of $86.65.

SOY RISES AS US EXPORTERS SECURE CHINA DEAL

Soybeans futures closed up in Chicago trading on news of better export demand from China for U.S. grown-soy.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that private exporters struck deals to sell 120,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to China, the world's top importer of the oilseed. Exporters sold 40,000 tonnes of U.S. soybean oil to unknown destinations.

Separately, the U.S. National Oilseed Processors Association, or NOPA, said 153.536 million bushels of soybeans were crushed in October, well above the 147.713 million expected by analysts and the 141.179 million crushed a year earlier. It was the largest monthly figure since January 2010 and the highest for October since 2009.[ID: nL1E8ME4NC]

"Strong demand is supporting soybean futures, both domestically and globally," said Karl Setzer, grain solutions team leader for MaxYield Cooperative.

The most-active second month contract for U.S. soybeans rose about 1 percent to settle at $14.19 a bushel.

COCOA REBOUNDS ON IVORY COAST NEWS

Cocoa futures rose about 3.0 percent, rebounding from 4-month lows, after Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara dissolved his government in a surprise move, citing a lack of solidarity within his coalition cabinet.

Ivory Coast produces around 35 percent of the world's cocoa. The country has a volatile history and its cocoa industry often responds to violence and political unrest by trying to secure cocoa bean supplies.

"Most people have just been fear buying. This was the fuel on the fire to help traders to start buying just on the idea of risk," said Hector Galvan, a senior market strategist for RJO Futures in Chicago.

"They're getting in there and making sure that this surprise announcement wasn't going to create enough havoc where people weren't going to be able to get their hands on beans."

Cocoa's second-month futures contract in New York jumped $70, or 2.9 percent, to settle at $2,457 per tonne. It fell to $2,322 on Friday, a low since late July.

Second-month cocoa in London jumped 43 pounds, or 2.8 percent, to end at 1,592 pounds per tonne.

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