* Soybeans set 3-1/2 mth low as U.S. yields improve * Gold, copper hit one-month bottom * Raw sugar near 3-week low * Oil up slightly, recovering from early lows By Barani Krishnan NEW YORK, Oct 15 A greater supply versus demand scenario led to losses across the commodity markets on Monday, with soybean prices hitting a 3-1/2-month low as investors sold off ahead of a looming bumper crop in South America and on improving U.S. harvest yields. Copper hit a one-month low on concerns about poor offtake for the metal in China -- the world's largest market for base metals -- and uncertainties about what Beijing can do to reenergize its economy. Gold also fell to a month-low after better-than-expected U.S. economic data led to worries that the Federal Reserve may scale back economic stimulus measures that have been supportive to bullion. Raw sugar hovered near a three-week low in New York. Oil prices also fell initially, falling by up to 2 percent before recovering to settle slightly higher. The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a commodities bellwether, finished down 0.7 percent. Fifteen of the CRB's 19 components ended lower, with natural gas leading declines with a 4 percent drop as investors took profits on gas prices which hit 2012 highs last week. SOYBEANS AT JULY LOWS U.S. soybean futures were lowest since early July as a potential bumper crop loomed in South America. The front-month contract for soybeans on the Chicago Board of Trade settled at $14.92-1/2 a bushel, down nearly 2 percent and breaking below the $15 support level. Soybeans are down 17 percent from the record high of $17.94-3/4 that was set on Sept. 4 on fund buying as a U.S. drought fueled fears of a shortfall of soybean supplies. "Funds were big buyers on the way up and they're sellers now, I don't see any support until we get down to $14.75, the bottom of the gap...basis November," said Sterling Smith, futures specialist for Citigroup. COPPER, GOLD LOWEST SINCE SEPTEMBER Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange fell 0.4 percent to close at $8,094.50 a tonne in the second session of losses after touching a low of $8,050, the weakest since Sept. 13. The spot price of gold traded at below $1,738 an ounce by 3:50 EDT (1950 GMT), down about 1 percent, after touching a one-month low at under $1,729. Data released on Monday showed U.S. retail sales rose in September as Americans bought more of everything, from cars to gasoline and electronics, pointing to stronger-than-expected economic growth in the third quarter. The report followed news on Friday that U.S. consumer sentiment unexpectedly hit a five-year high, while weekly U.S. jobless claims the previous day showed a surprise drop. That has called into question the possible extent of the Fed's latest bond-buying program, which has been explicitly tied to economic needs. It may be curtailed sooner than expected if data is positive enough. OIL REBOUNDS FROM EARLY LOWS U.S. crude oil ended virtually flat at $91.85 a barrel, after falling more than 2 percent at one point to below $90. London's Benchmark Brent crude closed up 1 percent at $115.80. Oil was weakened earlier by data showing exports to the European Union down for a fourth straight month. Crude demand in China, the world's second largest economy, remained relatively weak, underlining a worsening outlook for global fuel consumption. Prices at 3:52 p.m. EDT (1952 GMT) LAST/ NET PCT YTD CLOSE CHG CHG CHG US crude 91.70 -0.16 -0.2% -7.2% Brent crude 115.70 1.08 0.9% 7.7% Natural gas 3.486 -0.125 -3.5% 16.6% US gold 1737.60 -22.10 -1.3% 10.9% Gold 1736.64 -17.11 -1.0% 11.1% US Copper 370.15 -0.15 0.0% 7.7% LME Copper 8094.50 -35.50 -0.4% 6.5% Dollar 79.714 0.047 0.1% -0.6% US corn 737.25 -15.50 -2.1% 14.0% US soybeans 1491.75 -30.25 -2.0% 24.5% US wheat 860.50 -8.75 -1.0% 31.8% US Coffee 160.85 -0.85 -0.5% -29.5% US Cocoa 2354.00 -12.00 -0.5% 11.6% US Sugar 19.85 -0.20 -1.0% -14.6% US silver 32.743 -0.926 -2.8% 17.3% US platinum 1635.30 -24.00 -1.4% 16.4% US palladium 632.60 -6.45 -1.0% -3.6%
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