* Gasoline up 2.6 pct, boosted by ethanol credits
* Corn rises 2 pct as USDA forecasts tight supply
* Cocoa jumps 2.8 pct on short covering
* Orange juice up 7 pct after sharp cut in crop forecast
By Barani Krishnan
NEW YORK, March 8 Commodities rose broadly on
Friday due in part to bullish U.S. jobs data and a government
crop report forecasting tight corn and orange juice supplies as
the complex posted its first weekly gain after losses the four
The gains came despite a strong dollar, which can slow sales
of U.S. commodities to foreign buyers.
Oil prices finished mixed on the day. London's benchmark
Brent crude oil fell on the strength of the dollar. U.S.
crude closed up by riding the rally in local gasoline, after
higher-priced ethanol credits made European fuel imports too
The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a
closely-watched indicator of commodity prices, settled up 0.6
percent for the session. For the week, it rose 1.4 percent,
after posting losses without a break in four previous weeks.
Fourteen of the 19 markets tracked by the CRB ended up for
the day. Prices of gasoline, corn and wheat all rose by nearly 3
percent. Orange juice, a largely domestic commodity in the
United States, had the biggest gain of the day on the CRB, up 7
percent for the day and hit it highest so far in 2013.
Juice prices surged after the U.S. Department of Agriculture
released a report showing a 2.0 million box drop in its outlook
for this year's crop in Florida, the top U.S. grower of oranges.
GASOLINE HITS FIVE-MONTH HIGH
In energy markets, the front-month contract for U.S.
gasoline settled up more than 8 cents at $3.2035 a
gallon. It peaked at $3.1989 during the session, its highest
since Sept. 28.
Brokers and analysts said recent high prices for ethanol
blending credits, or RINs, had closed the arbitrage window for
gasoline imports from Europe. RIN stands for Renewable
Identification Number, a numeric code that producers or
importers of renewable fuels are required to generate for each
Importers incur the obligation to have enough credits to
comply with U.S. renewable fuel law and current high prices make
them too expensive to buy.
Bullish U.S. jobs data for February was another factor
behind the gasoline rally, although the data also boosted the
dollar against other major currencies. A strong dollar typically
weakens demand for commodities from holders of other currencies.
"The combination of the spike in RINs and the
better-than-expected jobs numbers, and a lot of short covering,
pushed gasoline higher," said Phil Flynn, analyst at Price
Futures Group in Chicago.
CORN UP ON CROP TIGHTNESS, SHORT-COVERING LIFTS COCOA
U.S. corn futures jumped on a tighter-than-expected supply
outlook from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The USDA, in a monthly crop report, kept its forecast for
supplies of both crops unchanged from February. Analysts polled
by Reuters had expected the government to increase its estimate
for corn inventories 1.7 percent.
The estimate for corn supplies was steady at 632 million
bushels, a 17-year low.
"There's more concern about the tightness in corn," said Don
Roose, president of U.S. Commodities.
Corn's most-actively traded contract in Chicago, May,
settled up 13-3/4 cents, or 2 percent, at $7.25-1/4 a bushel.
In New York-traded cocoa, the May contract finished
up $58, or 2.8 percent, at $2,120 a tonne.
"The market got a little short and is now having a bit of a
short-covering backlash," a senior cocoa futures broker said.
Prices at 5:02 p.m. EST (2202 GMT)
LAST/ NET PCT YTD
CLOSE CHG CHG CHG
US crude 91.85 0.29 0.3% 0.0%
Brent crude 110.72 -0.43 -0.4% -0.4%
Natural gas 3.629 0.047 1.3% 8.3%
US gold 1576.90 1.80 0.1% -5.9%
Gold 1578.04 0.30 0.0% -5.8%
US Copper 349.15 -1.00 -0.3% -4.4%
LME Copper 7740.50 -24.50 -0.3% -2.4%
Dollar 82.712 0.631 0.8% 7.7%
US corn 725.25 13.75 1.9% 3.9%
US soybeans 1508.50 5.00 0.3% 6.3%
US wheat 690.00 3.25 0.5% -11.3%
US Coffee 144.05 0.95 0.7% 0.2%
US Cocoa 2120.00 58.00 2.8% -5.2%
US Sugar 18.75 -0.02 -0.1% -3.9%
US silver 28.948 0.140 0.5% -4.2%
US platinum 1603.90 8.80 0.6% 4.2%
US palladium 782.75 23.70 3.1% 11.3%