* Brent crude closes up first time in 4 sessions
* Copper, gold extend losses on dollar's strength
* Raw sugar near 3-year low, arabica coffee at 1-week low
* Wheat at two-week bottom; soy, corn end lower too
* Natgas and gasoline buck trend with 1 pct rise
By Barani Krishnan
NEW YORK, May 15 Brent crude oil closed up for
the first time in four sessions on Wednesday, spurred by a rally
in U.S. stocks, but copper and gold extended their losses as the
dollar's strength continued to weigh on various commodities
priced in the currency.
Raw sugar plumbed lows unseen in nearly three years
while arabica coffee fell to a one-week low as traders
feared more production in the two crops due to improving weather
in top grower Brazil.
In wheat, futures hit a two-week low in reaction to
the stronger dollar, technical selling and lackluster exports.
Soybean and corn prices fell too.
The broad decline caused the 19-commodity Thomson
Reuters-Jefferies CRB index to close down nearly half
a percent for a second straight session. Fifteen of the CRB's 19
components ended in the red, with natural gas and
gasoline bucking the trend by rising about 1 percent
The dollar hit a six-week high against the euro as data
showing an unexpectedly large contraction of the euro zone
economy raised expectations for more monetary easing by the
European Central Bank. The dollar had rallied against other
major currencies since late last week, making dollar-denominated
raw materials costlier to holders of other currencies.
Oil was one of the few commodities to follow the rally in
equities as both the Dow Jones and S&P 500 indexes
for U.S. stocks hit new highs.
"Over the past several days, it seems that the
equity/commodity divergence is coming into full view once again,
with equity markets surging to record highs just as most
commodity prices are beating a hasty retreat," Edward Meir, a
metals-focused analyst at INTL FC Stone, said in a commentary.
The benchmark Brent crude oil out of Europe's North Sea
closed up $1.08 at $103.68 a barrel after falling to
$101.20 earlier in the day.
New York-traded U.S. crude edged up 9 cents to settle
at $94.30 a barrel.
The stock market rally aside, oil prices were propped up by
news that talks had stalled between the United Nations' nuclear
agency and Iran over Tehran's suspected atomic bomb research.
Copper went into negative territory after data showed
Germany's economy managed a surprisingly weak growth in the
first quarter of the year, after a sharp contraction at the end
of 2012, while France slipped into recession.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange
ended at $7,198 a tonne, down from Tuesday's close of $7,245,
having earlier hit its lowest since May 3 at $7,101.
Gold fell for a fifth straight session for its longest daily
losing streak since January 2011. It slid below $1,400 an ounce,
losing 2 percent, and hit its lowest in nearly a month as the
record rally in U.S. equities and economic optimism undermined
the safe-haven appeal in bullion.
Spot gold dropped as much as 2.5 percent to
$1,390.24, its lowest since April 19. It was down 2 percent at
around $1,391 an ounce by 5:00 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT).
Prices at 5:06 p.m. EDT (2106 GMT)
LAST/ NET PCT YTD
CLOSE CHG CHG CHG
US crude 94.42 0.21 0.2% 2.8%
Brent crude 103.73 1.13 1.1% -6.6%
Natural gas 4.070 0.046 1.1% 21.5%
US gold 1396.20 -28.30 -2.0% -16.7%
Gold 1391.84 -33.55 -2.4% -16.9%
US Copper 326.50 -2.30 -0.7% -10.6%
LME Copper 7198.00 -47.00 -0.6% -9.2%
Dollar 83.763 0.168 0.2% 9.1%
US corn 650.75 -1.75 -0.3% -6.8%
US soybeans 1412.75 -2.00 -0.1% -0.4%
US wheat 693.75 -17.00 -2.4% -10.8%
US Coffee 140.55 -3.45 -2.4% -2.3%
US Cocoa 2344.00 -9.00 -0.4% 4.8%
US Sugar 16.95 -0.07 -0.4% -13.1%
US silver 22.658 -0.721 -3.1% -25.0%
US platinum 1490.70 -11.20 -0.7% -3.1%
US palladium 729.05 1.90 0.3% 3.7%