December 13, 2013 / 9:42 PM / 6 years ago

COMMODITIES-Rally in natgas ends on profit-taking, copper and gold up

By Barani Krishnan
    NEW YORK, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Natural gas fell on Friday for
the first time in five days with investors taking profits on a
rally driven by frigid weather in the United States. U.S. crude
oil slipped too, pushing the commodities complex lower.
    Gasoline, sugar and corn also posted
losses, after concerns about higher inventories and lower
    Not all major commodities ended lower though.
    Copper touched a six-week peak in a sixth straight
session of gains in London as nervous investors bought back
short positions before a meeting of the Federal Reserve that
could decide the fate of U.S. monetary stimulus policy. 
    Gold rose nearly 1 percent in New York after a sharp
plunge in the previous session. Traders, however, said the
precious metal remained vulnerable to downside pressure as
investors parsed U.S. economic headlines ahead of the Fed
    Robusta coffee hit near 4-month highs in London as
falling stockpiles and slow shipments from top grower Vietnam
reinforced concerns about supplies. 
    The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters/Core Commodity CRB index
, however, settled down 0.2 percent, weighed down by
the losses in natural gas and its biggest component, U.S. crude.
    The front-month contract for U.S. natural gas slid
5.8 cents, or 1.3 percent, to settle at $4.351 per million
British thermal units in New York.
    But on the week, the market rose nearly 6 percent after
gains in four earlier sessions. The weekly gain, the biggest in
two months, pushed prices to their highest level since May and
near the highest in more than two years.
    "It has been a pretty volatile week and there is probably a
little bit of profit taking going on here, especially since they
weren't able to push it through the high of the year," said
Addison Armstrong, senior director of market research at
Tradition Energy.
    "But obviously everybody knows it's cold and everybody knows
we're going to have a record or near-record storage report next
week," Armstrong added.
    U.S. crude futures settled down 90 cents, or nearly 1
percent, at $96.60 a barrel, on expectations that the Fed could
announce a pullback in the U.S. stimulus as early as next week.
Benchmark Brent crude out of London finished up 16
cents, or 0.2 percent, at $108.83. 

 (Editing by Grant McCool)
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