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Oil, grains recover some losses; copper down Add to ...

Oil and agricultural markets jumped Monday, recovering some of last week's sharp losses, as supply-demand issues dominated trading due to a pipeline shutdown and weather concerns.

Metals, led by copper sank, weighed down by early strength in the dollar.

Oil prices rose more than 1 per cent after a leak shut down the Trans Alaska Pipeline, which carries nearly 12 per cent of U.S. crude output. Corn and soybeans rallied on dry weather in Argentina and ahead of U.S. crop estimates this week, which analysts expect to be bullish.

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The 19-commodity Reuters-Jefferies CRB index rose 1 per cent after last week's near 3 per cent drop - its biggest weekly decline since November.

Copper extended losses after worries over European debt helped keep the dollar near a four-month high against the euro in early trading. A drop in imports last month by top copper buyer China also weighed on prices .

"The stronger dollar is part of it," Michael Widmer, commodities analyst at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch in London, said, explaining the mixed performance.

The dollar has been reasserting itself as a major influence on raw material prices. The dollar index versus other major currencies rose 2.4 per cent last week. The greenback's gain - its biggest gain since August - helped snuff December's broad commodities rally that investors and traders had expected to continue at least into the first few weeks of the new year.

Investors will also be watching a raft of U.S. indicators this week - including wholesale and retail sales, inflation, jobless claims and business sentiment.

Oil finished near $90 per barrel after a leak shut the Trans Alaska Pipeline, which carries nearly 12 per cent of U.S. crude output. No restart date was set.

"Of course a pipeline with a magnitude like that is supportive for crude prices. It is normal that first the market reacts a bit too much. But then it is a question of how long the line will be closed," said Hannes Loacker, an oil analyst at Raiffeisen Bank International.

Crude's front-month contract in New York rose 1.4 per cent to close at $89.25 per barrel. It had hit 27-month highs upward of $92 last week before sliding, partly on the dollar.

U.S. corn futures rose nearly 3 per cent, the strongest gain in a month, and soybeans were up 2 per cent on concerns about dry weather in Argentina.

Grains traders and investors are also awaiting Wednesday's crop report from the U.S. Agriculture Department, which was expected to show corn stocks revised down to a 15-year low and the winter wheat acreage higher than previously estimated.

The front-month contract in U.S. corn finished up 12 cents at $6.07 per bushel in Chicago. It was the strongest rise for corn since Dec. 13 and came after Friday's three-week low.

Soybeans rose 15-1/2 cents to $13.73-1/4 per bushel.

Copper, a key reflector of economic sentiment, fell after a senior euro zone source told Reuters on Sunday that Germany and France were pushing Portugal to seek European Union and International Monetary Fund help for its debt.

Copper was also pressured by a 2 per cent decline in China's copper imports in December. But annual data for China's copper purchases still showed inflows at a record high, a feat that may be repeated in 2011, traders said.

Copper's benchmark three-month contract in London fell 1 per cent, or $104, to close at $9,321 a tonne, sharply off record highs of $9,754 seen on the final day of 2010.

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