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U.S. oil falls to 10-week low as Mubarak steps down Add to ...

Commodities fell broadly on Friday for the first time in five weeks after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's resignation pushed U.S. oil prices down, although metals and grains ended mixed on varying fundamentals.

The Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a global commodities indicator largely influenced by U.S. crude oil, fell 0.3 per cent in its first weekly loss since early January.

For Friday's session alone, the 19-commodity index fell 0.6 per cent, its sharpest loss in a week.

Crude oil futures in New York hit a 10-week low, closing down 1.3 per cent at below $86 (U.S.) per barrel, after Mubarak stepped down and handed power to the army.

The departure of the Egyptian leader, who had ruled for 30 years, came after 18 days of mass protests raised concern about potential for oil supply disruptions.

Worries that the turmoil in Cairo could spread to major oil producers in the Middle East also pushed London's Brent crude above $100 a barrel the first time since 2008.

Brent remained up on Friday, settling half a per cent higher at above $101. The North Sea-based oil is not as much a benchmark for global prices as U.S. crude oil. But its rally to above $100 had created a record gap between Brent and U.S. crude and helped the latter spike above $92 this month.

Analysts and brokers remained cautious about the implications of Egypt's political transition for the broader region, where protesters also have called for changes in Jordan and Yemen.

"Lower prices may be temporary here as traders will again look broadly and see if protests in Egypt, which apparently are now about to end, may spark other similar movements across the Middle East," said Mark Waggoner at Excel Futures in Bend, Oregon.

Copper closed up in London and down in New York.

Traders said the industrial metal got a boost from easing global political tensions from Mubarak's departure and from a jump in U.S. consumer sentiment, while a stronger dollar weighed on prices.

U.S. consumer sentiment rose to its highest level in eight months in early February, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers.

In a separate survey, the U.S. economy and jobs market were seen growing more strongly in the first quarter than previously expected.

U.S. retail sales data on Tuesday will give investors in copper a further indication of how the economy was performing, analysts said.

In London, copper futures ended $10 higher at $9,961 a tonne, sitting just $100 below Monday's record of $10,160. New York copper fell 0.75 cent to $4.5360 per lb, about 10 below its own all-time high at $4.6375.

Corn futures extended their 31-month high on technical buying against a backdrop of tight U.S. and world supplies, while wheat edged higher on export buying and spillover demand from corn.

But soybean futures fell for a second straight day amid concerns that importers could cancel their purchases of U.S. supplies in favor of soybeans from Brazil, which is on the cusp of harvesting a record crop.

Coffee, cocoa and sugar prices all fell on broad-based profit-taking.



Craig Porter, portfolio manager at Front Street Capital, will take your questions and offer his insight on investing in the energy sector in this live Globe and Mail discussion. Mr. Porter's CIBC Energy fund is among Lipper's top-ranked Canadian energy funds, with a three-year annualized return of 10.5 per cent. Read more on his selection process here. He also runs the Front Street Resource Fund, which was up 55 per cent in 2010.

Readers using mobile phones should read the discussion by following this link.



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