COMMODITIES-Gold surges to 1-month high; U.S. crude rebounds


(In last paragraph, corrects direction of WTI to 'higher')

By Barani Krishnan

NEW YORK, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Gold prices hit one-month peakson Thursday on expectations the Federal Reserve would have tosustain its stimulus efforts owing to relatively high U.S.jobless claims, while technical support ended a rout in U.S.crude oil.

Copper dipped to its lowest level in nearly twoweeks as persistent concerns about credit tightening in topmetals consumer China offset upbeat manufacturing growth there.

Cocoa dropped for a second straight session in NewYork after hitting a two-year high earlier in the week, a levelviewed by many dealers as overbought.

Raw sugar fell to a one-week low, after warehousefires in Santos, Brazil, pushed the market to one-year highs sixsessions ago. Arabica and robusta coffee closeddown at multi-year lows.

Soybeans were one of the few commodities that buckedthe broadly lower trend in crop markets, turning higher afterthe release of export data showing huge U.S. exports of soymeal.

The Thomson Reuters/CoreCommodity CRB index settled flat as the losses in sugar, cocoa offset gains in 11 ofthe 19 markets it tracked. Lean hog futures rose nearly 2percent to lead the CRB's advance, while gold, silver,aluminium and gasoline climbed about 1 percent.

Gold broke above $1,350 an ounce for the first time in morethan a month, on rekindled buying interest prompted by ideasthat the Fed will continue its monetary stimulus afterThursday's disappointing U.S. jobless claims data.

Bullion also rallied after the number of Americans filingnew claims for unemployment benefits fell less than expectedlast week.

By 3:00 p.m. EDT (2000 GMT), the spot price of bullion was up 1.2 percent at $1,348.21 an ounce, after scaling$1,368.01 earlier, its highest since Sept. 20.

U.S. gold futures for December settled up $16.30 anounce at $1,350.30, with trading volume on track to finish neartheir 30-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed.

"Overall, gold should be supported in the short term,especially if U.S. data keeps falling short of expectations ...that should put further pressure on the dollar and reinforce theargument for the Fed to keep its stimulus," said MKS SA SeniorVice President Bernard Sin.

In oil, the benchmark European Brent slid while U.S. crudefutures recouped losses in choppy trade, as traders bet that anabrupt slump earlier this week in the hotly traded Brent-WTIspread had gone too far.

Brent closed down 81 cents, or 0.8 percent, at$106.99 a barrel. U.S. crude's WTI settled 25 cents, or0.3 percent, higher at $97.11 a barrel. The spread between thetwo (CL-LCO1=R) fell back to around $10 after blowing out to a6-month high above $13 at one point on Wednesday. (Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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