Oil, Metals Tumble on US Govt Shutdown Scare


Oil and metals fell on Monday on fears of an imminent U.S. government shutdown and grains tumbled on oversupply concerns, while gold slipped for the session amid strong quarterly gains.

The weaker U.S. dollar was little help to commodities priced in the currency as investors focused on the broader implications for business if Washington's budget crisis passed a midnight deadline without solution.

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Analysts caution that a government shutdown would have a wide-ranging impact on most types of assets. If a deal were reached quickly, markets might recover, but a prolonged shutdown could do significant harm to the economy and consumer confidence.

The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a bellwether for commodities, finished down half a percent for the session after 10 of the 19 markets on the index ended in the negative.

For the third quarter, the CRB was up nearly 4 percent for its best quarterly performance in a year. For September, the index finished down 2 percent.

Gold was the star performer in the quarter. The spot price of bullion traded at above $1,328 an ounce, up 8 percent on the quarter, the most over a three-month period since an 11 percent gain in the third quarter of 2012.

Despite such gains, the precious metal is down 20 percent on the year, with market forecasters pinning a recovery on the extension of the U.S. monetary stimulus.    At its September meeting, the U.S. Federal Reserve stuck with its bond-buying programme, surprising markets which had expected a small reduction from this month. The Fed meets next on Oct. 29-30.

"It seems to us that the central bank will likely stand pat again, perhaps not wanting to take two completely different directional views on rate policy in the span of just 30 days," INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir said in a note.

In oil, benchmark Brent crude out of Europe's North Sea finished the session down a quarter percent at $108.37 a barrel. U.S. crude settled down half a percent at $102.33.

Copper's key three-month contract in London ended at $7,302 a tonne, a touch higher versus Friday's close of $7,300.

U.S. corn plunged to a three-year low and soybeans slid to a five-week low after a government crop report surprised traders by showing larger-than-expected stocks of both commodities.

Raw sugar prices jumped, taking back the previous session's steep losses, on concerns that rain in top grower Brazil will delay harvest.