Commodities roundup: Cyprus, economic data drive markets

GSCI fell 0.6%

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities fell 0.6 percent to 644.55. The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 raw materials fell 0.2 percent to 1,539.71.

CRUDE OIL

Oil dropped as German manufacturing output unexpectedly contracted in March, signaling the euro-zone debt crisis is slowing growth in the region’s biggest economy.

Crude oil for May delivery declined $1.05 to settle at $92.45 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent oil for May settlement fell $1.25, or 1.1 percent, to $107.47 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

The European benchmark grade was at a $15.02 premium to West Texas Intermediate crude traded in New York. The gap narrowed to $14.93 on March 19, the lowest level at settlement since July.

OIL PRODUCTS

Gasoline slipped after crude fell as Europe’s service and manufacturing sectors contracted and debate over a bailout for Cyprus threatened the euro region’s economic stability.

Gasoline for April delivery fell 4.57 cents to $3.0706 a gallon on the Nymex. Prices have declined 2.9 percent this week.

Heating oil for April delivery rose 0.42 cent to settle at $2.8963 a gallon.

Gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, fell 0.6 cent to $3.691 a gallon, AAA said today on its website. Prices have dropped 9.5 cents since reaching a 2013 high of $3.786 on Feb. 26 and are 17.3 cents below a year ago.

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas futures slid after trading at an 18-month high above $4 following a government report showing that U.S. stockpiles declined by less than expected last week.

Natural gas for April delivery fell 2.5 cents to settle at $3.935 per million British thermal units on the Nymex. The futures have climbed 17 percent this year, the second-best performer after cotton on the Standard & Poor’s GSCI spot index of 24 commodities.

BASE METALS

Copper futures fell for the fourth time in five sessions on signs of ample global supplies as a measure of inventory climbed to the highest in nine years.

Copper futures for May delivery fell 0.3 percent to settle at $3.435 a pound on the Comex in New York. The metal has dropped about 6 percent this year.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months fell 0.5 percent to $7,582.50 a ton ($3.44 a pound). Aluminum, tin and lead dropped. Nickel and zinc gained.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold climbed to a three-week high after reports in the U.S. and Europe revived concern that economic growth will slow, boosting demand for the precious metal as a haven asset.

Gold futures for April delivery rose 0.4 percent to settle at $1,613.80 an ounce on the Comex, after touching $1,616.50, the highest price for a most-active contract since Feb. 26. Prices are up 2.6 percent since March 1. Silver futures for May delivery jumped 1.4 percent to $29.212 an ounce in New York, the biggest gain since Feb. 25.

On the Nymex, platinum futures for April delivery retreated 0.2 percent to $1,580.10 an ounce.

Palladium futures for June delivery fell 0.2 percent to $756.85 an ounce, the third drop in four sessions.

LIVESTOCK

Hog futures rose the most in two weeks after Congress approved a U.S. spending plan to avoid a government shutdown that will help avert furloughs of meat inspectors. Cattle also rose.

Hog futures for June settlement climbed 1.2 percent to close at 89.55 cents a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the biggest gain for the most-active contract since March 7. The price has climbed 4.5 percent this year.

Cattle futures for June delivery rose 0.1 percent to $1.22 a pound. The price has dropped 7.8 percent this year.

Feeder-cattle futures for May settlement advanced 0.4 percent to $1.40475 a pound.

SOFT COMMODITIES

Cotton futures fell to a one-week low on signs that farmers will plant more of the crop than expected in the U.S., the world’s biggest exporter. Sugar also dropped, while coffee, orange juice and cocoa gained.

Cotton for May delivery slumped 1 percent to 88.2 cents a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York after touching 87.96 cents, the lowest level since March 13. Prices are down 6.1 percent since reaching an 11-month high on March 15.

Also in New York, raw-sugar futures for delivery in May fell 0.8 percent to 18.21 cents a pound.

Arabica-coffee futures for May delivery climbed 0.1 percent to $1.3375 a pound, the second straight gain.

Orange-juice futures for delivery in May advanced 1.8 percent to $1.3755 a pound on ICE, while cocoa futures for May delivery jumped 0.7 percent to $2,166 a ton.

GRAINS

Soybeans jumped the most in four weeks because of shipping delays in Brazil, forecast to become the world’s biggest exporter. Corn climbed, and wheat declined.

Soybean futures for delivery in May gained 2.1 percent to settle at $14.49 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since Feb. 19.

Corn futures for May delivery rose 0.1 percent to $7.33 a bushel. The price has climbed for six straight sessions, the longest rally in two months.

Wheat futures for May delivery fell 1 percent to $7.2875 a bushel. Yesterday, the price reached $7.37, the highest since Feb. 21.

Bloomberg News

 

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