Gas Rises for Fourth Day on Output Cuts: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials climbed 0.4 percent to close at 661.51 at 4 p.m. in New York, led by natural gas and precious metals.

The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 prices gained 0.6 percent to 1,597.396.

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas climbed for a fourth day in New York, the longest winning streak since November, on speculation a supply glut may ease as Chesapeake Energy Corp., the second-largest U.S. producer, cuts output.

Gas gained 6.9 percent, rallying 22 percent after dipping to $2.231 per million British thermal units on Jan. 23, the lowest intraday price since February 2002. Chesapeake said this week it would “immediately curtail” production of 500 million cubic feet a day as mild winter weather contributed to the biggest gas surplus in more than two years.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, gas for February delivery rose 17.5 cents to settle at $2.729 per million British thermal units. The futures are down 8.7 percent this year.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold climbed to a six-week high after the Federal Reserve said it sees “exceptionally low” interest rates through at least late 2014. Silver, platinum and palladium also advanced.

On the Comex, gold futures for April delivery climbed 2.1 percent to settle at $1,703 an ounce, the highest close for a most-active contract since Dec. 9.

Silver futures for March delivery in New York jumped 3.6 percent to $33.121 an ounce. Earlier, prices touched $33.32, the highest since Dec. 2.

On the Nymex, platinum futures for April delivery advanced 1.8 percent to $1,579.60 an ounce. Palladium futures for March delivery climbed 1.9 percent to $693.35 an ounce.

BASE METALS

Copper futures rose to a four-month high after Federal Reserve officials said their benchmark U.S. interest rate will stay low at least until late 2014, bolstering prospects for metal demand.

The Fed extended its pledge to keep rates low at least until the middle of 2013 as inflation remains tame. The dollar erased earlier gains against a basket of major currencies, increasing demand for raw materials as alternatives investments.

On the Comex, copper futures for March delivery rose 0.6 percent to settle at $3.8295 a pound, the highest settlement for a most active contract since Sept. 16.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months rose 0.3 percent to $8,384 a metric ton ($3.80 a pound).

Aluminum, zinc, lead, nickel and tin also climbed in London.

GRAINS, OILSEEDS

Wheat futures rose to the highest in almost three weeks on speculation that demand will increase for U.S. exports as supplies decline in Russia.

Russia’s grain shipments will have a “dramatic” slowdown through June because the three major-exporting provinces have shipped most of their supplies, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. About 17.1 million bushels of U.S. wheat were inspected for export in the week ended Jan. 19, 27 percent more than a week earlier, the USDA said on Jan. 23.

On the Chicago Board of Trade, wheat futures for March delivery rose 1.2 percent to settle at $6.4125 a bushel. Earlier, the price touched $6.4975, the highest for a most- active contract since Jan. 5.

Corn futures for March delivery rose 0.7 percent to close at $6.345 a bushel.

OIL PRODUCTS

Gasoline surged to the highest level since September on speculation that refinery closures and production unit shutdowns will reduce inventories on the U.S. East Coast.

Futures rose as Hess Corp. (HES) said it may shut the fluid catalytic cracker at its gasoline-making Port Reading refinery in New Jersey for repairs. Two Pennsylvania refineries have shut, as well as a refinery in the Virgin Islands that serves the Eastern U.S.

On the Nymex, gasoline for February delivery rose 2.88 cents, or 1 percent, to settle at $2.8338 a gallon.

February-delivery heating oil fell 0.5 cent to settle at $3.0192 a gallon on the exchange.

CRUDE OIL

Oil rose after Federal Reserve officials said the U.S. benchmark interest rate will stay low until at least 2014 to bolster growth and cut unemployment, boosting fuel demand.

Futures advanced 0.5 percent as the Federal Open Market Committee extended its previous pledge to keep rates low at least until the middle of 2013. The Energy Department reported that total fuel consumption increased 7.5 percent to 19.2 million barrels a day in the week ended Jan. 20.

On the Nymex, crude oil for March delivery rose 45 cents to settle at $99.40 a barrel. Futures dropped to $97.53 early in the session. Prices are up 15 percent from a year earlier.

Brent oil for March settlement declined 22 cents to end the session at $109.81 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

LIVESTOCK

Hog prices rose for the second time this week on speculation that demand for U.S. pork will climb. Cattle futures settled unchanged after reaching a record high for the seventh time this month.

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, hog futures for April settlement rose 0.4 percent to close at 88.225 cents a pound. Prices have climbed 4.7 percent this year and are 1.3 percent higher than a year ago.

Cattle futures for April delivery closed unchanged at $1.29175 a pound in Chicago after touching $1.29675, the highest for the most-active contract since the commodity started trading on the CME in 1964. Prices are up 16 percent in the past year.

SOFT COMMODITIES

Raw-sugar futures fell the most in almost two weeks in New York as producers sold to capitalize on the recent rally. Coffee dropped, while cocoa rose.

Global sugar supplies will outpace demand by 6 million metric tons in the season started in October, according to Rabobank International. Before today, the sweetener had climbed 6.8 percent in January.

Raw sugar for March delivery fell 1.5 percent to settle at 24.51 cents a pound at 2 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S., the biggest drop since Jan. 12. This year, the sweetener has risen 5.2 percent, after plunging 27 percent in 2011.

Arabica-coffee futures for March delivery slid 1.5 percent to close at $2.172 a pound in New York, extending this month’s drop to 4.3 percent.

Cocoa futures for March delivery rose 0.4 percent to $2,422 a metric ton on ICE, the third consecutive increase. The chocolate ingredient has surged 15 percent this year. Earlier the price touched $2,456, the highest for a most-active contract since Nov. 22.

In London futures trading, refined sugar fell, while cocoa and robusta coffee advanced on NYSE Liffe.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christine Buurma in New York at cbuurma1@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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