Natural Gas Tumbles 7.7% on Supply Surplus: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials fell 0.1 percent to close at 660.68 at 3:45 p.m. in New York

The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 prices dropped 0.2 percent at 1,585.61.

NATURAL GAS

Natural-gas futures fell, posting the biggest January loss in three years, as forecasts for milder weather and increased production signaled no end to a glut of the heating fuel.

Gas futures for March delivery fell 7.7 percent to $2.503 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the biggest percentage decline since Oct. 1, 2009. The monthly drop of 16 percent was the most for a January since 2009.

U.K. summer gas fell for a second day as forecasters predicted milder weather, which may curb demand for the heating fuel and leave inventories brimming.

Gas for summer slipped as much as 1.25 pence to 54.95 pence a therm, according to broker data compiled by Bloomberg. It was at 55.35 pence a therm at 4:15 p.m. in London. That’s equal to $8.73 a million Btu. A therm is 100,000 Btu.

BASE METALS

Copper fell for the third straight session after U.S. reports showed unexpected declines in consumer confidence and business this month, damping the outlook for metal demand.

Copper futures for March delivery fell 1 percent to $3.79 a pound on the Comex in New York. The metal dropped 1.9 percent in the previous two sessions.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months fell 1.3 percent to $8,320 a metric ton ($3.77 a pound). Nickel, aluminum, zinc and lead fell in London. Tin gained.

SOFT COMMODITIES

Cocoa rebounded from the biggest drop in 10 months on speculation that dry weather in West Africa will hurt crops, leaving a deficit for the season ending Sept. 30. Sugar, coffee and orange juice declined. Cotton rose.

Cocoa for March delivery rose 0.5 percent to $2,291 a ton on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. Yesterday, prices plunged 5.2 percent on a report that Ivory Coast will start selling beans before the next harvest season begins in October.

Raw-sugar futures for March delivery dropped 0.9 percent to 23.64 cents a pound in New York.

Arabica-coffee futures for March delivery fell 0.7 percent to $2.1505 a pound on ICE.

Orange juice for March delivery advanced 0.1 percent to settle at $2.10 a pound at 2 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York.

Cotton futures for March delivery fell 1 percent to 93.25 cents a pound in New York.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold had its biggest January rally in 29 years on signs that Greece may be nearer to reaching a debt plan.

Gold futures for April delivery gained 0.3 percent to $1,740.40 an ounce on the Comex, after reaching $1,750.60, the highest price since Dec. 8. Prices climbed 11 percent this month, the biggest January gain since 1983.

Silver futures for March delivery retreated 0.8 percent to $33.262 an ounce on the Comex, after touching $34.13, the highest since Nov. 16.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for April delivery declined 1.7 percent to $1,588.10 an ounce. Palladium futures for March delivery fell 0.3 percent to $686.35 an ounce.

OIL PRODUCTS

Gasoline futures rose, capping the biggest monthly gain since April, on concern that reduced refining capacity will limit supplies as the summer demand season approaches.

On the Nymex, gasoline futures for February delivery climbed 0.6 percent, to $2.8874. Prices rose 7.5 percent this month.

Heating oil for February delivery rose 0.4 percent to $3.0628 a gallon.

GRAINS, OILSEEDS

Wheat futures rose the most in five weeks on speculation that persistent dry weather in the U.S. Great Plains will hurt crops emerging from winter dormancy in the next two months.

Wheat futures for March delivery jumped 3.3 percent to $6.66 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since Dec. 27. The price climbed 2 percent in January, a second straight monthly increase.

Corn futures for March delivery rose 1.1 percent to $6.39 a bushel, the biggest gain since Jan. 24.

Soybean futures for March delivery rose 1.2 percent to $11.99 a bushel, the biggest gain since Jan. 24.

LIVESTOCK

Hog futures climbed the most in three months on speculation that U.S. pork demand is increasing. Cattle prices also rose, and feeder cattle climbed to a record.

Hog futures for April settlement rose 2 percent to close at 88.875 cents a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the biggest gain for the most-active contract since Oct. 14.

Cattle futures for April delivery rose 0.6 percent to $1.28575 a pound in Chicago. This month, the price climbed 5.9 percent, the biggest January gain since 2002.

Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement advanced 0.8 percent to $1.55525 a pound. Earlier, the price reached a record $1.558.

CRUDE OIL

Oil fell for a third day as U.S. equities dropped after an unexpected decline in consumer confidence in January. The Conference Board’s confidence index decreased to 61.1 from a revised 64.8 reading in December.

Oil futures for March delivery dropped 0.3 percent to $98.48 a barrel on the Nymex. Prices slipped 0.4 percent this month.

Vitol Group sold a cargo of North Sea Forties at a lower price on a ship-to-ship basis, the first of this type of transfer in a year. Royal Dutch Shell Plc failed to sell Russian Urals crude in northwest Europe.

Shell said it lifted force majeure, a legal clause allowing it to miss shipments, on Bonny Light crude loadings in Nigeria yesterday after completing repairs to the Nembe Creek Trunkline, which shut last month following leaks.

To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Galatola in New York at tgalatola@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net

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