Corn Falls; Crude Oil Declines; Gas Slides: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities fell 0.1 percent to 667.87 at 5:18 p.m. Singapore time. The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 raw materials dropped 0.4 percent to 1,606.406 yesterday.

CRUDE OIL

Oil traded near a two-day low in New York on speculation fuel demand may falter as Europe struggles with its debt crisis and stockpiles increase in the U.S., the world’s biggest crude consumer.

Oil for March delivery was at $97.12 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up 21 cents, at 4:02 p.m. Singapore time. Yesterday, the contract fell 93 cents to $96.91, the lowest settlement since Feb. 2. Prices have declined 1.7 percent this year.

NATURAL GAS

Natural-gas futures rose for a second day in New York as forecasts showed colder weather moving across the U.S., signaling increased demand for the heating fuel.

OIL PRODUCTS

High-sulfur fuel oil swaps for March increased $15.25, or 2.2 percent, to $718.50 a metric ton at 11:30 a.m. Singapore time, according to data from PVM Oil Associates Ltd., a broker. That’s the highest since July 22, 2008.

Naphtha’s premium to London-traded Brent crude futures slid 45 cents to $97.13 a ton, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. This crack spread, a measure of refining profit, is down a sixth day, the longest decline since October.

Benchmark naphtha swaps were unchanged after rising to $971 a ton, according to PVM. The petrochemical feedstock is up 7.3 percent so far this year.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold advanced for the first time in three days on concern that a potential default by Greece may fuel demand for haven assets as leaders of the European nation struggled to agree to the terms of a second bailout.

Bullion for immediate delivery gained as much as 0.5 percent to $1,728.73 an ounce, and traded at $1,727.32 at 12:58 p.m. in Mumbai. Gold for April delivery gained 0.3 percent to $1,729.40 an ounce on the Comex in New York.

BASE METALS

Copper declined for a second day on concern that any further worsening of Europe’s debt crisis could slow down economic growth in China, the largest consumer, damping demand for metals.

Three-month delivery copper dropped as much as 0.8 percent to $8,430 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, before trading at $8,450 by 2:52 p.m. Shanghai time. March-delivery copper on the Comex fell 0.6 percent to $3.84 a pound. to the report.

GRAINS, SOFT COMMODITIES, LIVESTOCK

Corn dropped for a second day as a survey showed that farmers in the U.S., the world’s largest grower, will plant the most acres since 1944, offsetting crop losses from a drought in South America.

Corn for March delivery fell as much as 0.7 percent to $6.40 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. It traded at $6.4275 at 3:43 p.m. in Singapore.

Soybeans declined for the first time in six days, snapping the longest winning streak since Dec. 27, as analysts expected acreage in the U.S., the largest grower and exporter, to rise 0.4 percent to 75.309 million acres, the fifth-most ever.

The March-delivery contract dropped 0.2 percent to $12.30 a bushel, erasing an earlier gain of 0.5 percent.

Wheat for March delivery declined 0.2 percent to $6.67 a bushel, after advancing 1.2 percent yesterday on speculation that cold weather in France, Germany and Ukraine will damage dormant crops.

Cotton for March delivery dropped less than 0.1 percent to settle at 96.31 cents a pound yesterday on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. The fiber, which climbed 3.3 percent in the previous three sessions, plunged 37 percent in 2011 as demand waned in China, the world’s top consumer.

Orange-juice futures for March delivery advanced less than 0.1 percent to close at $2.015 a pound on ICE. The commodity rose to a record $2.2695 on Jan. 23.

Arabica-coffee futures for March delivery rose 1.3 percent to close at $2.188 a pound on ICE. Cocoa futures for March delivery declined 1.6 percent to $2,263 a ton in New York.

Hog futures for April settlement fell 0.4 percent to settle at 88.55 cents a pound yesterday on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The most-active contract has dropped 2 percent in three sessions, the longest slump since late December. The price has climbed 5 percent this year.

Cattle futures for April delivery rose 0.1 percent to $1.275 a pound. Earlier, the price touched $1.27, the lowest since Jan. 19. The commodity has climbed 5 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christian Schmollinger in Singapore at christian.s@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alexander Kwiatkowski at akwiatkowsk2@bloomberg.net

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