Oil, Natural Gas, Gold Rise; Cocoa Falls: Commodities at Close
The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 prices increased 0.6 percent to 1,625.992.
Natural gas climbed in New York after Chesapeake Energy Corp. said it has reduced production by “a bit more” than it the 500 million cubic feet a day it had previously announced, and reiterated plans to lower output by as much as 1 billion.
Natural gas for March delivery rose 2.9 cents, or 1.2 percent, to settle at $2.477 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Gasoline surged to a five-month high as Greece approved measures to ward off default, easing concern that European demand may decline, while refinery shutdowns increased speculation that supplies may be curtailed.
Gasoline for March delivery rose 3.76 cents, or 1.3 percent, to settle at $3.0128 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest price since Aug. 31.
March-delivery heating oil rose 1.9 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $3.2085 a gallon on the exchange.
Regular gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, rose 0.5 cent to $3.488 yesterday, according to AAA data. Prices were 12 percent higher than a year earlier.
Cocoa futures fell to a one-month low on signs that more exporters will participate in forward sales by the government in Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest producer. Sugar rose, and arabica coffee slid.
Souleymane Diarrassouba, a representative of the Ivorian Coffee and Cocoa Council, said that shippers and local officials resolved issues on industry reforms. On Jan. 30, cocoa tumbled 5.2 percent the most in 10 months, after forward sales were announced.
Cocoa for May delivery dropped 1.5 percent to settle at $2,244 a metric ton at 12:09 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York.
Raw-sugar futures for March delivery rose 0.2 percent to 24.53 cents a pound on ICE. Earlier, the price reached 24.89 cents, the highest level since Jan. 26. The commodity has climbed 5.3 percent this year.
Arabica-coffee futures for March delivery tumbled 1.8 percent to $2.16 a pound, the biggest drop since Jan. 23.
In London futures, cocoa fell and robusta coffee and refined sugar advanced on NYSE Liffe.
Wheat futures tumbled the most in four weeks after the U.S. government said world stockpiles may climb to a record, signaling ample supply and lower food prices. Corn and rice also dropped.
Inventories of wheat on May 31, before the next harvest, will climb to 213.1 million metric tons, 1.5 percent more than estimated last month, the government said. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had expected a drop. Wheat prices are down 27 percent in the past year as countries including India and Australia produce record crops, helping send global food costs down 9.9 percent from a record last February.
Wheat futures for March delivery fell 2.2 percent to settle at $6.46 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest decline since Jan. 12. In the previous three weeks, the commodity climbed 9.7 percent on concern that crops would be damaged in eastern Europe.
Corn futures for March delivery slid 0.9 percent to close at $6.37 a bushel in Chicago, the biggest drop since Jan. 30. The price is still up 4.8 percent since the end of November as hot, dry weather threatened crops in South America.
Soybeans fell from a three-month high on speculation that reduced output in South America may not result in increased demand for U.S. supplies.
Soybean futures for March delivery fell 0.3 percent to close at $12.275 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, capping the first three-day decline since Jan. 13.
Hog prices climbed the most in more than a week on speculation that demand for U.S. pork will increase. Cattle fell for the first time in four days.
Slaughterhouses processed 1.681 million hogs this week, up 1.9 percent from a week earlier, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Wholesale-pork prices are up 2.3 percent from an 11- month low on Jan. 11, after a gain last week that was the biggest since September, according to the USDA.
Hog futures for April settlement rose 0.8 percent to settle at 89.65 cents a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. That marks the biggest gain for a most-active contract since Feb. 1. The commodity has gained 6.3 percent this year.
Cattle futures for April delivery fell 0.5 percent to settle at $1.282 a pound in Chicago.
Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement fell less than 0.1 percent to $1.5515 a pound.
The USDA increased its forecast of domestic beef production this year to 25.2 billion pounds (11.4 million metric tons), up 0.6 percent from last month’s forecast, the agency said in a report today. That would still leave output down 4.1 percent from 2011.
Gold futures rose after Greek politicians agreed on austerity measures needed to qualify for a second international bailout, boosting prospects for the global economy and commodity demand.
Euro-region finance ministers will meet to discuss the 130 billion-euro ($173 billion) lifeline. The European Central Bank left its benchmark interest rate at a record low, and President Mario Draghi signaled the economic outlook has improved. Gold has climbed 28 percent in the past year as governments increased stimulus measures to shore up economies, increasing demand for the metal as a hedge against inflation.
Gold futures for April delivery rose 0.6 percent to settle at $1,741.20 an ounce at 1:37 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The price reached a record $1,923.70 in September.
Silver futures for March delivery gained 0.6 percent to $33.917 an ounce.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for April delivery declined 50 cents to $1,667.60 an ounce. Palladium futures for March delivery fell 0.6 percent to $711.30 an ounce.
Copper climbed to the highest level in almost five months as Greek leaders struck a deal that may help stem Europe’s debt crisis and U.S. jobless claims unexpectedly fell, signaling improved prospects for metals demand.
Copper futures for March delivery jumped 1.8 percent to settle at $3.9785 a pound at 1:23 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Earlier, the metal reached $3.9895, the highest price since Sept. 16.
On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months gained 2.1 percent to $8,760 a metric ton ($3.97 a pound).
LME stockpiles fell 0.9 percent to 313,600 tons, the lowest since September 2009.
Aluminum, lead, nickel and zinc also gained in London. Tin was unchanged.
Oil capped its longest rally this year as the number of Americans filing first-time unemployment claims unexpectedly declined and Greek political leaders struck a deal on a package of austerity measures.
Futures advanced 1.1 percent after the Labor Department said applications for jobless benefits decreased 15,000 in the week ended Feb. 4 to 358,000. The Greek government reached the agreement required for a 130 billion-euro ($173 billion) financing package, according to an e-mailed statement from Prime Minister Lucas Papademos’s office in Athens.
Crude for March delivery gained $1.13 to $99.84 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement in three weeks. Prices are up 1 percent this year. The three-day rally is the longest since a streak ended Dec. 27.
Brent oil for March settlement rose $1.39, or 1.2 percent, to end the session at $118.59 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange.
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