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Copper Tumbles on Greek Financial Crisis: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials tumbled the most in three weeks, by 1 percent to 673.37, at 4 p.m. New York time on concern that a Greek bailout plan will unravel. Metals led the decline.

The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 prices dropped 1.2 percent to 1,605.682.

BASE METALS

Copper fell the most in two months on signs that a Greek debt-bailout plan may unravel and as imports of the metal declined in China, the world’s largest user.

European finance ministers held back a rescue package for Greece, fueling concern that the continent’s sovereign-debt crisis will hinder the global economy. Copper shipments to China fell in January, the first drop in eight months, while inventories monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange advanced for the ninth straight week to a record.

Copper futures for March delivery fell 2.9 percent to settle at $3.862 a pound at 1:13 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest decline for a most-active contract since Dec. 14.

Aluminum, zinc, nickel, lead and tin also declined in London. An LME gauge of the six industrial metals fell 3 percent, the most in two months.

GRAINS, OILSEEDS

Wheat fell the most in four weeks after the U.S. government yesterday projected record world stockpiles, easing concerns that food prices will rise and weather damage will cut supply.

Global stockpiles before the 2012 Northern Hemisphere harvest will climb to 213.1 million metric tons, 6.2 percent more than last year, the Department of Agriculture said. World food costs are down 9.9 percent from a record last year, United Nations data show. Wheat prices fell 4.7 percent this week after jumping 11 percent in the second half of January on concern that cold weather would hurt crops in Europe.

Wheat futures for March delivery tumbled 2.5 percent to settle at $6.30 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest one-day drop since Jan. 12 and the largest weekly decline since December.

Corn futures for March delivery fell 0.8 percent to close at $6.3175 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The commodity dropped 2 percent this week after the U.S. projected record-high inventories of wheat, which is also used in animal feed.

Soybean futures for March delivery rose 0.1 percent to $12.29 a bushel.

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas futures in New York capped their second weekly decline as cuts planned by producers of the fuel may not be enough to reduce a U.S. surplus.

Gas has dropped 17 percent this year. Chesapeake Energy Corp., the second largest U.S. producer, reiterated plans yesterday to cut output by as much as 1 billion cubic feet a day. Gas supplies last week were about 33 percent above the five-year average amid record output and mild weather during the heating fuel’s biggest season.

Natural gas for March delivery settled unchanged at $2.477 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The futures, which fell 0.9 percent this week, are the worst performer this year on the Standard & Poor’s GSCI commodity index.

OIL PRODUCTS

Gasoline and heating oil fell as commodities and equities retreated on concern that Greek’s bailout was unraveling.

Gasoline for March delivery fell 3.79 cents, or 1.3 percent, to settle at $2.9749 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

March-delivery heating oil declined 2.64 cents, or 0.8 percent, to settle at $3.1821 a gallon on the exchange. Prices rose 2.2 percent this week, the third consecutive weekly gain, and are up 8.4 percent since Jan. 1.

Regular gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, rose 0.9 cent to $3.497 yesterday, according to AAA data. Prices have risen 21.9 cents, or 6.7 percent, this year.

SOFT COMMODITIES

Cocoa futures fell, capping the biggest weekly slump in two months, on speculation that exports will climb from Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest shipper. Coffee dropped and sugar rose.

Cocoa exporters reached an agreement with local authorities on industry reforms after complaints that the changes were unfair and lacked clarity, Souleymane Diarrassouba, who serves on the board of administration of the Coffee and Cocoa Council, said Feb. 8.

Cocoa for May delivery slumped 3.7 percent to close at $2,161 a metric ton at 12:07 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. The commodity tumbled 6 percent this week, the most since Dec. 9.

Arabica-coffee futures for May delivery dropped 0.4 percent to $2.174 a pound in New York. This week, the price rose 0.7 percent.

Raw-sugar futures for July delivery climbed 0.1 percent to 23.25 cents a pound.

In London futures trading, cocoa and refined sugar retreated, while robusta coffee rose.

LIVESTOCK

Cattle futures fell to the lowest price in more than three weeks on signs that demand for U.S. beef is slowing. Hog prices dropped.

Meatpackers processed an estimated 596,000 cattle this week, down 4.6 percent from the same period a year earlier, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Wholesale beef slipped 0.1 percent yesterday to $1.8632 a pound, the first decline this week, government data show. Slaughterhouses may be slowing purchases as cattle futures rose 14 percent since the end of June, while meat prices advanced 4.5 percent.

Cattle futures for April delivery fell 1.1 percent to close at $1.268 a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The commodity dropped 0.5 percent for the week, paring this year’s gain to 4.4 percent.

Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement dropped 1 percent to $1.53625 a pound in Chicago.

Hog futures for April settlement declined 1.5 percent to close at 88.3 cents a pound on the CME. That marks the biggest loss for the most-active contract since Jan. 26. The commodity has gained 4.7 percent this year.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold fell, capping the first weekly loss this year, after European finance ministers held back on approving a rescue package for Greece.

Gold futures for April delivery dropped 0.9 percent to settle at $1,725.30 an ounce at 1:46 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Prices dropped 0.9 percent this week, the first such loss since Dec. 30.

Silver futures for March delivery fell 0.9 percent to $33.604 an ounce, capping a second straight weekly drop.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for April delivery declined 0.5 percent to $1,659.80 an ounce. Palladium futures for March delivery retreated 1.2 percent to $703.05 an ounce, the biggest loss since Jan. 24.

CRUDE OIL

Oil dropped from a three-week high as euro-area finance ministers refused to approve a rescue package for Greece.

Crude oil for March delivery decreased $1.17 to settle at $98.67 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices increased 0.8 percent this week and are up 14 percent in the past year.

Brent oil for March settlement fell $1.28, or 1.1 percent, to $117.31 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lynn Doan in San Francisco at ldoan6@bloomberg.net

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

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