Oil rose for a third day as signs of an improving U.S. economy and progress on a bailout for Greece bolstered the outlook for fuel demand.
Crude for March delivery rose as much as 64 cents to $102.95 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $102.84 at 4:01 p.m. Singapore time. Prices yesterday rose 51 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $102.31, the highest close since Jan. 4. They are up 4.2 percent this week, the most since the period ended Dec. 23, and have gained 19 percent from a year ago.
The premium of gasoil, or diesel, to Asian marker Dubai crude fell $1.59 to $15.19 a barrel at 12 p.m. Singapore time, according to data from PVM Oil Associates Ltd., a broker. This crack spread, a measure of refining profit, is the narrowest since Sept. 15. It has shrunk 15.4 percent so far this week.
Gasoil swaps for March were unchanged after declining to $132.60 a barrel, PVM said. Jet fuel was unchanged for a third day at 75 cents a barrel below gasoil. This regrade has been negative since Jan. 16, indicating it is unprofitable to produce aviation fuel over diesel.
March high-sulfur fuel oil swaps increased $9.75, or 1.4 percent, to $731 a metric ton, the highest since July 21, 2008, according to PVM. Prices are set for an eighth weekly advance in nine weeks.
Fuel oil slid 9 cents to $4.94 a barrel below Dubai crude, the largest discount since Dec. 15, PVM data showed. The difference has widened 70 percent this week, signaling increased losses for refiners turning oil into residual products.
March naphtha swaps climbed $12.25, or 1.2 percent, to $1,036 a ton, the highest since May 5, according to PVM. The petrochemical feedstock is poised for a second weekly gain.
Bullion for immediate delivery gained 0.2 percent to $1,732.13 an ounce by 9:36 a.m. in London. Prices are up 0.6 percent this week. Gold for April delivery was 0.3 percent higher at $1,733.70 on the Comex in New York.
Silver for immediate delivery was little changed at $33.4925 an ounce. It’s the best-performing precious metal this year, up 20 percent.
Copper advanced for the first time in six days as industrial metals gained after better-than-expected economic data from the U.S. spurred optimism that demand may improve in the world’s largest economy.
Three-month copper increased as much as 1.4 percent to $8,419.75 a metric ton, and traded at $8,390 by 3:21 p.m. Shanghai time. The contract lost 1.1 percent this week for a second weekly decline. May-delivery copper on the Comex climbed 0.7 percent to $3.8265 a pound.
GRAINS, SOFT COMMODITIES
Wheat for May delivery gained 0.5 percent to $6.3825 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade at 2:37 p.m. Singapore time, taking gains for the most-active contract to 1.3 percent this week. Corn for May delivery climbed 0.4 percent to $6.4225 a bushel in Chicago, taking gains for the most-active contract to 1.7 percent this week. months, it said.
Soybeans for May-delivery rose 0.5 percent to $12.71 a bushel. The most-active contract is set for a 3.4 percent gain this week, the biggest since the five days ended Oct. 14.
Palm oil climbed to the highest level in almost three months as signs of U.S. economic recovery boosted optimism that demand will increase for raw materials.
The May-delivery contract rose as much as 2.1 percent to 3,255 ringgit ($1,069) a metric ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange, the highest level since Nov. 21, and was at 3,248 ringgit at 4:16 p.m. in Kuala Lumpur. Futures have risen 3.7 percent this week, the best weekly gain in almost two months.
Cattle futures reached a record as rising wholesale prices and forecasts for warmer-than-usual weather indicate increasing demand. Hogs rose to a two-week high.
Cattle futures for April delivery gained 0.6 percent to $1.2965 a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, after reaching $1.30275, the highest for a most-active contract since the commodity started trading in 1964. Prices have gained 6.8 percent in 2012.
Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement advanced 0.1 percent to $1.56825 a pound in Chicago, after earlier reaching a record $1.576.
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