Natural Gas Jumps as Encana to Cut Output: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials rose 0.3 percent to settle at 688.44 at 3:50 p.m. in New York, led by natural gas.

The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 prices declined 0.2 percent to 1,608.19.

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas surged, capping the biggest two-day gain since October, after Encana Corp., Canada’s top producer, said it will scale back output.

Encana plans to cut North American supply by as much as 600 million cubic feet a day. Gas tumbled 16 percent in January after plunging 32 percent in 2011.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, gas futures for March delivery gained 4.6 percent to $2.684 per million British thermal units, Yesterday, the price jumped 5.9 percent, bringing the two-day gain to 11 percent, the most since late October.

U.K. gas rose on forecasts for a return of freezing weather that may boost demand for the heating fuel.

Gas for delivery on Feb. 20 climbed 0.5 pence to 57.9 pence a therm at 4:53 p.m. London time, according to broker data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s equivalent to $9.16 per million Btu. A therm is 100,000 Btu.

CRUDE OIL

Crude oil climbed to a nine-month high as signs of an improving U.S. economy and progress on a bailout for Greece bolstered the outlook for fuel demand.

On the Nymex, oil futures for March delivery rose 0.9 percent to $103.24 a barrel, the highest settlement since May 10.

Brent oil for April settlement dropped 0.4 percent to $119.58 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Earlier, the contract reached $120.70, the highest since June 15.

OAO Lukoil failed to sell Russian Urals at a higher price. No bids or offers were made for North Sea Forties for the second straight day.

Reported North Sea trading typically occurs during the Platts window, which ends at 4:30 p.m. London time. Before the session, Forties loading in 10 to 25 days was $1.08 a barrel more than dated Brent, down from yesterday’s four-month high of $1.10, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The grade was last sold at a premium of $1.05 a barrel to the benchmark on Feb. 15, the highest since Sept. 27.

LIVESTOCK

Cattle jumped to a record for the 10th time this year as rising demand for U.S. beef tightens supply and increases costs for restaurants.

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, cattle futures for April delivery rose 1 percent to $1.309 a pound. Earlier, the price reached $1.31275, the highest for a most-active contract since the commodity started trading on the CME in 1964.

Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement gained 1 percent to $1.58425 a pound. Earlier, the commodity advanced to a record $1.5905.

Hog futures for April settlement rose 0.2 percent to 90.375 cents a pound.

GRAINS, OILSEEDS

Soybeans rose to the highest price in almost five months after China purchased a record amount from the U.S., the world’s top producer.

On the Chicago Board of Trade, soybean futures for May delivery climbed 0.7 percent to $12.7375 a bushel. Earlier, the price reached $12.795, the highest since Sept. 23.

Corn futures for May delivery rose 0.9 percent to $6.4525 a bushel.

Wheat futures for May delivery climbed 2 percent to $6.4775 a bushel.

SOFT COMMODITIES

Orange-juice futures rose the most in three weeks after a U.S. regulator denied a request to permit a higher concentration of a banned fungicide in imports temporarily.

On ICE Futures in New York, orange juice for March delivery climbed 1.5 percent to $1.878 a pound, the biggest gain since Jan. 27.

Cotton futures for May delivery dropped 1.1 percent to 92.65 cents a pound.

Cocoa for May delivery declined 2.5 percent to $2,345 a metric ton.

Raw-sugar futures for May delivery gained 0.2 percent to 23.77 cents a pound.

Arabica-coffee futures for May delivery gained 0.6 percent to $2.0235 a pound, ending a seven-session slump.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold futures fell for the first time in three days as progress on a bailout for Greece eroded the appeal of the precious metal as a haven.

On the Comex in New York, gold futures for April delivery fell 0.1 percent to $1,725.90 an ounce. The price rose 0.6 percent in the previous two days.

Silver futures for March delivery dropped 0.5 percent $33.216 an ounce.

On the Nymex, platinum futures for April delivery rose 0.5 percent to $1,633.90 an ounce.

Palladium futures for March delivery fell 1.2 percent to $688.10 in New York.

OIL PRODUCTS

Gasoline fell for the first time in three days as Brent crude slipped and a rise in U.S. consumer prices boosted concern that demand for the fuel may decline.

On the Nymex, gasoline for March delivery fell 1 percent to $3.0156 a gallon.

Heating-oil futures for March delivery fell 0.6 percent to $3.1889 a gallon on the exchange.

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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