Oil Rises; Hog Futures Decline; Gas Climbs: Commodities at Close
Oil for April delivery increased as much as 60 cents to $107.15 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $106.98 at 3:22 p.m. Singapore time. The contract yesterday slipped $2.01, or 1.9 percent, to $106.55, the lowest close since Feb. 22 and the biggest drop since Jan. 20. Prices are 8.6 percent higher this month and up 10 percent in the past year.
The premium of gasoil, or diesel, to Asian marker Dubai crude slid 3 cents to $14.90 a barrel at 11:30 a.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 Jan. 11. It is down 20 percent so far in February, the most since April 2009.
Naphtha’s premium to London-traded Brent crude futures fell $18.45 to $127.80 a metric ton, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. This crack spread is headed for the first monthly decline in three months. March naphtha swaps lost $14, or 1.3 percent, to $1,048 a ton, based on PVM data. The petrochemical feedstock is down for a second day, the longest losing streak in four weeks.
Gold climbed to the highest level in more than three months as investors sought alternatives to a weaker dollar before the European Central Bank’s allocation of funds to the region’s lenders. Silver reached a five-month high.
Spot gold rose as much as 0.4 percent to $1,790.57 an ounce, the most expensive since Nov. 14, and was at $1,787.25 at 2:17 p.m. in Singapore. Bullion is 2.9 percent higher in February, heading for a second monthly gain, and up 14 percent this year.
Copper rose for a fourth day, poised for a second monthly advance, after data showed confidence among U.S. and European consumers was better than expected, indicating signs of improving growth prospects.
The metal for delivery in three months climbed as much as 0.5 percent to $8,644.50 per metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, after losing 0.6 percent. The contract traded at $8,641.50 by 3:57 p.m. Shanghai time, and has climbed 3.9 percent this month and 14 percent this year. The Comex May contract climbed 0.4 percent to $3.936 per pound.
GRAINS, SOFT COMMODITIES
Palm oil headed for the biggest monthly gain in more than a year as lower output in Malaysia may pare stockpiles, while increased tightness in global oilseed markets drives a rally in soybeans, which produce a rival oil.
The May-delivery contract fell as much as 1.1 percent to 3,260 ringgit ($1,087) a metric ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange, before trading at 3,262 ringgit at 11:44 a.m. in Kuala Lumpur. The drop snapped a four-day rally that saw prices reach the highest since June 9, while paring the monthly advance to 6 percent. That’s still the best performance since December 2010. Soybeans were headed for the biggest monthly advance in more than a year on signs of a second global annual shortage as drought wilted crops in Brazil and Argentina.
The May-delivery contract was little changed at $13.115 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade at 3:27 p.m. in Singapore, after climbing to $13.1475 yesterday, the highest level for the most-active contract since Sept. 22. Futures are set for a 9.4 percent gain this month, the most since December 2010.
Corn for May delivery was little changed at $6.57 a bushel, trimming the monthly gain for the most-active contract to 2.7 percent. Wheat for delivery in the same month was little changed at $6.6975 a bushel.
Hog futures slumped to the lowest prices this month on signs that demand for pork in the U.S. is slowing. Cattle prices also declined.
Wholesale pork has fallen 7 percent from a year earlier, dropping to 85.64 cents a pound yesterday, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show.
Hog futures for April settlement fell 0.7 percent to settle at 88.025 cents a pound yesterday on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, after reaching 87.75 cents, the lowest for the most- active contract since Jan. 31. The commodity has gained 4.4 percent this year.
Cattle futures for April delivery dropped 0.3 percent to $1.28275 a pound in Chicago. Earlier, the price reached $1.27925, the lowest for a most-active contract since Feb. 14. Prices are up 5.6 percent this year. Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement slipped 0.4 percent to $1.5575 a pound on the CME.
Cotton for May delivery rose 1.7 percent to settle at 92.24 cents a pound yesterday on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, the biggest increase since Feb. 3. The contract has rallied 3.4 percent in three sessions.
Orange-juice futures for May delivery climbed 1.5 percent to $1.8395 a pound on ICE. The price has gained 8.8 percent this year.
Raw sugar for May delivery dropped 0.9 percent to close at 25.33 cents a pound yesterday on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. The price climbed in the previous eight sessions, the longest rally since November 2010. Yesterday, the price reached 25.81 cents, the highest for a most-active contract since Nov.
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