Oil climbed a second day as the U.S. increased pressure on Iran to halt its nuclear program and improving American economic data bolstered optimism that fuel demand will grow.
Crude oil for April delivery rose 52 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $107.59 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices have advanced 8 percent in the past year.
Brent oil for April settlement climbed $1.93, or 1.6 percent, to $124.59 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark contract’s premium to New York-traded West Texas intermediate oil widened for a second day to $17. The spread reached a record $27.88 on Oct. 14.
Crude oil futures: NI CRMKTS
Gold futures rebounded from the biggest decline of the year, tracking gains in metals and energy, after economic reports signaled improving prospects for the U.S. Silver also advanced.
Gold futures for April delivery gained 0.3 percent to $1,716.90 an ounce on the Comex in New York. Earlier, prices fell as much as 0.9 percent to $1,695.10.
Silver futures for May delivery rose 0.9 percent to $34.945 an ounce, after tumbling 6.9 percent yesterday.
Precious metal markets: NI PCMKTS
Copper rose in New York, rebounding from the biggest drop in more than a week, as stronger growth in Chinese manufacturing bolstered the outlook for demand.
Copper futures for May delivery rose 0.9 percent to $3.915 a pound on the Comex in New York. Prices slid 1.1 percent yesterday, the most since Feb. 17.
On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months rose 1.2 percent to $8,598.50 a ton ($3.90 a pound).
Zinc fell in London, while aluminum, lead, nickel and tin advanced.
Base metals markets: NI BMMKTS
Sugar fell to a one-week low on signs of ample supplies from Brazil, the world’s largest producer. Coffee slid, and cocoa gained.
Raw sugar for May delivery declined 1.4 percent to 24.67 cents a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. Earlier, the price touched 24.45 cents, the lowest for a most-active contract since Feb. 23.
Cocoa futures for May delivery climbed 1 percent to $2,358 a ton in New York.
Arabica-coffee futures for May delivery dropped 0.6 percent to $2.02 a pound.
In London futures trading, refined sugar fell, while cocoa and robusta coffee rose on NYSE Liffe.
Soft commodities markets: NI SOMKTS
Natural gas extended losses as a government report showed a decline in inventories that was smaller than forecast.
Natural gas for April delivery fell 16.8 cents, or 6.4 percent, to $2.448 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The futures are down 18 percent this year.
U.K. summer gas declined for a third day, its longest losing streak since January, as mild weather suppressed demand and increased flows from liquefied fuel terminals boosted supply.
The summer contract, for the six months from April, was 1.8 pence lower trading at 58.2 pence a therm in London, according to broker data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s equal to $9.29 a million British thermal units. A therm is 100,000 Btu.
U.K. natural gas: NI NUKMKT Gas market: NI GASMARKET Americas natural gas: NI AGASMARKET European natural gas: NI EGASMARKET
Soybeans fell from a five-month high and corn snapped a six-session rally on speculation that rains will halt yield deterioration in South America and begin to replenish depleted soil moisture in the U.S. Midwest.
Soybean futures for May delivery fell 0.3 percent to $13.1575 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. A close at that price would be the first decline since Feb. 16. Yesterday, the oilseed touched $13.2425, the highest for the most-active contract since Sept. 21.
Corn futures for May delivery fell 0.9 percent to $6.52 a bushel in Chicago, heading for the first drop in seven sessions. Yesterday, the grain touched $6.615, the highest since Jan. 9.
Grain markets: NI GRMKTS
Gasoline gained as first-time jobless claims matched a four-year low from two weeks ago, indicating the U.S. labor market may be strengthening and fuel demand may rise as the U.S. driving season approaches.
Gasoline for April delivery rose 4.61 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $3.3033 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices touched $3.304, a nine-month high.
April-delivery heating oil gained 1.26 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $3.2185 a gallon on the exchange.
Regular gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, rose 0.7 cent to $3.738 a gallon yesterday, according to AAA data. Prices have increased 14 percent this year.
Oil Products Europe: NI OPEMKT Gasoline: NI GASOLINE Heating oil: NI HEATOIL
Hog futures fell for the third time in four sessions on speculation demand for U.S. pork is slowing. Cattle prices were little changed.
Hog futures for April settlement slid 0.8 percent to 88.7 cents a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. A close at that level would send prices down 1.1 percent this week. Before today, the commodity had risen 6.1 percent this year.
Cattle futures for April delivery rose less than 0.1 percent to $1.298 a pound in Chicago.
Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement declined 0.1 percent to $1.5702 a pound on the CME.
Livestock markets: NI LVMKTS
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at email@example.com