Oil climbed from the lowest price in more than two weeks on forecasts that gasoline supplies are falling and employment is increasing in the U.S., the world’s biggest consumer of crude.
Oil for April delivery rose as much as 68 cents to $105.38 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $105.06 at 3:08 p.m. Singapore time. The contract yesterday fell $2.02 to $104.70 a barrel, the lowest close since Feb. 17. Prices are 6.4 percent higher this year.
Natural gas futures were steady near a six-week low in New York as forecasts for warmer-than-usual weather across most of the U.S. over the next two weeks signaled reduced demand for the heating and power-plant fuel.
The premium of gasoil, or diesel, to Asian marker Dubai crude rose 40 cents to $15.67 a barrel at 11:15 a.m. Singapore time, according to data from PVM Oil Associates Ltd., a broker. This crack spread, a measure of refining profit, is the widest in two weeks. Gasoil swaps for April fell 25 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $134.45 a barrel, PVM said.
April high-sulfur fuel oil swaps lost $5.25, or 0.7 percent, to $735 a metric ton, according to PVM. Prices are down for the sixth time in seven days. Fuel oil dropped 16 cents to $5.70 a barrel below Dubai crude, PVM data showed. That’s the biggest discount in four days, indicating widening losses for refiners turning oil into residual products.
Gold may decline for a fourth day in the worst run this year as concern resurfaced that Europe’s debt crisis will slow economic growth, eroding the investment appeal of commodities and equities. Silver fell.
Spot gold traded little changed at $1,673.26 an ounce at 2:46 p.m. Singapore time, paring gains of as much as 0.3 percent earlier. The metal fell to $1,663.30 yesterday, the lowest since Jan. 25. Bullion assets in exchange-traded products gained to 2,406.313 metric tons yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Gold lost 2.6 percent in the past three days as the dollar rose 1.3 percent against a six-currency basket. to chart support levels.
Copper slumped for a fourth day, the longest losing streak in more than two weeks, on signs that slowing global economies will erode demand for raw materials.
The metal for three-month delivery fell as much as 0.6 percent to $8,240.50 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange and traded at $8,274.50 by 4:40 p.m. in Tokyo. The metal touched $8,221 yesterday, the lowest level since Feb. 20. The Comex May- delivery contract was 0.6 percent higher at $3.7600 a pound after losing 3.2 percent yesterday.
GRAINS, SOFT COMMODITIES
Soybeans fell as concerns that global economic growth may slow and Greece may miss a debt-swap deal deadline damped investor demand for commodities.
The May-delivery contract declined 0.2 percent to $13.3275 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade at 3:27 p.m. in Singapore. Corn for May delivery was little changed at $6.5375 a bushel, while wheat for delivery in the same month was unchanged at $6.5775 a bushel.
Palm oil for delivery in May reversed losses to gain as much as 0.4 percent to 3,257 ringgit a ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange, and was at 3,252 ringgit at 4:23 p.m. in Kuala Lumpur. The price reached at one-year low of 2,754 ringgit on Oct. 6, and then rallied as drought in South America cut soybean supplies. Futures last reached 4,000 ringgit in March 2008, closing above that price on only five days ever. report.
Arabica-coffee futures for May delivery tumbled 4.3 percent to settle at $1.9305 a pound yesterday on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, the biggest decline since Oct. 25. Earlier, the price touched $1.9255, the lowest for a most-active contract since Oct. 20, 2010.
Cotton futures for May delivery dropped 0.9 percent to settle at 91.42 cents a pound yesterday on ICE in New York. The fiber has plunged 58 percent from a record $2.197 reached in March last year.
Orange-juice futures for May delivery sank 1.2 percent to $1.8985 a pound on ICE, snapping a five-session rally. The commodity rose to a record $2.2695 on Jan. 23.
Raw-sugar futures for May delivery slid 2.6 percent to settle at 24.05 cents a pound at 2 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, marking the biggest drop for a most-active contract since Feb. 9. The price is up 3.2 percent this year. Cocoa futures for May delivery closed steady at $2,283 a metric ton.
Cattle futures dropped the most since early December on signs that U.S. beef demand is slowing after prices rallied. Hogs fell the most since June.
Cattle futures for April delivery dropped 2 percent to settle at $1.25775 a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the biggest decline since Dec. 5. Earlier, the price reached $1.2575, the lowest since Jan. 13. Feeder-cattle futures for April settlement dropped 1.8 percent to $1.56125 a pound in Chicago.
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