Silver, Oil Rise on Greek Debt Investors: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials climbed 0.7 percent to 697.62 as more investors signed on to a Greek debt swap, bolstering optimism that the European economy will rebound. Silver, crude oil and gasoline led the gain.

The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 prices rose 0.1 percent to 1,613.191 at 5:09 p.m. in New York.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold rebounded from a five-week low amid renewed optimism that Greece will be able to tame its debt crisis and as a report showed increased U.S. hiring.

Investors with holdings amounting to at least 58 percent of the Greek bonds eligible for the nation’s debt swap have indicated they’ll participate, moving the country closer to the biggest sovereign restructuring in history. U.S. companies added 216,000 workers last month, according to data based on payrolls from ADP Employer Services. Yesterday, gold declined to $1,663.40 an ounce, the lowest level since Jan. 25.

Gold futures for April delivery gained 0.7 percent to settle at $1,683.90 at 1:59 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Prices retreated 2.9 percent in the previous three sessions.

Silver futures for May delivery gained 2.4 percent to $33.585 an ounce in New York. Yesterday, prices slid to $32.49, the lowest since Jan. 25. It’s the best-performing precious metal this year, with a gain of 20 percent.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, palladium futures for June delivery rose 2 percent to $685.35 an ounce. Platinum futures for April delivery climbed 1 percent to $1,627.30 an ounce.

CRUDE OIL

Oil rose from a two-week low as the Greek news bolstered optimism that the European economy will rebound. An Energy Department report showed that U.S. crude supplies increased last week while stockpiles of gasoline, diesel and heating oil fell.

Crude oil for April delivery rose $1.46, or 1.4 percent, to settle at $106.16 a barrel on the Nymex. Prices are up 7.4 percent this year.

Brent oil for April settlement increased $2.14, or 1.8 percent, to end the session at $124.12 a barrel on the London- based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

OIL PRODUCTS

Gasoline rose for the first time in five days on the ADP employment figures and the Greek debt swap.

Gasoline for April delivery rose 5.75 cents, or 1.8 percent, to settle at $3.2874 a gallon on the Nymex. Prices have gained 22 percent this year, making gasoline the best performer in the Standard & Poor’s GSCI index of 24 commodities.

April-delivery heating oil rose 3.12 cents, or 1 percent, to $3.2194 a gallon on the exchange. Prices are up 9.7 percent this year.

GRAINS, OILSEEDS

Corn fell the most since mid-January and soybeans declined from a five-month high on speculation that farmers took advantage of last month’s rally by boosting sales to makers of livestock feed, biofuel and food.

Before today, soybeans in Chicago jumped 15 percent since Jan. 13, and corn gained 9.1 percent as hot, dry weather reduced crop yields in South America. Rain will aid crops in parts of Argentina and eastern Brazil during the next week with dry conditions expanding in parts of western Brazil, World Weather Inc. said in a report today. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will update its world supply and demand forecasts on March 9.

Corn futures for May delivery dropped 2.3 percent to close at $6.3875 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, the largest drop since Jan. 12. On March 5, the price touched $6.6525, the highest level since Nov. 9.

Soybean futures for May delivery slid 0.6 percent to $13.2675 a bushel in Chicago, after reaching $13.39, the highest level since Sept. 21.

Wheat futures tumbled the most since mid-January on speculation that rains in the next week will improve the condition of winter crops in the U.S. Great Plains as they emerge from dormancy.

Parts of the Plains may receive as much as 0.75 inch (1.9 centimeters) of rain tomorrow, and storms over the weekend and next week may bring additional moisture, World Weather Inc. said today in a report. Areas of central Kansas and northern Oklahoma had as much as double the normal amount of rain in the past 60 days, while precipitation has been below normal in the last two weeks, National Weather Service data show.

Wheat futures for May delivery plunged 2.8 percent to settle at $6.3925 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the CBOT, the biggest drop since Jan. 12. Earlier, the price touched $6.365, the lowest level for a most-active contract since Feb. 27.

SOFT COMMODITIES

Coffee futures in New York extended a slump to a 16-month low on signs of ample global supplies. Sugar and cocoa also slid.

An Indonesian coffee group said that the nation’s production may rise as much as 38 percent to 11 million bags in the year starting in April. Output in Brazil, the world’s biggest producer, is heading for a record high.

Arabica coffee for May delivery fell 2.3 percent to settle at $1.886 a pound at 2 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. Earlier, the price touched $1.862, the lowest level for a most-active contract since Oct. 19, 2010. The price has tumbled 33 percent in the past 12 months.

Raw-sugar futures for May delivery dropped 0.5 percent to 23.92 cents a pound. Earlier, the price touched 23.82, the lowest level since Feb. 21.

Cocoa futures for May settlement slid 0.3 percent to $2,277 a metric ton. Earlier, the price touched $2,260, the lowest level since Feb. 14.

In London futures trading, robusta coffee and cocoa rose, while refined sugar retreated on NYSE Liffe.

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas futures settled at a 10-year low in New York as the fourth-warmest U.S. winter on record crimped demand for the heating fuel while record production boosted stockpiles.

Gas, down 23 percent this year, is the worst performer on the Standard & Poor’s GSCI commodity index. The lower 48 states experienced the warmest weather from December through February since 2000, according to the National Climatic Data Center. A supply surplus at the end of February was the widest in almost six years.

Natural gas for April delivery fell 5.4 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $2.302 per million British thermal units on the Nymex, the lowest settlement price since Feb. 15, 2002. Futures on Jan. 23 dropped to a 10-year intraday low of $2.231.

U.S. inventories totaled 2.513 billion cubic feet in the week ended Feb. 24, according to Energy Department data. Supplies were 45 percent above the five-year average for the week, the biggest gap since June 2006.

BASE METALS

Copper rebounded from a two-week low after the ADP report showed increased U.S. hiring and stockpiles of the metal dropped. Inventories tracked by the London Metal Exchange are were at the lowest level since July 2009 today.

Prices have gained 9.6 percent this year as an improving U.S. growth outlook signaled rising commodity demand.

Copper futures for May delivery climbed 0.8 percent to settle at $3.767 a pound at 1:16 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Prices declined 4.9 percent in the previous three sessions on signs that economic growth is cooling in China, the world’s top consumer.

On the LME, copper for three-month delivery advanced 0.1 percent to $8,295 a metric ton ($3.76 a pound).

Inventories tracked by the LME have slumped 24 percent this year.

Also in London, nickel, zinc and lead increased, while aluminum and tin retreated.

LIVESTOCK

Hog futures rose for the first time this week on speculation that U.S. shoppers will purchase pork instead of costlier beef. Cattle prices dropped.

Wholesale-pork prices have dropped 7 percent in the past year, while beef climbed 14 percent, government data show.

Hog futures for April settlement rose 0.7 percent to settle at 87.35 cents a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. In the previous two days, prices dropped 4 percent, including a 3 percent plunge yesterday that was the biggest loss since June 27. The commodity has advanced 3.6 percent this year.

Cattle futures for April delivery fell 0.2 percent to settle at $1.25575 a pound on the CME, after reaching $1.2515, the lowest level since Jan. 13. The price has slumped for four straight sessions, paring this year’s gain to 3.4 percent.

Feeder-cattle futures for April settlement increased 0.2 percent to $1.56425 a pound in Chicago.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lynn Doan in San Francisco at ldoan6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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