Gold Futures Decline to Eight-Week Low: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials fell 0.8 percent to 703.02 at 4 p.m. in New York, led by precious metals.

The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 prices declined 0.7 percent to 1,628.03

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold tumbled to an eight-week low on speculation that the Federal Reserve will refrain from offering additional stimulus as the economy recovers.

The Fed yesterday raised its economic assessment and said the labor market is improving, reducing expectations that the central bank will begin buying more bonds.

Gold futures for April delivery fell 3 percent to $1,642.90 an ounce on the Comex in New York,, the biggest drop for a most- active contract since Feb. 29. Earlier, the price touched to $1,639.20, the lowest since Jan. 17.

Silver futures for May delivery slumped 4.2 percent to $32.181 an ounce, the biggest decline since Feb. 29. Earlier, the metal touched $31.65, the lowest since Jan. 25.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, palladium futures for June delivery declined 1.6 percent to $697.45 an ounce. Platinum futures for April delivery fell 1.6 percent to $1,675.30 an ounce.

BASE METALS

Copper dropped the most in a week on concern that demand will ease after China, the world’s biggest consumer of industrial metals, affirmed plans to prevent a housing bubble.

On the Comex, copper futures for May delivery dropped 1.4 percent to $3.848 a pound, the largest decline since March 6.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months slid 1.1 percent to $8,465 a ton ($3.84 a pound)

Aluminum, zinc, lead and tin declined in London, while nickel gained.

CRUDE OIL

Crude oil dropped after inventories at Cushing, Oklahoma, climbed to the highest in nine months, and Saudi Arabia pledged to make up for any supply shortage.

On the Nymex, oil futures for April delivery declined 1.2 percent to $105.43 a barrel.

Brent oil for April settlement fell 0.8 percent to $125.15 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Glencore International Plc sold Russian Urals blend in northwest Europe at the lowest price in 10 months. Statoil ASA sought to sell North Sea Forties crude without success.

Iraq will ship 18 cargoes of Basrah Light grade from the Persian Gulf in the second half of March, four more than the first half of this month, a loading program obtained by Bloomberg News shows.

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas declined amid forecasts for warmer-than-normal weather through the end of the month that may limit demand for the heating fuel.

On the Nymex, gas futures for April delivery fell 0.7 percent to $2.284 per million British thermal units.

U.K. gas for next-day delivery rose for the second straight day as colder-than-forecast weather boosted demand.

Gas rose as much as 1.3 pence to 60.4 pence a therm and was at 59.6 pence at 4:31 p.m. London time. That’s equivalent to $9.36 per million Btu. A therm is 100,000 Btu.

OIL PRODUCTS

Gasoline declined after a U.S. government report showed that demand fell sank from a year earlier, and the dollar’s rally reduced the investment appeal of commodities.

On the Nymex, gasoline futures for April delivery fell 0.2 percent to $3.347 a gallon.

Heating-oil futures for April delivery dropped 0.3 percent to $3.2618 a gallon.

GRAINS, OILSEEDS

Wheat fell the most in a week on speculation that crop conditions in the U.S. Great Plains will improve as warm weather and rains in the next two weeks accelerate growth.

On the Chicago Board of Trade, wheat futures for May delivery slid 0.8 percent to $6.4375 a bushel.

Soybean futures for May delivery climbed 0.1 percent to $13.5025 a bushel. Earlier, the price reached $13.6075, the highest since Sept. 16.

Corn futures for May delivery slid 0.5 percent to $6.5875 a bushel.

SOFT COMMODITIES

Cotton fell the most in a week as speculation mounted that global supplies will outpace demand.

On ICE Futures U.S. in New York, cotton for May delivery fell 1 percent to 87.14 cents a pound, the biggest drop since March 7.

Orange-juice futures for May delivery advanced 1.1 percent to $1.878 a pound.

Arabica-coffee futures for May delivery slid 1.4 percent to $1.836 a pound.

Raw-sugar futures for May delivery climbed 1.3 percent to 24.44 cents a pound.

Cocoa futures for May delivery tumbled 2.4 percent to $2,314 a metric ton.

LIVESTOCK

Cattle declined for the first time in three sessions on signs of increasing U.S. supplies and slowing demand for beef.

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, cattle futures for June delivery declined 0.7 percent to $1.239 a pound.

Feeder-cattle futures for May settlement fell 0.2 percent to $1.5875 a pound.

Hog futures for June settlement dropped 0.5 percent to 94.55 cents a pound.

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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