Crude Oil, Metals Lead Gain; Wheat Drops: Commodities at Close
The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 raw materials fell for a second day by 0.1 percent to 1,623.891 at 4:41 p.m.
Oil rose after the U.S. Energy Department said that crude inventories dropped 1.16 million barrels last week.
Futures climbed 1.1 percent as the report showed supplies fell for the first time in five weeks and imports decreased. Stockpiles were forecast to gain 2.2 million barrels, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. Crude declined 2.3 percent yesterday after Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said the kingdom can boost output by 25 percent.
Crude oil for May delivery increased $1.20 to settle at $107.27 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices have risen 8.5 percent this year.
Brent oil for May settlement rose 8 cents to $124.20 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Gasoline retreated after the Energy Department reported weaker fuel demand for last week.
Futures slipped as demand fell 0.4 percent to 8.38 million barrels a day even as gasoline stockpiles contracted a fifth straight week. Fuel use over the past four weeks was 7.8 percent below a year earlier.
Gasoline for April delivery fell 0.6 cent to settle at $3.3571 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures have surged 25 percent this year, the best performance in the GSCI index.
Heating oil for April delivery fell 2.05 cents, or 0.6 percent, to settle at $3.2162 a gallon. Prices have gained 9.6 percent this year.
Gasoline: NI GASOLINE
Heating oil: NI HEATOIL
Copper rose for the second time in three days in New York as signs that the housing market is stabilizing in the U.S., the second-biggest consumer of the metal, buoyed the outlook for demand.
Copper futures for May delivery climbed 0.4 percent to settle at $3.8455 a pound at 1:15 p.m. on the Comex in New York, after yesterday declining the most in two weeks. The metal has gained 12 percent this year.
Zinc, aluminum, nickel, and tin fell in London. Lead advanced.
Base metals markets: NI BMMKTS
Gold rose on speculation that demand will increase when jewelry shops end a five-day shutdown tomorrow in India, the world’s largest buyer, and as Federal Reserve Chairman said higher oil prices may stoke inflation.
Jewelers are protesting tax increases the government announced last week that may raise retail-gold prices by 6.3 percent. There may be pent-up demand from the closures, Edel Tully, an analyst at UBS AG in London, wrote today in a report. Rising fuel prices “create at least short-term inflation pressures,” Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said today during congressional testimony.
Gold futures for April delivery rose 0.2 percent to settle at $1,650.30 an ounce at 1:37 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The metal, which reached an eight-week low of $1,634.70 on March 14, has rallied 5.3 percent this year.
Silver futures for May delivery gained 1.2 percent to $32.227 an ounce on the Comex. Prices are up 15 percent this year.
Precious metal markets: NI PCMKTS
Orange-juice futures declined to an 11-week low on signs of increasing supplies from Brazil, the world’s top grower, and reduced concern that citrus crops in Florida will be hurt by frost. Cotton rose.
The U.S. International Trade Commission voted last week to remove duties on Brazilian imports that were first ordered in March 2006. Global inventories of orange juice held by the three biggest producers will more than double on June 30 from a year earlier, a Brazil industry group said on March 19. Futures have slumped 25 percent from a record on Jan. 23.
Orange juice for May delivery tumbled 4 percent to close at $1.698 a pound at 1:46 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, after touching $1.684, the lowest for a most-active contract since Jan. 3.
Cotton futures for May delivery added 0.5 percent to 88.31 cents a pound on ICE. The commodity has tumbled 60 percent from a record $2.197 on March 7, 2011.
Soft commodities markets: NI SOMKTS
Corn fell, capping the biggest three-day drop since January, on speculation that rising U.S. ethanol stockpiles will slow demand for the grain. Wheat fell. Soybeans rose.
Ethanol inventories rose 3 percent to a record 22.7 million barrels in the week ended March 16, up 13 percent from a year earlier, the Energy Department said. Production of the biofuel fell to 893,000 barrels a day last week, compared with 913,000 a year earlier. The amount of ethanol blended with gasoline fell 0.6 percent last week from a week earlier, the department said.
Corn for May delivery dropped 0.8 percent to close at $6.42 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, down 4.6 percent since March 16, the biggest three-day slide since Jan. 13. Earlier, the commodity reached $6.415, the lowest since March 9.
Wheat fell to the lowest level in more than a week on signs that rains in the U.S. Great Plains are improving prospects for winter crops that recently emerged from dormancy.
Wheat futures for May delivery dropped 1 percent to settle at $6.3625 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. The most- active contract is down 2.5 percent this year.
Soybeans rose for the first time this week on speculation that reduced output in South America will force Chinese importers to buy more from the U.S., the world’s largest grower.
Soybean futures for May delivery rose 0.7 percent to close at $13.55 a bushel at on the Chicago Board of Trade.
Grain markets: NI GRMKTS
Cattle futures rose for the first time in six sessions on speculation that U.S. meat demand will rebound as warmer weather may encourage more outdoor grilling. Hogs dropped.
Cattle futures for June delivery rose 0.4 percent to settle at $1.2195 a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The price dropped 2.7 percent in the previous five sessions.
Feeder-cattle futures for May settlement climbed 0.4 percent to $1.544 a pound on the CME.
Hog futures for June settlement dropped 0.5 percent to 92.2 cents a pound in Chicago. The price slid 2.5 percent in the previous five sessions.
Livestock markets: NI LVMKTS
Natural gas closed higher in New York after trading in a narrow range amid speculation that inventories rose last week, signaling an early end to the heating season.
Gas climbed 1.1 percent. Most of the lower 48 states will see above-normal temperatures through March 30, according to the National Weather Service. A government report tomorrow may show that U.S. gas stockpiles increased in the week ended March 16, which would be the earliest injection after the heating season since 2007.
Natural gas for April delivery gained 2.5 cents to settle at $2.36 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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