Grains, Soybeans Surge on Tighter Supplies: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 raw materials rose 0.7 percent to settle at 688.71 at 4:07 p.m. New York time, led by grains.

The UBS Bloomberg CMCI Index of 26 prices advanced 1.2 percent to 1,603.89.

GRAINS, OILSEEDS

Corn surged the most in 21 months, wheat posted the biggest gain since October and soybeans rallied after government forecasts signaled tighter U.S. crop supplies, renewing concerns that food inflation will quicken.

Corn inventories on March 1 fell more than analysts forecast to the lowest for this time of year since 2004, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a report. Wheat reserves dropped to a three-year low, and planting intentions trailed estimates. Farmers will sow 73.902 million acres with soybeans this year, down 1.4 percent from 2011 and the lowest in five years, the agency said after surveying farmers.

On the Chicago Board of Trade, corn futures for May delivery jumped by the exchange limit of 40 cents, or 6.6 percent, to $6.44 a bushel, the highest since June 30, 2010.

Wheat futures for May delivery soared 7.9 percent to $6.6075 a bushel, the biggest gain since Oct. 11.

Soybean futures for May delivery increased 3.5 percent to $14.03 a bushel, the largest advance since Oct. 11.

CRUDE OIL

Crude oil climbed after reports showed U.S. consumer sentiment and spending rose, and President Barack Obama cleared the way for new sanctions targeting Iran.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, oil futures for May delivery rose 0.2 percent to $103.02 a barrel.

Brent oil for May settlement gained 0.4 percent to $122.88 a barrel on the London- based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

BP Plc sold North Sea Forties at the biggest discount to dated Brent in two months, while Royal Dutch Shell Plc failed to buy a shipment of the blend at the highest premium in nearly two weeks. There’s a 10-day gap between the loading dates of the two cargoes.

Two more cargoes of Forties crude for loading in April were dropped, bringing total cancellations for next month to three shipments, according to four people with knowledge of the export program. No bids or offers were made for Russian Urals in Europe for the second straight day.

OIL PRODUCTS

Gasoline had the biggest quarterly gain in a year on speculation that refinery closures and seasonal repairs will trim supplies of summer-grade fuel in the eastern U.S. at a time when demand typically rises.

On the Nymex, gasoline futures for April delivery fell 0.3 percent to $3.3899 a gallon.

Heating-oil futures for April delivery rose 0.3 percent to $3.1684 a gallon.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold futures rose as the dollar’s decline bolstered demand for the precious metal as an alternative investment.

On the Comex in New York, gold futures for June delivery rose 1 percent to $1,671.90 an ounce.

Silver futures for May delivery increased 1.5 percent to $32.484 an ounce.

On the Nymex, platinum futures for July delivery climbed 1 percent to $1,644.10 an ounce.

Palladium futures for June delivery advanced 1.5 percent to $654.10 an ounce.

BASE METALS

Copper futures rose, capping the biggest quarterly gain since 2010, on signs of economic expansion in the U.S., the world’s second-biggest consumer of the metal.

On the Comex, copper futures for May delivery advanced 0.8 percent to $3.825 a pound.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months rose 1.1 percent to $8,445 a metric ton ($3.83 a pound.)

Lead, tin and nickel also advanced in London. Aluminum and zinc fell.

SOFT COMMODITIES

Coffee rose for the first time in three days on speculation that the biggest quarterly price slump in 12 years will spur demand from processors.

On ICE Futures U.S. in New York, arabica coffee for May delivery jumped 3.4 percent to $1.8245.

Raw-sugar futures for May delivery rose 0.4 percent to 24.71 cents a pound.

Cocoa futures for May delivery dropped 0.2 percent to $2,219 a metric ton.

Cotton futures for May delivery declined less than 0.1 percent to 93.52 cents a pound.

Orange-juice futures for May delivery fell 1.6 percent to $1.645 a pound.

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas dropped, extending a slump to the lowest in 10 years, as slack demand and record production contribute to a ballooning inventory surplus.

On the Nymex, gas futures for May delivery declined 1.1 percent to $2.126 per million British thermal units, the lowest settlement since Feb. 6, 2002. In the first quarter, the price tumbled 29 percent, the most in two years.

U.K. summer gas rose on speculation that heating demand will rise next week and flows from Norway will drop.

The contract climbed 0.95 pence to 61.7 pence a therm at 4:45 p.m. in London, according to broker prices compiled by Bloomberg. That’s equal to $9.97 per million Btu. A therm is 100,000 Btu.

LIVESTOCK

Hog futures rose for the first time in three sessions on speculation that demand may rebound after U.S. pork prices dropped to a 14-month low.

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, hog futures for June settlement advanced 0.4 percent to 90.4 cents a pound.

Cattle futures for June delivery declined 2 percent to $1.1615 a pound.

Feeder-cattle futures for May settlement dropped 1.8 percent to $1.49125 a pound.

----With assistance from Ben Farey, Sherry Su and Tony C. Dreibus in London; Jeff Wilson and Elizabeth Campbell in Chicago; Naureen S. Malik, Debarati Roy, Mark Shenk, Aaron Clark and Marvin G. Perez in New York. Editors: Thomas Galatola, Patrick McKiernan

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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