Energy, Crops Lead Raw Materials Lower: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials fell 1.5 percent to 674.42 at 3:56 p.m. in New York, led by energy and crops.

The UBS Bloomberg CMCI Index of 26 prices declined 1.8 percent to 1,573.38.

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas tumbled to a 10-year low as forecasts for mild weather across the eastern U.S. starting next week signaled reduced fuel demand.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, gas futures dropped 3.6 percent to $2.031 per million British thermal units, the lowest settlement since Jan. 29, 2002.

U.K. prices declined as liquefied natural gas was released from storage amid forecasts for a return to sub-zero temperatures in London this week.

Gas for next month fell 0.5 percent to 58.1 pence a therm at 4:15 p.m. London time. That’s equivalent to $9.20 per million Btu. A therm is 100,000 Btu.

CRUDE OIL

Crude oil dropped to an eight-week low on forecasts that U.S. supplies rose to the highest for this time of year since 1990 and as equities fell on concern that the European debt crisis will escalate.

On the Nymex, oil futures for May delivery fell 1.4 percent to $101.02 a barrel, the lowest settlement since Feb. 14.

Brent oil for May settlement dropped 2.2 percent to $119.97 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Chevron Corp. bought two North Sea Forties crude cargoes at higher prices, bringing its total purchases for April-loading shipments to three. No bids or offers were made for Russian Urals in Europe.

BP Plc resumed operation at its Valhall oil and gas field in the Norwegian North Sea after maintenance.

OIL PRODUCTS

Gasoline dropped to a five-week low on speculation that demand will fall after pump prices climbed.

On the Nymex, gasoline futures for May delivery fell 1.4 percent to $3.2496 a gallon.

Heating-oil futures for May delivery dropped 1.6 percent to $3.0957 a gallon.

GRAINS, OILSEEDS

Wheat fell as global stockpiles were forecast to reach the highest in 11 years and favorable weather boosts crops in the southern U.S. Great Plains.

On the Chicago Board of Trade, wheat futures for May delivery dropped 2.7 percent to $6.2575 a bushel.

Corn futures for May delivery slid 2.2 percent to $6.3475 a bushel, the biggest drop since March 29.

Soybean futures for May delivery dropped 0.3 percent to $14.26 a bushel.

SOFT COMMODITIES

Orange-juice futures plunged to a 17-month low as speculators unwound bullish bets and U.S. consumer demand dwindled.

On ICE Futures in New York, orange juice for May delivery fell 3.8 percent to $1.4695 a pound. Earlier, the price touched $1.4365, the lowest for a most-active contract since Oct. 14, 2010.

Cocoa futures for July delivery declined 2.3 percent to $2,070 a metric ton.

Raw-sugar futures for July delivery dropped 1.9 percent to 23.16 cents a pound.

Cotton futures for May delivery rose 0.3 percent to 89.73 cents a pound.

Arabica-coffee futures for May delivery climbed 0.1 percent to $1.7815 a pound.

BASE METALS

Copper futures fell to a 12-week low as import demand declined in China, the world’s largest user of industrial metals.

On the Comex in New York, copper futures for May delivery dropped 1.9 percent to $3.65 a pound. Earlier, the price touched $3.645, the lowest for a most-active contract since Jan. 17.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months slid 4 percent to $8,030 a ton ($3.64 a pound). Aluminum, lead, nickel, zinc and tin also declined.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold climbed to a one-week high as concern that Europe’s debt sovereign debt woes are deepening spurred demand for a haven.

On the Comex, gold futures for June delivery rose 1 percent to $1,660.70 an ounce, the biggest jump since March 30. Earlier, the price reached $1,664.80, the highest since April 3.

Silver futures for May delivery advanced 0.5 percent to $31.679 an ounce.

On the Nymex, platinum futures for July delivery fell 1.5 percent to $1,593.70 an ounce. Palladium futures for June delivery declined 1.1 percent to $636.85 an ounce.

LIVESTOCK

Hog prices dropped on signs of increasing supplies of pork in the U.S.

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, hog futures for June settlement declined 0.3 percent to 93.35 cents a pound.

Cattle futures for June delivery slid 1.3 percent to $1.143 a pound.

Feeder-cattle futures for August settlement dropped 0.5 percent to $1.503 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: Patrick McKiernan at pmckiernan@bloomberg.net

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