Oil traded near the highest close in two weeks after the International Monetary Fund boosted its growth outlook and a Spanish debt sale raised more than planned, easing concern an economic slowdown will curb crude demand.
Crude for May delivery was at $104.42 a barrel, up 22 cents, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 1:52 p.m. Singapore time. The contract yesterday gained 1.2 percent to $104.20, the highest close since April 2. Prices are 5.7 percent higher this year.
Natural gas futures extended their losses after settling at a 10-year low yesterday on forecasts for above-normal temperatures that may reduce demand for the heating fuel.
The premium of gasoil, or diesel, to Asian marker Dubai crude fell 18 cents to $16.15 a barrel at 12:35 p.m. Singapore time, according to data from PVM Oil Associates Ltd., a broker. This crack spread, a measure of processing profit, narrowed for the first time in three days. Gasoil swaps for May declined 45 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $131.35 a barrel, PVM said. That’s the lowest since Feb. 14.
High-sulfur fuel oil swaps for May slid $2.25, or 0.3 percent, to $718.75 a metric ton, according to PVM. That’s the lowest since Feb. 8. Fuel oil was unchanged after rising to $4.55 a barrel below Dubai crude, PVM data showed. That was the smallest discount in nine weeks, signaling reduced losses for refiners turning oil into residual products.
Gold may climb for the first time in four days in London on concern that further stimulus by central banks will spur demand for the metal as a protection of wealth.
Bullion for immediate delivery rose 0.1 percent to $1,650.85 an ounce by 9:34 a.m. in London. June-delivery futures were little changed at $1,651.40 on the Comex in New York.
Copper rose for a second day in London on speculation demand will improve in China, the biggest global consumer of the metal.
GRAINS, SOFT COMMODITIES
Corn may decline for a fourth straight day as a U.S. government report showed planting in the country was ahead of the prior five-year average.
Corn for delivery in July fell as much as 0.2 percent to $6.06 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, the lowest price for the most-active contract since March 30. Futures were little changed at $6.07 at 3:06 p.m. Singapore time.
Soybeans for July delivery lost 0.2 percent to $14.28 a bushel. Wheat for delivery in the same month gained 0.4 percent to $6.225 a bushel.
Rubber increased by the most in two months after Spain sold more debt than targeted and the International Monetary Fund raised economic forecasts, easing concerns demand may slow for the commodity used in tires.
September-delivery rubber advanced as much as 3.2 percent, the most since Feb. 17, to 312.3 yen a kilogram ($3,839 a metric ton) before settling at 311.9 yen on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange.
Palm oil prices declined on speculation that the 13 percent advance since the end of January will deter importers and on expectations that production may increase this month in Malaysia, the second-largest supplier.
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