Oil traded near the highest level in almost four weeks, heading for a monthly gain, as signs of economic revival in the U.S. and Asia bolstered the outlook for global crude demand.
Crude for June delivery was at $104.92 a barrel, down 1 cent, on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 3:16 p.m. Singapore time. The contract advanced 0.4 percent to $104.93 on April 27, the highest close since April 2. Prices are 1.8 percent higher this month and up 6.2 percent this year.
Natural gas futures in New York dropped after rising on April 27 because of forecasts for colder-than-normal weather that was expected to boost heating demand.
Naphtha’s premium to London-traded Brent crude futures was at $92.86 a metric ton at 12:37 p.m. Singapore time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. This crack spread , a measure of processing profit, has shrunk 27 percent so far this month, the most since a 53 percent loss in October.
Naphtha swaps for May were down $1 at $994 a ton, according to data from PVM Oil Associates Ltd., a broker. Prices are headed for a second monthly decrease.
Gasoil, or diesel, swaps for May were unchanged after rising to $132.85 a barrel, according to PVM. Prices are set for the first monthly drop this year. Gasoil’s premium to Asian marker Dubai crude fell 47 cents to $16.43 a barrel, PVM data showed. The difference, also known as the crack spread, is poised to widen for a second month.
Gold may climb for a fifth day for the best run since January as concern that the European debt crisis is deepening boosts haven demand. The precious metal is still set for the longest run of monthly losses in 12 years.
Spot gold was little changed at $1,664.86 an ounce at 2 p.m. in Singapore, after gaining 1.5 percent in the final four days of last week. Bullion remains poised for a third month of losses, the longest losing streak since 2000, as the euro lost 0.8 percent against the dollar since the end of March.
June-delivery bullion was little changed at $1,665.10 an ounce on the Comex in New York. Holdings in exchange-traded products, or ETPs, expanded for the first time in five days on April 27 to 2,390.444 metric tons. China’s financial markets are closed today and tomorrow.
Spot silver climbed 0.4 percent to $31.3925 an ounce. It’s down 2.7 percent this month and set for a second monthly loss. The metal in ETPs stood at 17,557.69 tons on April 27, unchanged from the previous day and set for the biggest monthly drop since October, according to data tracked by Bloomberg.
Cash platinum climbed 0.2 percent to $1,576.13 an ounce, paring a second monthly decline. Exchange-traded product holdings were at 42.4966 tons on April 27, level with the day before and the least since Feb. 22. ETP holdings are headed for the biggest monthly drop since December.
Copper advanced for a fifth day, the longest rally since August, as falling inventories fueled speculation that global supplies will dwindle later this year.
The metal for delivery in three months gained as much as 1 percent to $8,495 per metric ton, the highest level since April 4. The last time prices increased five straight days was August 31. Copper is 0.6 higher this month after a 0.6 percent drop in March. The July-delivery contract today rose 0.9 percent to $3.8585 a pound on the Comex in New York. Markets in China are closed for a holiday today.
GRAINS, SOFT COMMODITIES
Corn climbed for a third day on speculation that the biggest one-day sale of the grain by U.S. exporters since 1994 may drain stockpiles in the world’s largest grower and shipper. Wheat fell.
July-delivery corn rose as much as 1 percent to $6.315 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, extending a 3.7 percent gain last week and reaching the highest for the most-active contract since April 13. It traded at $6.28 at 3:16 p.m. Singapore time, paring the monthly loss to 2.5 percent.
Wheat for July delivery dropped 0.4 percent to $6.475 a bushel, taking the monthly loss for the most-active contract to 2 percent. Soybeans for delivery in July was little changed at $14.9475 a bushel. The oilseed, up 6.5 percent in April, is set for a third monthly gain.
The July-delivery contract fell as much as 0.4 percent to 3,490 ringgit ($1,151) a metric ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange, and ended the morning session at 3,501 ringgit in Kuala Lumpur. Futures are poised for a 2 percent gain this month. Grain markets: NI GRMKTS
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