Natural gas futures rose the most in three weeks as forecasts for hot weather to spread from the Midwest to the Northeast next week signaled stronger demand from power plants that would reduce a stockpile surplus.
Gas rose 4.2 percent, the biggest daily increase since June 18. MDA EarthSat Weather predicted above-average temperatures through July 25. An Energy Department report tomorrow may show that U.S. stockpiles rose 27 billion cubic feet last week, less than the five-year average gain for the week of 90 billion, based on 14 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Natural gas for August delivery rose 11.6 cents to settle at $2.853 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
U.S. natural gas market: NI NUSMKT
Oil rose as the U.S. Energy Department reported that crude supplies dropped and refineries operated at the highest rate in almost five years.
Futures climbed 2.3 percent as inventories fell 4.7 million barrels to 378.2 million last week, more than three times the decline forecast in a Bloomberg survey of analysts. Refineries operated at 92.7 percent of capacity, the highest rate since July 2007.
Oil for August delivery advanced $1.90 to settle at $85.81 a barrel on the Nymex. Prices are down 13 percent this year.
Brent oil for August climbed $2.26, or 2.3 percent, to settle at $100.23 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark’s premium to West Texas Intermediate crude, the grade traded in New York, widened to $14.42 from $14.06 yesterday.
Crude markets: NI CRMKTS
Heating oil futures gained amid speculation that refinery upsets and planned unit shutdowns will reduce inventories.
Futures rose as PBF Energy Inc. has reported a series of flaring and malfunctions this month at its Delaware refinery. Exxon Mobil Corp. shut a unit at its Beaumont, Texas, plant for unplanned work and BP Plc (BP/)’s Whiting, Indiana, refinery will shut a crude unit next month for as long as two months of maintenance. Distillate inventories are 17 percent below a year earlier, according to Energy Department data.
Heating oil for August delivery climbed 4.23 cents, or 1.6 percent, to settle at $2.7618 a gallon on the Nymex.
August-delivery gasoline gained 2.2 cents, or 0.8 percent, to settle at $2.7689 a gallon on the exchange.
U.S. oil products: NI OPFMKT
The minutes of the Fed’s meeting showed policy makers considered the risk that further easing might pose. Some members of the Federal Open Market Committee said that excessive purchases of Treasuries may “at some point, lead to deterioration in the functioning of the Treasury securities market that could undermine the intended effects of the policy.” A few officials said the central bank will probably need to take further action.
Gold futures for August delivery fell 0.5 percent to $1,572.50 an ounce in electronic trading at 2:53 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The price settled earlier at $1,575.70, down 0.3 percent.
Silver futures for September delivery advanced 0.5 percent to close at $27.023 an ounce on the Comex.
On the Nymex, platinum futures for October delivery rose 0.1 percent to settle at $1,431.60 an ounce. Palladium futures for September delivery gained 1.1 percent to $582.95 an ounce.
Precious metal markets: NI PCMKTS
Copper rose for the second time in three days in New York after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao signaled the government may increase spending to counter a slowdown.
Promoting investment growth is the key to stabilizing China’s economic expansion, Wen said in a statement posted on a government website yesterday. Passenger-vehicle sales in the country exceeded analysts’ estimates for a fourth month in June. The Asian country is the world’s biggest consumer of copper, which is used in homes, cars and appliances.
Copper futures for September delivery climbed 1.5 percent to settle at $3.4475 a pound on the Comex. Prices have fallen 1.4 percent this month on concern that slowing global economic growth will undercut demand.
On the London Mercantile Exchange, copper for delivery in three months rose 0.7 percent to $7,540 a ton ($3.42 a pound).
Aluminum and lead fell in London. Zinc, tin and nickel advanced.
Base metal markets: NI BMMKTS
Sugar futures rose on renewed concern that global supplies will remain limited after wet weather delayed cane crushing in Brazil, the world’s largest producer and exporter. Coffee and cotton gained, while cocoa and orange-juice slid.
Raw sugar for October delivery climbed 1.7 percent to settle at 22.88 cents a pound at 2 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York.
Arabica-coffee futures for September delivery advanced 0.1 percent to $1.847 a pound in New York, the third straight gain.
Cotton futures for December delivery climbed 0.4 percent to 71.02 cents a pound in New York, the fourth consecutive gain.
Cocoa futures for September delivery declined 0.7 percent to $2,292 a metric ton on ICE, the second straight drop.
Orange-juice for September delivery slid 2.3 percent to settle at $1.253 a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, the biggest drop for a most-active contract since July 2.
Soft commodities markets: NI SOMKTS
Wheat rose to the highest level since April 2011 after the U.S. Department of Agriculture reduced its forecast for global production as dry weather curbed crops in Russia. Corn and soybeans fell.
In the 12 months that started June 1, world output will total 665.3 million metric tons, down 1 percent from a June estimate, the USDA said in a report today. The agency cut its forecast for Russian production by 7.5 percent to 49 million tons and lowered its outlook for exports from that nation by 25 percent.
Wheat futures for September delivery climbed 0.6 percent to settle at $8.2625 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade.
Corn futures for December delivery fell 1.9 percent to close at $7.04 a bushel, and soybean futures for November delivery fell 1 percent to $15.225 a bushel.
U.S. grain markets: NI GRMKTS
Hog futures fell on signs of increasing pork supplies in the U.S. Cattle prices also dropped.
The price of wholesale pork fell for the eighth straight session yesterday, the longest slump since March, and hogs for immediate delivery fell to a four-week low, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Futures rose 4.1 percent in June, partly on concern that high temperatures across parts of the U.S. would cause animals to lose weight, reducing supplies.
Hog futures for October settlement, the contract with the highest open interest, fell 2.2 percent to settle at 81.1 cents a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
Cattle futures for August delivery fell 0.3 percent to $1.18 a pound. Feeder-cattle futures for August settlement rose 0.6 percent to $1.44225 a pound.
Livestock markets: NI LVMKTS
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