Oil headed for a second monthly increase, its biggest since February, as investors awaited a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke.
Futures were little changed after dropping to the lowest close in two weeks yesterday as producers worked to restore Gulf of Mexico output and refiners prepared to resume operations after Hurricane Isaac passed. Companies halted 95 percent of U.S. oil production in the Gulf and 73 percent of natural-gas output, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said yesterday. Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is scheduled to speak today at a symposium where in 2010 he foreshadowed economic stimulus measures by the bank.
The premium of gasoil, or diesel, to Asian marker Dubai crude rose 35 cents to $21.25 a barrel at 11:37 a.m. Singapore time, according to data from PVM Oil Associates Ltd., a broker. This crack spread, a measure of processing profit, was the widest since June 16 last year. It’s also set to climb for a third month.
High-sulfur fuel oil was at $2.22 a barrel below Dubai crude, according to PVM. The discount was set to widen for a second month, showing increased losses for refiners turning crude into residual products.
Copper for three-month delivery climbed 0.2 percent to $7,586 a metric ton by 9:38 a.m. on the LME. Prices are down 0.7 percent this week and up 0.3 percent in August. Copper for December delivery rose 0.2 percent to $3.453 a pound on the Comex in New York.
Lead for three-month delivery on the LME gained as much as 1.1 percent, the most in a week, and was last up 0.9 percent at $1,962 a ton. Orders to remove the metal from LME warehouses jumped 46 percent to 114,025 tons, the highest level since at least 1997.
Immediate-delivery gold bullion rose 0.2 percent to $1,658.50 an ounce by 9:25 a.m. in London. Prices are up 2.7 percent this month. December-delivery futures were 0.2 percent higher at $1,660.70 on the Comex in New York.
GRAINS, OILSEEDS, SOFT COMMODITIES
Soybean futures for November delivery rose 0.6 percent to settle at $17.635 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Earlier, the price reached a record $17.7125.
Corn futures for December delivery slid 0.6 percent to $8.085 a bushel in Chicago. The price reached a record $8.49 on Aug. 10. Wheat futures for December delivery dropped 0.3 percent to $9.03 a bushel.
Cocoa for December delivery rose 1 percent to settle at $2,601 a metric ton at 12:12 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. Earlier, the commodity reached $2,620, the highest for a most-active contract since Nov. 9.
Cotton futures for December delivery increased 0.4 percent to 76.94 cents a pound in New York. Orange-juice futures for November delivery advanced 1.3 percent to $1.172 a pound.
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