Sugar, Cocoa, Natural Gas Extend Declines: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials slipped 1.3 percent to 670.13 in New York, the lowest level since Sept. 5. Cocoa, sugar and natural gas were among the largest decliners.

The UBS Bloomberg CMCI gauge of 26 prices fell 0.8 percent to 1,633.343, the second straight drop.

SOFT COMMODITIES

Cocoa futures fell to a three-week low as projected rainfall in Ivory Coast and Ghana, the world’s biggest growers, helped ease crop concerns.

Both countries will have an increase in precipitation starting tomorrow and through the end of the week, Drew Lerner, an agriculture meteorologist and president of World Weather Inc., said in a telephone interview today. The nations accounted for 69 percent of the world’s supplies last season, according to the International Cocoa Organization in London.

Cocoa for December delivery dropped 2 percent to close at $2,532 a metric ton on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, after touching $2,519, the lowest since Aug. 29. Prices touched a 10 month high of $2,707 on Sept. 6, partly on concern that dry weather would erode crop prospects.

Sugar fell the most in four weeks on signs that farmers are speeding up the cane harvest in Brazil, the world’s largest producer. Coffee and cotton rose, while orange juice dropped.

ICE raw sugar for March delivery declined 3 percent to close at 20.15 cents a pound, the biggest drop for a most-active contract since Aug. 21.

Arabica-coffee futures for December delivery climbed 1.1 percent to $1.775 a pound in New York.

Cotton futures for December delivery rose 0.9 percent to 76.02 cents a pound in New York.

Orange-juice futures for November delivery slid 2 percent to $1.265 a pound.

NATURAL GAS

Natural-gas futures declined for a fourth day in New York as forecasts for moderating weather signaled reduced fuel demand.

Gas for October delivery fell 9.2 cents, or 3.2 percent, to $2.773 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since Sept. 7. Prices have declined 7.2 percent this year.

CRUDE OIL

Oil declined to a two-week low as Saudi Arabia was said to be taking action to lower prices and after FedEx Corp. (FDX) reduced its profit outlook, increasing concern that an economic slowdown will curb demand.

Oil for October delivery slid $1.33, or 1.4 percent, to $95.29 a barrel on the Nymex, the lowest settlement since Aug. 30. The two-day decline was 3.7 percent. Prices are down 3.6 percent this year.

Brent crude for November settlement fell $1.76, or 1.5 percent, to $112.03 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. It dropped 2.5 percent yesterday.

OIL PRODUCTS

Gasoline slid to a six-week low on speculation that stockpiles rose and amid concern that Europe’s debt crisis will slow the global economy and fuel demand.

October-delivery gasoline fell 4.43 cents, or 1.5 percent, to settle at $2.899 a gallon on the Nymex.

Heating oil for October delivery fell 3.63 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $3.1271 a gallon on the exchange, the lowest settlement since Sept. 5.

GRAINS, OILSEEDS

Wheat fell in its worst two-day loss in eight weeks as precipitation in the southern U.S. Great Plains boosts prospects for winter planting. Soybeans fell to a four-week low on rain in the U.S. and South America while corn fell to the cheapest in two months as the U.S. harvest accelerated.

On the Chicago Board of Trade, wheat for December delivery dropped 1.7 percent to settle at $8.635 a bushel. The price has plunged 6.6 percent in the past two days, the worst two-session loss since July 24.

CBOT soybean futures for November delivery fell 1.7 percent to close at $16.40 a bushel after falling to $16.305, the lowest level for a most-active contract since Aug. 17. The oilseed has gained 36 percent this year after a drought hurt U.S. crops.

Corn futures for December delivery declined 1.1 percent to $7.40 a bushel in Chicago. Earlier, prices fell to $7.39, the lowest level since July 13.

BASE METALS

Copper rose in London as a report showing U.S. homebuilder confidence at the highest level in more than six years signaled stronger demand for the metal.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months climbed 0.2 percent to settle at $8,319 a metric ton ($3.77 a pound).

Copper futures for December delivery slid 0.1 percent to settle at $3.787 a pound on the Comex in New York.

Nickel and aluminum declined in London, while lead and zinc rose. Tin was unchanged.

PRECIOUS METALS

Platinum futures fell for the second straight day as a six- week labor dispute at a Lonmin Plc (LMI) mine may end, easing supply concerns in South Africa, the world’s top producer. Gold gained.

Nymex platinum futures for October delivery declined 2.2 percent to settle at $1,636.30. Yesterday, the price dropped 2.4 percent. Since the start of the strike on Aug. 10, the commodity surged 22 percent through Sept. 14.

Palladium futures for December delivery fell 3.2 percent to $667.35 an ounce on the Nymex, the biggest drop for a most active contract since Aug. 30.

Gold futures for December delivery gained 60 cents to $1,771.20 an ounce on the Comex.

Comex silver futures for December delivery rose 1 percent to $34.718 an ounce.

LIVESTOCK

Hog futures jumped to the highest price in almost two weeks on signs that U.S. pork processors are stepping up animal purchases. Cattle also gained.

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, December hog futures advanced 1.2 percent to settle at 74.2 cents a pound, after touching 74.475 cents, the highest level since Sept. 5 for the most-active contract.

Cattle futures for delivery in December climbed 0.4 percent to settle at $1.28875 a pound in Chicago. Prices are up 6.1 percent this year.

Feeder-cattle futures for October settlement rose 0.3 percent to $1.47375 a pound.

To contact the reporter on this story: Naureen S. Malik in New York at nmalik28@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bill Banker at bbanker@bloomberg.net

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