Copper advanced to a five-week high on signs of improving growth prospects in China, the world’s largest user of industrial metals. Nickel jumped 2.9 percent.
Copper futures for March delivery rose 0.7 percent to $3.63 a pound on the Comex in New York, after touching $3.6415 a pound, the highest since Oct. 22.
On the LME, copper for delivery in the months rose 0.8 percent to $7,962.25 a ton ($3.61 a pound)
Aluminum, zinc and lead also gained in London. Tin fell.
Base metals markets: NI BMMKTS
Natural gas futures fluctuated in New York amid speculation that forecasts for colder mid-December weather signal stronger demand for heating fuels.
Natural gas for January delivery rose 0.4 cent to $3.652 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gas has declined 6.4 percent this week, heading for the biggest drop since the seven days ended June 1.
U.K. natural gas: NI NUKMKT Gas market: NI GASMARKET Americas natural gas: NI AGASMARKET European natural gas: NI EGASMARKET
Sugar futures fell, heading for the second straight monthly decline, on signs of ample global supplies. Arabica coffee slumped 3.7 percent.
Raw sugar for March delivery declined 0.2 percent to 19.31 cents a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. The price has dropped 0.8 this month, following a 4.7 percent slump in October.
Cocoa futures for March delivery slid 0.1 percent to $2,488 a metric ton in New York.
Cotton futures for March delivery climbed 0.5 percent to 73.72 cents a pound, heading for the first monthly increase since August.
Orange-juice futures for January delivery rose 0.4 percent to $1.2455 a pound. This month, the price has surged 17 percent, the most since January.
Soft commodities markets: NI SOMKTS
Gold fell, extending a weekly slump, on renewed concern that U.S. lawmakers may fail to reach a settlement in talks aimed at avoiding self-imposed tax increases and budget cuts known as the fiscal cliff.
Gold futures for February delivery lost 0.9 percent to $1,714.70 an ounce at 11:34 a.m. on the Comex in New York. A close at that price would mark a drop of 2.1 percent for the week, the most since Nov. 2.
Silver futures for March delivery fell 1.7 percent to $33.83 an ounce on the Comex, heading for the biggest slump since Nov. 2.
Precious metal markets: NI PCMKTS
Cattle fell, heading for the first weekly decline this month, on speculation that a weaker U.S. economy will curb demand for beef. Hog prices also dropped.
Cattle futures for February delivery slid 0.9 percent to $1.3095 a pound at 9:49 a.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. A close at that level would leave prices down 1.3 percent this week, the first drop since Oct. 26.
Feeder-cattle futures for January settlement slipped 0.3 percent to $1.46375 a pound.
Hog futures for February settlement declined 0.5 percent to 86.65 cents a pound, paring the monthly gain to 11 percent.
Livestock markets: NI LVMKTS
Soybean and corn futures dropped the most in two weeks as rallies since mid-November slowed overseas demand for U.S. supplies while encouraging Midwest farmers to offer more for sale.
Soybean futures for January delivery dropped 1.1 percent to $14.32 a bushel at 10:21 a.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, heading for the largest decline since Nov. 16. The price reached a record $17.89 on Sept. 4, after the worst drought in more than 50 years reduced U.S. output.
Corn futures for December delivery slid 1.1 percent to $7.505 a bushel in Chicago. A close at that price would mark the biggest decline since Nov. 12.
Wheat dropped for a second day, paring a monthly advance, on concern demand was slowing for supplies from the U.S., the top exporter.
Wheat for March delivery fell 0.7 percent to $8.79 a bushel by 7:09 a.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The most-active contract still gained 1.7 percent in November, pushing this year’s advance to 35 percent as dry weather cut global grain output from the U.S. to Russia.
In Paris, milling wheat for January delivery declined 0.4 percent to 272.75 euros ($354.30) a ton on NYSE Liffe today, heading for a 2.3 percent gain in November.
Grain markets: NI GRMKTS
Gasoline fluctuated as a pipeline and refinery restarted and as crude oil rallied on signals the U.S. economy is improving.
December-delivery gasoline, which expires at the end of trading today, fell 0.24 cent to $2.7846 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 11:35 a.m., paring the monthly gain to 0.8 percent. Prices swung between $2.7725 and $2.8016.
The more actively traded January contract slipped 0.49 cent to $2.7285. December gasoline and heating oil contracts will expire today.
Heating oil for December delivery rose 0.18 cent to $3.0424 a gallon on the Nymex, heading for a 0.8 percent drop this month. January futures advanced 0.25 cent to $3.0594.
The average nationwide cost for regular gasoline fell 0.7 cent to $3.402 a gallon, AAA said today on its website. That’s the eighth-consecutive day of falling prices and the lowest average since July 15. The pump price reached a 2012 high of $3.936 on April 4.
Oil Products Europe: NI OPEMKT Gasoline: NI GASOLINE Heating oil: NI HEATOIL
Oil rose, heading for its first monthly gain since August, on signals U.S. economic expansion is accelerating, while investors weighed developments in government budget talks.
Crude oil for January delivery climbed 62 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $88.69 a barrel at 11:14 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures are up 0.5 percent this week and are 2.8 percent higher this month. Prices are down 10 percent this year.
Brent oil for January settlement rose 32 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $111.08 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Oil markets: NI OILMARKET
European Carbon Permits
European Union carbon permits for December slumped 5.9 percent to 6.19 euros a metric ton on the ICE Futures Europe exchange.
EU Carbon Emissions: NI ECBMKT
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at email@example.com