Oil traded near the lowest level in almost a week in New York on concern U.S. lawmakers may fail to avert spending cuts and tax increases that threaten the economy of the world’s biggest crude consumer.
Crude for February delivery was at $88.54 a barrel, down 12 cents, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 3:15 p.m. Singapore time. Prices fell $1.47 to $88.66 a barrel on Dec. 21, the biggest decline since Dec. 6. The volume for all West Texas Intermediate futures traded today was about 57 percent lower than the 100-day average.
Asia’s naphtha crack spread extended gains, signaling increased profit for refiners. PetroChina Co. bought a jet fuel cargo for a third day in Singapore, the region’s largest oil- trading center.
The premium of Japan naphtha to London-traded Brent crude futures rose $2.81 to $117.83 a metric ton at 1:55 p.m. Singapore time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. This crack spread, a measure of the profit from making the petrochemical and gasoline feedstock, widened for a third day, the longest stretch of increases since October.
Gasoil’s premium to Asian marker Dubai crude dropped 28 cents to $20.26 a barrel at 1:55 p.m. Singapore time, according to data from PVM Oil Associates Ltd., a broker. The difference, also known as the crack spread, shrank for the first time in three days.
Copper gained for a second day in London as U.S. data showed demand from the second-largest user may improve. Aluminum and nickel also advanced.
Gold advanced after its worst week in six months, erasing an earlier decline, as investors weighed concerns U.S. lawmakers will fail to agree on a deal before a year-end budget deadline as talks stalled.
Gold for immediate delivery rose 0.3 percent to $1,662.38 an ounce at 2:51 p.m. in Singapore. Earlier the metal dropped as much as 0.3 percent to $1,652.20. Prices fell 2.3 percent last week, the biggest loss since the period ended June 22.
Silver for immediate delivery rose as much as 0.7 percent to $30.2225 an ounce and traded at $30.2175. Prices dropped 7 percent last week, the worst week since December 2011, trimming this year’s gain to 8.3 percent.
GRAINS, OILSEEDS, SOFT COMMODITIES
Soybeans climbed for a second day on expectations supply may remain constrained through the next two months before Brazilian crops reach markets. Corn and wheat rose.
Soybeans for March delivery advanced as much as 0.8 percent to $14.4125 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade and were at $14.355 by 2:07 p.m. in Singapore. The most-active contract lost 4.2 percent last week, the first drop in five.
Corn for March delivery increased 0.4 percent to $7.045 a bushel, set for a 6.4 percent drop this month, which would be a fifth consecutive loss. Corn, which surged to a record in August, has advanced 9 percent this year.
Wheat for March delivery rose 0.4 percent to $7.9525 a bushel, poised for a 7.9 percent monthly drop.
Palm oil climbed to the highest level in almost four weeks on speculation that demand will gain in China, the world’s biggest cooking oil buyer, and reduce record inventories in Malaysia, the top producer after Indonesia.
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