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Natural Gas Declines on Warm Forecasts: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials fell 0.2 percent to settle at 637.84 in New York, led by natural gas. The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 prices fell 0.2 percent to 1,567.655.

CRUDE OIL

Oil was little changed in New York amid concern that U.S. lawmakers will miss a year-end budget deadline, threatening to weaken the American economy.

Crude oil for February delivery slipped 5 cents to settle at $88.61 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The volume for all West Texas Intermediate oil futures traded was down 81 percent from the 100-day average. WTI is the grade traded on the Nymex.

Brent oil for February settlement fell 17 cents to end the session at $108.80 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

OIL PRODUCTS

Heating oil fell in below-average trading volume as concern grew that American lawmakers will miss a year-end deadline to avoid triggering spending cuts.

January-delivery heating oil dropped 2.02 cents to settle at $3.0022 a gallon on the Nymex.

Gasoline for January delivery rose 1.59 cents, or 0.6 percent, to settle at $2.7506 a gallon. Prices rallied, after dropping 0.8 percent earlier, as Philadelphia Energy Solutions idled an isomerization unit and debutanizer unit at the Girard Point section of its 355,000-barrel-a-day refinery.

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas futures declined in New York for the third time in four days as forecasts for a warmer start to January signaled reduced demand for heating.

Natural gas for January delivery fell 10.5 cents to settle at $3.346 per million British thermal units on the Nymex. Gas is up 12 percent this year, heading for the first annual gain since 2007. Futures volume was 47 percent below the average of the past 100 days at 1:41 p.m.

BASE METALS

Copper futures fell as concern mounted that the U.S. budget impasse will damp prospects for the economy and metal demand.

Copper futures for March delivery dropped 0.6 percent to settle at $3.546 a pound at 12:19 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The metal has gained 3.2 percent this year.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months declined 0.3 percent to $7,810 a metric ton ($3.54 a pound).

Stockpiles monitored by the LME rose for the 13th straight session, the longest advance since January 2011. Aluminum, nickel and zinc fell, while lead and tin rose in London.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold futures declined as the stalemate in U.S. budget talks drove commodities down.

Gold for February delivery declined 60 cents to settle at $1,659.50 an ounce on the Comex. Prices slumped 2.2 percent last week, the biggest weekly loss since November. Gold prices are set for a 12th consecutive annual gain.

Silver futures for March delivery lost 1 percent to $29.897 an ounce on the Comex.

On the Nymex, platinum for April delivery slid 0.1 percent to $1,538.90 an ounce. Palladium for March delivery rose 0.3 percent to $684.55 an ounce.

SOFT COMMODITIES

Cocoa fell to a four-month low on concern that the budget impasse will erode commodities demand.

Cocoa for March delivery fell 1.7 percent to $2.273 a metric ton on ICE Futures U.S. in New York.

Raw sugar for March delivery dropped 1.2 percent to 19.02 cents a pound on ICE.

Arabica coffee for March delivery rose 0.3 percent to $1.47 a pound in New York. It’s fallen 35 percent this year.

GRAINS, OILSEEDS

Soybeans rose for a second session on speculation that dry weather will damage yields in Brazil, while rain threatens crops in Argentina. Corn gained.

Soybean futures for March delivery rose 0.5 percent to close at $14.3575 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price has gained 19 percent this year after dry weather reduced output in the U.S. to a four-year low.

Corn futures for March delivery climbed 0.3 percent to $7.0425 a bushel on the CBOT.

LIVESTOCK

Cattle futures fell for the second time in three sessions on speculation that near-record prices will curb demand amid signs of bigger herds than expected on U.S. feedlots. Hogs rose.

Cattle futures for February delivery fell 0.3 percent to $1.33225 on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement slid 0.3 percent to $1.54275 a pound on the CME.

Hog futures for February settlement climbed 0.7 percent to 87.55 cents a pound in Chicago.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eliot Caroom in New York at ecaroom@bloomberg.net

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

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