Natural gas retreated as forecasts for above-average temperatures spurred concern that the U.S. winter will be too mild to erode a stockpile surplus.
Natural gas for January delivery fell 6.5 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $3.327 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gas has risen 11 percent this year. The January contract expires today. The more actively traded February futures dropped 5.9 cents to $3.366 per million Btu. Futures trading volume was down 54 percent from the 100-day average.
U.K. natural gas: NI NUKMKT Gas market: NI GASMARKET Americas natural gas: NI AGASMARKET European natural gas: NI EGASMARKET
Sugar climbed for a second day in New York on speculation some investors are buying the futures as they prepare for annual weighting changes in commodity indexes. Cocoa climbed and coffee slid on ICE Futures U.S.
Raw sugar for March delivery was 2.2 percent higher at 19.47 cents a pound after gaining as much as 1.1 percent yesterday. White, or refined, sugar for March delivery was down 0.1 percent to $516.20 a ton on NYSE Liffe in London. The bourse was closed the past two days. Sugar fell 18 percent in New York and 14 percent in London this year.
Cocoa for March delivery gained 0.7 percent to $2,279 a ton ICE. It rose 8.1 percent this year. Cocoa for March delivery fell 0.7 percent to 1,450 pounds ($2,344) a ton on NYSE Liffe. The commodity was still up 5.1 percent this year.
Arabica coffee for March delivery was down 0.6 percent to $1.4735 a pound in New York. It’s fallen 35 percent this year. Robusta coffee for March delivery advanced 0.6 percent to $1,918 a ton in London, 6 percent higher this year.
Soft commodities markets: NI SOMKTS
Wheat futures declined to the lowest since July in Chicago, extending a three-week decline after a storm brought snow cover in the U.S. Plains for next year’s crop and as import demand slowed.
Wheat for March delivery declined as much as 1 percent to $7.67 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, the lowest since July 2, and was at $7.715 by 7:50 a.m. local time. Wheat and soybeans are the best performers on the S&P GSCI Commodity Index this year, both advancing 18 percent.
Milling wheat for delivery in March traded on NYSE Liffe in Paris slumped 2 percent to 249.50 euros ($331.31) a metric ton. Wheat has added 28 percent this year in the French capital.
Corn for March delivery fell as much as 0.5 percent to $6.90 a bushel, and traded at $6.9225 recently, paring gains this year to 7.1 percent.
Soybeans for March delivery added as much as 0.8 percent to $14.295 a bushel before trading at $14.2625.
Grain markets: NI GRMKTS
Crude fluctuated after rising to the highest level in more than two months as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said lawmakers and President Barack Obama are unlikely to reach a deal to avert a fiscal crisis.
Crude oil for February delivery slipped 16 cents to $90.82 a barrel at 11:12 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange after rising to $91.44, the highest intraday level since Oct. 19. Trading volume for West Texas Intermediate futures contracts was down 43 percent from the 100-day average.
Brent oil for February settlement slid 60 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $110.47 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe. The number of contracts trading was 54 percent lower than the 100-day average. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $19.65 to WTI.
Oil markets: NI OILMARKET
Gold futures advanced in New York, erasing earlier declines. The February futures were up 0.1 percent at $1,661.90 an ounce on the Comex in New York.
Precious metal markets: NI PCMKTS
Heating oil rose on forecasts for colder weather in the U.S. Northeast and a decline in distillate stockpiles from the lowest seasonal level in 12 years.
Heating oil for January delivery climbed 0.94 cent, or 0.3 percent, to $3.0607 a gallon at 11:10 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange, extending this year’s increase to 4.3 percent. Volume was 53 percent below the average of the past 100 days.
Gasoline for January delivery slipped 0.47 cent to $2.8111 a gallon. Prices are up 4.7 percent this year. Volume was 42 percent below average.
The average nationwide cost for regular gasoline rose 1.4 cents to $3.261 a gallon, AAA said today on its website.
Oil Products Europe: NI OPEMKT Gasoline: NI GASOLINE Heating oil: NI HEATOIL
Hogs declined the most in more than a week on signs of increasing supplies of U.S. pork. Cattle futures also fell.
Hog futures for February settlement declined 0.7 percent to 86.8 cents a pound at 9:50 a.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. A close at that level would be the biggest drop for a most-active contract since Dec. 17. Through yesterday, prices were up 3.7 percent this year.
Cattle futures for February delivery fell 0.5 percent to $1.33075 a pound in Chicago. Prices rose 10 percent this year through yesterday.
Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement dropped 0.5 percent to $1.54025 a pound on the CME.
Livestock markets: NI LVMKTS
Copper futures may advance after new home sales rose to the highest in more than two years in the U.S., the world’s second- biggest metals consumer.
Copper futures for delivery in March increased 0.2 percent to $3.6045 a pound at 10:51 a.m. on the Comex in New York, extending this year’s gain to 4.9 percent.
On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months added 1.4 percent to $7,922.75 a metric ton ($3.59 a pound). The exchange was closed yesterday and on Dec. 25 for public holidays.
Aluminum, zinc, lead and tin increased in London, while nickel slipped.
Base metals markets: NI BMMKTS
European Carbon Permits
European Union carbon permits for December 2013 fell 0.3 percent to 7.10 euros a metric ton.
EU Carbon Emissions: NI ECBMKT
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