Cotton, Zinc Decline as Natural Gas Rises: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities dropped 0.2 percent to 644.43 in New York. Cotton and zinc were the biggest decliners. Natural gas advanced the most. The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 raw materials was down 0.2 percent at 1,574.09.

SOFT COMMODITIES

Cotton fell the most in two months on concern that an impasse in U.S. budget talks will slow the economy, reducing demand for the fiber. Orange juice, coffee, sugar and cocoa also dropped.

Cotton for March delivery declined 1.8 percent to settle at 74.66 cents a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, the biggest loss for a most-active contract since Oct. 30. The fiber slumped 2 percent this week, the most since Nov. 2.

Orange-juice futures for March delivery lost 4 percent to $1.265 a pound on ICE, the biggest decline for a most-active contract since Sept. 24. The commodity was down 5.8 percent for the week.

Arabica-coffee futures for March delivery slid 0.7 percent to $1.4685 a pound. The price gained 0.2 percent this week.

Cocoa futures for March delivery fell 0.3 percent to $2,249 a metric ton. The commodity lost 2.7 percent for the week, the second straight decline.

Raw-sugar futures for March delivery dropped 0.2 percent to 19.42 cents a pound. The sweetener was up 0.9 percent for the week.

Soft commodities markets: NI SOMKTS

GRAINS, OILSEEDS

Wheat rose the most in four weeks as export sales surged to the highest level in almost two years in the U.S., the world’s biggest shipper. Corn and soybeans climbed.

Exporters sold 1 million metric tons of wheat in the week ended Dec. 20, the most since Jan. 13, 2011, and the fourth straight weekly advance, government data showed.

Wheat futures for March delivery climbed 0.8 percent to settle at $7.7875 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest advance since Nov. 27. The price is up 19 percent this year, the largest gain among the 24 commodities tracked by the Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index.

Corn futures for March delivery rose 0.4 percent to settle at $6.94 a bushel in Chicago. The price has dropped 7.8 percent in December, heading for the largest monthly decline since May.

Soybean futures for March delivery added 0.3 percent to $14.18 a bushel on the CBOT.

Grain markets: NI GRMKTS

BASE METALS

Copper futures fell for the first time in three days as U.S. lawmakers prepared for talks to avoid more than $600 billion in spending cuts and tax gains that will start in January.

Copper futures for March delivery fell 0.3 percent to settle at $3.5895 a pound on the Comex in New York. Prices have climbed 4.5 percent in 2012. The metal gained 0.6 percent this week. On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months slid 0.4 percent to $7,887 a metric ton ($3.58 a pound).

Aluminum, tin, nickel, zinc and lead also dropped in London.

Base metals markets: NI BMMKTS

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas futures advanced in New York, capping the second straight weekly gain, on speculation that a cold start to January will drive up demand for heating fuel.

Natural gas for February delivery rose 5.7 cents to settle at $3.469 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices gained 0.5 percent this week and have increased 16 percent this year, heading for the first annual gain since 2007. Trading volume was down 58 percent from the 100-day average as of 2:33 p.m.

Gas market: NI NUSMKT

CRUDE OIL

Oil was little changed as gasoline supplies climbed to a nine-month high on weaker demand.

West Texas Intermediate oil for February delivery fell 7 cents to settle at $90.80 a barrel on the Nymex. Prices gained 2.4 percent this week, a third consecutive advance.

Brent oil for February settlement slid 18 cents to $110.62 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Trading was 45 percent lower than the 100-day average. Brent rose 1.5 percent this week.

Oil markets: NI CRMKTS

OIL PRODUCTS

Gasoline fell after a report that U.S. inventories increased last week and as the fiscal deadline neared.

Gasoline for January delivery fell 2.14 cents, or 0.8 percent, to settle at $2.7999 a gallon on the Nymex. The more actively traded February contract slipped 3.08 cents to $2.7585. January gasoline and heating oil contracts will expire at the close of floor trading Dec. 31.

Heating oil for January delivery fell 2.75 cents, or 0.9 percent, to settle at $3.0448 a gallon. Prices rose 0.7 percent this week and have gained 3.7 percent this year. The more actively traded February contract slipped 2.76 cents to $3.0213.

Oil products markets: NI OPFMKT

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold futures fell, capping the longest run of weekly declines in two years, as a rally by the dollar curbed demand for the metal as an alternative investment.

Gold futures for February delivery fell 0.5 percent to settle at $1,655.90 an ounce on the Comex in New York. This week, the metal dropped 0.3 percent, the fifth straight decline and the longest slump since January 2010.

Silver futures for March delivery slipped 0.9 percent to $29.975 an ounce. This week, the price dropped 0.8 percent, the fifth straight decline. The metal has climbed 7.4 percent this year.

On the Nymex, platinum futures for April delivery fell 0.9 percent to $1,521.60 an ounce. The price has advanced 8.3 percent this year.

Palladium futures for March delivery dropped 1.2 percent to $700.30 an ounce. Earlier, the price reached $710.80, the highest for a most-active contract since March 15. The metal has advanced 6.7 percent this year.

Precious metal markets: NI PCMKTS

LIVESTOCK

Cattle futures rose on signs of increasing demand for U.S. beef and shrinking animal supplies. Hogs fell.

Live cattle futures for February delivery rose 0.4 percent to settle at $1.33575 a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The price has gained 10 percent this year.

Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement climbed 0.6 percent to close at $1.54725 a pound. Hog futures for February settlement fell 0.7 percent to settle at 86.375 cents a pound. The price is up 2.5 percent this year.

Livestock markets: NI LVMKTS

To contact the reporter on this story: Christine Harvey in New York at charvey32@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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