Cocoa Futures Advance to Three-Week High: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials rose 0.8 percent to settle at 658.21 at 3:58 p.m. in New York, led by cocoa.

The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 prices advanced 0.5 percent to 1,587.36.

SOFT COMMODITIES

Cocoa rose to a three-week high on bets that an improving U.S. economy will boost demand amid shrinking supplies from Ghana, the world’s second-biggest grower.

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials rose to the highest since October as better-than-expected U.S. housing and labor reports bolstered growth prospects and equity markets. From Oct. 1 to Jan. 3, purchases of cocoa from farmers in Ghana totaled 485,000 metric tons, down 17 percent from the same period a year earlier, according to KnowledgeCharts, a unit of Commodities Risk Analysis in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

On ICE Futures U.S. in New York, cocoa for March delivery jumped 2 percent to $2,300 a ton after touching $2,310, the highest for a most-active contract since Dec. 24.

Cotton futures for March delivery climbed 0.6 percent to 77.78 cents a pound after touching 78.18 cents, the highest since Oct. 18.

Arabica-coffee futures for March delivery jumped 1.6 percent to $1.555 a pound.

Orange-juice futures for delivery in March rose less than 0.1 percent to $1.1235 a pound.

Raw-sugar futures for March delivery dropped 0.2 percent to 18.42 cents a pound, the fourth straight decline and the longest slump since mid-October.

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas jumped to the highest price in almost six weeks after a government report showed a bigger-than-expected U.S. inventory decline.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, gas futures for February delivery advanced 1.7 percent to $3.494 per million British thermal units, the highest settlement price since Dec. 7.

U.K. gas rose to an 11-month high as temperatures fell to the lowest since February, boosting demand for the heating fuel.

Gas added as much as 6.4 pence to 76 pence a therm, the highest price since Feb. 10, and traded at 71.85 pence a therm at 5:26 p.m. London time. Month-ahead gas climbed 1.6 percent to 68.5 pence a therm. That’s equivalent to $10.94 per million Btu.

BASE METALS

Copper rose the most in two weeks as better-than-expected U.S. housing starts and signs that China’s economic recovery is gaining traction bolstered demand prospects in the world’s two biggest users of the metal.

On the Comex in New York, copper futures for delivery in March gained 1.5 percent to $3.662 a pound, the biggest increase for a most-active contract since Jan. 2.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months added 1.4 percent to $8,054 a ton ($3.65 a pound).

Aluminum, lead, zinc and nickel also advanced in London. Tin was unchanged.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold advanced to a four-week high after a report showed manufacturing in the Philadelphia area unexpectedly contracted in January, increasing pressure on the U.S. central bank to expand monetary stimulus.

On the Comex, gold futures for February delivery gained 0.5 percent to $1,690.80 an ounce after reaching $1,697.80, the highest for a most-active contract since Dec. 18.

Silver futures for March delivery rose 0.8 percent to $31.81 an ounce.

On the Nymex, platinum futures for April delivery climbed 0.4 percent to $1,700.50 an ounce, the highest closing price since Oct. 5.

Palladium futures for March delivery fell less than 0.1 percent to $726.15 an ounce, ending a three-day advance.

CRUDE OIL

Crude oil advanced to a four-month high after U.S. builders broke ground on more houses than forecast and jobless claims dropped to a five-year low, bolstering optimism for the economy.

On the Nymex, oil futures for February delivery rose 1.3 percent to $95.49 a barrel, the highest settlement since Sept. 17.

Brent oil for March settlement gained 1.3 percent to $111.10 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Total SA bought a cargo of North Sea Forties crude at the lowest level in almost three weeks. Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) failed to sell a lot of the grade.

The Brent Pipeline system has started pumping after a leak on one of the platforms halted output three days ago, the operator said.

OIL PRODUCTS

Gasoline rose the most in three weeks as U.S. economic data boosted optimism that fuel demand will increase and reports of Algerian forces battling al-Qaeda members pushed oil higher.

On the Nymex, gasoline futures for February delivery added 1.7 percent to $2.7684 a gallon, the biggest increase since Dec. 26.

Heating-oil futures for February delivery climbed 0.7 percent to $3.0212 a gallon.

GRAINS, OILSEEDS

Corn declined for the first time in nine sessions after a government report showed slowing demand for the grain to make fuel in the U.S., and exports tumbled.

On the Chicago Board of Trade, corn futures for March delivery slid 0.9 percent to $7.245 a bushel. The grain jumped 7.5 percent in the prior eight sessions, the longest rally since December 2011.

Soybean futures for March delivery declined 0.4 percent to $14.3025 a bushel.

Wheat futures for March delivery slipped 0.5 percent to $7.8125 a bushel.

LIVESTOCK

Cattle fell by the exchange-limit to a two-month low after Cargill Inc. said it will idle a beef-processing plant, signaling lower demand for animals.

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, cattle futures for April delivery fell 1.4 percent to $1.30875 a pound after falling by the 3-cent exchange limit to $1.297, the lowest for the most-active contract since Nov. 16.

Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement declined 1.6 percent to $1.4585 a pound after dropping by the 3-cent exchange limit to $1.45225, the lowest since Dec. 4.

Hog futures for April settlement rose 0.7 percent to close at 88.075 cents a pound.

To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Galatola in New York at tgalatola@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net

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