Oil traded near the highest level in four months ahead of a Federal Reserve policy statement that may signal the U.S. central bank will take additional steps to stimulate the economy of the world’s biggest crude user.
WTI for March was at $97.50 a barrel, down 7 cents, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 9:13 a.m. London time. The volume of all futures traded was 46 percent below the 100-day average. Oil rose to $97.57 yesterday, the highest since Sept. 14, and has gained 6.2 percent this month.
Asia’s gasoil’s premium to Dubai crude is at the narrowest level in two months, signaling reduced profit from making the middle distillate. Gasoline’s reforming margin rose to the highest this year.
• Middle Distillates • Gasoil’s premium to Dubai crude down 91 cents to $18.61/bbl, the narrowest level since Nov. 30, according to PVM Oil Associates Ltd. • February gasoil swaps unchanged after rising to $127.70/bbl • Jet fuel regrade unchanged after advancing to 85 cents/bbl
• Light Distillates • Naphtha’s premium to London Brent crude up $9.23 to $102.14/ton at 11:29 a.m. Singapore time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg • February naphtha swaps up $9, or 0.94%, to $963.50/ton, the highest since Oct. 17, PVM says • Gasoline reforming margin rose $1.53 cents to close at $17.01/bbl yesterday, data compiled by Bloomberg show
• Fuel Oil • Fuel oil’s discount to Dubai crude widens 20 cents to $7.59/bbl at 10:27 a.m. Singapore time, according to PVM • February swaps up $4.50 to $644.50/ton, a $3 discount to March contract • Viscosity spread up 25 cents to $5.50/ton
Copper climbed to the highest price in more than two weeks after U.S. housing data boosted optimism that demand was recovering in the second largest consumer. Zinc, lead and aluminum advanced.
Copper for delivery in three months rose as much as 0.7 percent to $8,159 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, the most expensive since Jan. 11, and traded at $8,152 at 2:10 p.m. Shanghai time. The metal is heading for a 2.7 percent gain this month. The May contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange climbed 0.8 percent to 59,290 yuan ($9,532) a ton.
Gold was little changed near its highest level this week as investors weighed speculation the Federal Reserve will continue with stimulus against a rally in equities. Palladium climbed to a 16-month high.
Gold for immediate delivery added 0.2 percent to $1,666.83 an ounce by 9:04 a.m. in London, after rising to $1,668.96, the highest since Jan. 25. Prices are down 0.5 percent in January, a fourth straight monthly drop and the worst run since May.
Palladium gained 0.5 percent to $755 an ounce, after reaching $758.50, the highest since September 2011. Platinum rose 0.4 percent to $1,686.24 an ounce, extending its monthly advance to 9.5 percent, the most since January 2012.
GRAINS, OILSEEDS, SOFT COMMODITIES
Soybeans advanced for a fourth day on speculation that demand from China, the world’s largest buyer, is set to expand as imports of oilseeds and vegetable oils are forecast to climb to a record.
Soybeans for March delivery gained as much as 0.6 percent to $14.605 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, the highest price for the most-active contract since Jan. 22, and was at $14.585 at 2:55 p.m. in Singapore. Futures, which gained 17 percent last year, are set to gain 3.5 percent this month, the first such advance since August.
Wheat for March delivery dropped as much as 0.7 percent to $7.7175 a bushel before trading at $7.755. Corn for March delivery fell as much as 0.6 percent to $7.255 a bushel before trading at $7.2925.
Palm oil rallied to the highest level in almost four weeks on speculation that exports from Malaysia, the second-largest producer, will probably increase after Indonesia set higher taxes on February shipments.
The contract for delivery in April climbed as much as 1.3 percent to 2,506 ringgit ($813) a metric ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange, the highest price for the most-active contract since Jan. 3. It traded at 2,500 ringgit at 4:45 p.m. in Kuala Lumpur, heading for a second monthly advance.
Rubber advanced to the highest level in more than a week after data added to signs of a U.S. economic recovery, increasing speculation that demand will expand for the commodity used to make tires.
The contract for delivery in July rose 1.1 percent to 315.9 yen a kilogram ($3,476 a metric ton) on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange, the highest settlement for the most-active contract since Jan. 18. Prices have advanced 4.4 percent this month.
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