Platinum’s Premium to Gold Widens to High: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials rose 0.1 percent to 679.87 by 6:17 p.m. in London. The UBS Bloomberg CMCI gauge of 26 prices climbed 0.2 percent to 1,608.533.

PRECIOUS METALS

Platinum rose for a second straight day, widening its premium to gold to a 17-month high, on concern supply may fall after Zimbabwe seized land from the country’s top miner of the metal. Gold slid.

Zimbabwe, the third-biggest platinum producer and fifth- largest palladium miner in 2011, repossessed about 69,000 acres of land from Zimplats Holdings Ltd. to offer to new investors, Mines Minister Obert Mpofu said yesterday. One ounce of platinum bought as much as 1.0515 ounces of gold in London today, the most since August 2011, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for delivery in April climbed 0.6 percent to $1,728.20 an ounce.

Palladium futures for March delivery fell 0.4 percent to $768.40 an ounce, after reaching $777.60, the highest since Sept. 6, 2011.

Gold futures for April delivery dropped 0.1 percent to $1,648 an ounce on the Comex in New York.

Silver futures for March delivery climbed less than 0.1 percent to $31.025 an ounce in New York.

BASE METALS

Lead rose for a second day in London, leading gains by industrial metals, on speculation top consumer China will resume buying when markets in the country reopen next week after the Lunar New Year holiday.

Lead for delivery in three months gained 0.8 percent to $2,434 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange. Prices are up 4.5 percent this year. Copper added 0.4 percent to $8,266 a ton and futures for March delivery rose 0.3 percent to $3.7565 a pound on the Comex in New York.

Aluminum, nickel, zinc and tin gained in London.

SOFT COMMODITIES

Cotton futures fell the most in more than two weeks on signs of rising stockpiles at facilities monitored by ICE Futures U.S. Cocoa and coffee also slid, while orange juice and sugar advanced.

Cotton futures for May delivery slumped 1.3 percent to 82.02 cents a pound on ICE in New York. A close at that price would be the biggest drop since Jan. 25. Through yesterday, prices climbed 11 percent this year as Chinese demand increased.

Cocoa futures for May delivery dropped 0.3 percent to $2,164 a metric ton on ICE.

Also in New York, arabica-coffee futures for May delivery declined 0.2 percent to $1.429 a pound.

Orange-juice futures for March delivery climbed 1.1 percent to $1.2935 a pound on ICE, after reaching $1.295, the highest for a most-active contract since Dec. 28.

Raw-sugar futures for delivery in May advanced 0.8 percent percent to 18.21 cents a pound in New York.

CRUDE OIL

West Texas Intermediate oil in New York retreated after the Energy Information Administration said U.S. crude output rose to the highest level in 20 years.

Crude oil for March delivery fell 9 cents to $97.42 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures touched $98.11 earlier, the highest level since Feb. 1.

OIL PRODUCTS

Ethanol weakened against gasoline as distillers sought to capitalize on the best returns in eight months for turning a bushel of corn into the biofuel.

The spread widened 1.92 cents to 68.25 cents a gallon in New York a day after the corn crush spread, which shows the loss from turning corn into ethanol, narrowed to 14 cents a gallon, the least since June and up from a loss of 30 cents a month ago. Distillers have reduced output and idled plants as earnings fell below production costs.

Gasoline for March delivery climbed 0.66 cent, or 0.2 percent, to $3.0569 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract covers reformulated gasoline, which is blended with ethanol.

Ethanol’s discount to gasoline is the steepest since Sept. 28, when it traded at 99.8 cents below the motor fuel.

Corn for March delivery advanced 3 cents to $6.9925 a bushel in Chicago. One bushel makes at least 2.75 gallons of ethanol.

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas futures climbed in New York for the second time in three days on forecasts of a Midwest chill that would boost demand for the heating fuel.

Natural gas for March delivery rose 8.5 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $3.315 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices were up 36 percent from a year ago. Trading volume was 5.5 percent above the 100-day average for the time of day.

GRAINS, OILSEEDS

Corn headed for the longest stretch of declines since 1980 in Chicago and wheat traded at a seven-month low on speculation rains in Brazil and the U.S. will help crop development.

Corn for delivery in March dropped 1 percent to $6.89 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. The grain headed for a ninth straight retreat, which would match a run of losses through Dec. 11, 1980, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Wheat for delivery in March fell 1.1 percent to $7.24 a bushel. Prices reached $7.235, the lowest level for a most- active contract since June 25. Milling wheat for delivery in May traded on NYSE Liffe in Paris lost 1.9 percent to 232 euros ($312) a metric ton.

Soybeans for delivery in May dropped 1.1 percent to $13.945 a bushel in Chicago, set for a sixth straight retreat.

LIVESTOCK

Cattle futures declined for the second straight day on speculation that higher prices for U.S. beef are slowing consumer purchases of the meat. Hog prices were little changed.

Wholesale beef rose 0.1 percent to $1.8357 a pound as of midday, a one-week high, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show.

Cattle futures for April delivery fell 0.8 percent to $1.28875 a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement declined 1.7 percent to $1.40825 a pound. A close at that price would be the ninth straight decline.

Hog futures for April settlement slid less than 0.1 percent to 85.975 cents a pound on the CME. Prices were up 0.3 percent this year through yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sharon Lindores in London at slindores@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

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