West Texas Intermediate traded near the highest level in more than a week after a second day of gains. U.S. crude stockpiles declined for the first time this year, according to the American Petroleum Institute.
Crude for March delivery was at $97.54 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up 3 cents, at 3:40 p.m. Singapore time. The contract rose 48 cents to $97.51 yesterday, the highest close since Feb 1. The volume of all contracts traded was 41 percent below the 100-day average.
Brent oil for March settlement on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, which expires today, was up 3 cents at $118.69 a barrel. The more actively traded April contract was 3 cents higher at $117.79. The European benchmark grade was at a premium of $21.15 to WTI, unchanged from yesterday. The spread was $23.18 on Feb. 8, the widest since Nov. 26.
OIL PRODUCTS Asia’s fuel oil viscosity spread widened to the most in a week. Naphtha and gasoil cracks strengthened.
• Light Distillates • Singapore naphtha’s discount to London Brent crude narrows 3 cents to $4.34/bbl at 12:20 p.m. Singapore time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg • March Japan naphtha swaps down 35 cents at $980.18/mt • March East-West naphtha spread at $10.60/mt, down 8 cents
• Middle Distillates • Gasoil’s premium to Dubai crude rises 83 cents to $21.55/bbl • March gasoil swaps up 80 cents at $135.04/bbl • March gasoil swap trades at 75 cents/bbl above April contract • March East-West gasoil spread at $2.50/mt • Jet fuel regrade down 28 cents at 20 cents/bbl • March kerosene swap trades $1.05/bbl above April contract
• Fuel Oil • Fuel oil’s discount to Dubai crude widens 1 cent to $7.77/bbl • March 180-cst fuel oil swaps down 24 cents at $671.31/mt • March fuel oil swap trades 45 cents/mt below April contract • Viscosity spread up 33 cents at $6.75/mt, widest gap since Feb. 6 • March East-West fuel oil spread at $28.79/mt
Copper rose for a second day on speculation a recovery in demand from top users China and the U.S. will help absorb an oversupply. Zinc gained and traded close to the highest since 2011.
The metal for delivery in three months gained as much as 0.3 percent to $8,262.25 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, after closing 0.5 percent higher yesterday. The contract traded at $8,2447 a ton as of 3:19 p.m. in Singapore. Futures for March delivery rose 0.1 percent at $3.7465 a pound on the Comex in New York.
Lead on the LME for three-month delivery added 0.6 percent at $2,429.50 a ton, aluminum gained 0.1 percent to $2,122 a ton and nickel was little changed at $18,378 a ton. Zinc rose as much as 0.4 percent to $2,219.25. The contract reached $2,223.25 a ton yesterday, the highest since Sept. 9, 2011.
Platinum advanced for a second day, widening its premium to gold, on concern supply will tighten after Zimbabwe seized land from the country’s biggest miner of the metal. Palladium rose to the highest since September 2011.
Spot platinum gained as much as 0.6 percent to $1,728.75 an ounce, and traded at $1,722.25 at 3:51 p.m. in Singapore. One ounce of platinum bought as much as 1.0466 ounces of gold today, the most since August 2011, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Cash gold fell 0.2 percent to $1,648.60 an ounce, after dropping to a one-month low of $1,639.45 yesterday.
Cash palladium rose as much as 0.4 percent to $774.75 an ounce, the most expensive since September 2011. The metal is mined alongside platinum and both are used mainly in autocatalysts. Palladium assets in exchange-traded products held at an 18-month high of 65.0744 metric tons yesterday.
Silver traded little changed at $31.0763 an ounce, after touching a one-month low of $30.5875 yesterday.
GRAINS, OILSEEDS, SOFT COMMODITIES
Wheat traded near the lowest level in more than seven months on speculation that rains in some growing areas in the U.S. may aid crop development as the largest shipper recovers from the worst drought since the 1930s.
Wheat for March delivery was little changed at $7.31 a bushel at 2:45 p.m. in Singapore. Yesterday, it dropped to $7.255, the lowest for the most-active contract since June 26.
Corn for March delivery was little changed at $6.9575 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soybeans for May delivery slipped 0.3 percent to $14.0575 a bushel. That puts the price of soybeans at 2.0205 times the price of corn, compared with an average of 2.4 times in the past decade. Corn and soybeans compete in acreage.
Rubber futures climbed for a second day as a rally in oil raised the appeal of the commodity as an alternative to synthetic products used to make tires.
The contract for delivery in July gained as much as 0.6 percent to 333.6 yen a kilogram ($3,574 a metric ton) and was little changed at 332 yen on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange at 11:12 a.m. Futures have increased 9.8 percent this year.
Palm oil dropped to a two-week low as reserves in Malaysia, the world’s second-largest producer, dropped less than expected last month from a record in December.
The contract for delivery in April fell as much as 2.2 percent to 2,504 ringgit ($809) a metric ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange, the lowest level for the most-active contract since Jan. 30, before trading at 2,508 ringgit at 3:42 p.m. in Kuala Lumpur. Trade restarted today after a two-day break on Feb. 11 and 12 for the Lunar New Year festival.
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