Gold Tumbles Below $1,600 After U.S. Data: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials fell 0.5 percent to settle at 675.95 at 3:54 p.m. New York time, led by precious metals.

The UBS Bloomberg CMCI gauge of 26 prices slid 0.1 percent to 1,601.33.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold futures slumped below $1,600 an ounce for the first time since August as signals on the U.S. economy spurred optimism, eroding demand for the precious metal as a store of value.

In February, manufacturing in the New York region unexpectedly expanded, and consumer confidence rose to a three- month high, separate reports showed today. Billionaire investors George Soros and Louis Moore Bacon cut their stakes in exchange- traded products backed by gold in the fourth quarter, government filings showed.

On the Comex in New York, gold futures for April delivery slumped 1.6 percent to $1,609.50. Earlier, the price touched $1,596.70, the lowest for a most-active contract since Aug. 15.

Silver futures for March delivery dropped 1.7 percent to $29.849 an ounce.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for April delivery slumped 1.9 percent to $1,677.70 an ounce, the biggest loss since Dec. 20.

Palladium futures for March delivery fell 1.4 percent to $753.15 an ounce.

CRUDE OIL

Crude oil fell after U.S. industrial production unexpectedly shrank and euro-area exports declined the most in five months, raising concern that fuel demand may weaken.

On the Nymex, oil futures for March delivery tumbled 1.5 percent to $95.86 a barrel.

Brent oil for April settlement fell 0.3 percent to $117.66 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Total SA failed to buy North Sea Forties crude at a higher differential than yesterday’s trade. OAO Lukoil’s Litasco sold a cargo of Russian Urals as the price dropped to the lowest in a week.

Russia will ship eight Urals cargoes in the first six days of March from the Baltic port of Primorsk, according to a partial loading program obtained by Bloomberg News.

SOFT COMMODITIES

Cocoa slumped to the lowest in seven months, entering a bear market, on signs of abundant supplies from Ivory Coast, the world’s top producer.

On ICE Futures U.S. in New York, cocoa for May delivery declined 0.6 percent to $2,144 a metric ton. Earlier, the price touched $2,135, the lowest since June 26. The commodity has tumbled 20 percent from a 10-month high reached in September, signaling a bear market.

Arabica-coffee futures for May delivery fell 0.4 percent to $1.402 a pound.

Orange-juice futures for May delivery slipped 0.9 percent to $1.298 a pound.

Raw-sugar futures for May delivery declined 0.2 percent to 17.74 cents a pound. Earlier, the price touched 17.67 cents, the lowest since August 2010.

Cotton futures for May delivery rose 0.5 percent to 83.19 cents a pound.

BASE METALS

Copper fell in London, capping a weekly decline, after a report showed industrial production unexpectedly shrank in the U.S., the second-biggest consumer of the metal.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months decreased 0.4 percent to $8,206 a ton ($3.72 a pound). The price fell 1.1 percent this week. Tin and zinc declined, while lead, aluminum and nickel advanced.

On the Comex, copper futures for May delivery gained less than 0.1 percent to $3.7535 a pound.

OIL PRODUCTS

Gasoline rose to the highest settlement in four months amid U.S. supply concerns.

On the Nymex, gasoline futures for March delivery added 0.6 percent to $3.1345 a gallon, the highest close for a front-month contract since Sept. 28.

Heating-oil futures for March delivery slipped 0.4 percent to $3.2104 a gallon.

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas dropped to a five-week low on forecasts of moderating temperatures that would curtail U.S. heating-fuel use amid ample stockpiles.

On the Nymex, gas futures for March delivery slipped 0.3 percent to $3.153 per million British thermal units. The price slumped 3.6 percent this week.

U.K. gas declined as temperatures rose, cutting demand.

Gas for today fell 2.7 percent to 67 pence a therm at 4:10 p.m. London time. The month-ahead contract declined 1.5 percent to 66.2 pence a therm. That’s equivalent to $10.28 per million Btu.

GRAINS, OILSEEDS

Wheat futures rose the most in two weeks on indications that U.S. livestock are feeding on more of the grain.

On the Chicago Board of Trade, wheat futures for May delivery climbed 1.1 percent to $7.485 a bushel.

Corn futures for May delivery advanced 0.6 percent to $6.97 a bushel. The price dropped in the previous 10 sessions, the longest slump since July 1965.

Soybean futures for May delivery rose 0.4 percent to $14.1475 a bushel.

LIVESTOCK

Hog futures extended a decline to a two-month low on concern that demand for U.S. ham is slowing.

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, hog futures for April settlement dropped 0.1 percent to 84.25 cents a pound. Earlier, the price touched 83.575 cents, the lowest since Dec. 10.

Cattle futures for April delivery climbed 0.5 percent to $1.3045 a pound.

Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement rose 0.5 percent to close at $1.43375 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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