Natural Gas Jumps on Cold-Weather Outlook: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials rose 0.1 percent to settle at 658.64 at 3:46 p.m. New York time, led by natural gas.

The UBS Bloomberg CMCI gauge of 26 prices declined 0.2 percent to 1,557.64.

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas jumped to the highest in two weeks on forecasts for cold weather that would stoke U.S. demand for the heating fuel.

Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland, said that temperatures may be below normal in most of the central and eastern U.S. from March 2 through March 11. The low in Chicago on March 7 may be 16 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 9 Celsius), 12 degrees less than usual, according to AccuWeather Inc.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, gas futures for March delivery increased 3.7 percent to $3.414 per million British thermal units, the highest settlement since Feb. 6.

U.K. gas rose to the highest in more than a year as colder- than-average weather boosted demand, tightening the delivery network.

The same-day price gained as much as 8.5 pence to 82 pence, the highest since Feb. 10, 2012, and was at 80 pence at 4:17 p.m. London time. Month-ahead gas climbed 1.5 percent to 68.05 pence a therm. That’s equivalent to $10.28 per million Btu.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold climbed the most in three weeks as the central banks of Russia and Kazakhstan increased bullion reserves last month.

On the Comex in New York, gold futures for April delivery rose 0.9 percent to $1,586.60 an ounce, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since Jan. 30.

Silver futures for May delivery increased 1.8 percent to $29.047 an ounce.

On the Nymex, platinum for April delivery gained 0.8 percent to $1,620.70 an ounce.

Palladium for March delivery jumped 1.9 percent to $749.05 an ounce, the biggest gain in four weeks.

LIVESTOCK

Cattle futures climbed on concern that a second snowstorm in the U.S. Great Plains will disrupt movement of animals and beef supplies.

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, cattle futures for April delivery rose 0.2 percent to $1.28425 a pound.

Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement slid 0.3 percent to $1.408 a pound.

Hog futures for April settlement increased 0.3 percent to 81.9 cents a pound. The price dropped in the previous eight sessions, the longest slump since October 2008.

GRAINS, OILSEEDS

Wheat dropped to an eight-month low on speculation that the snowstorm in the Great Plains will help ease drought conditions before crops emerge from winter dormancy.

On the Chicago Board of Trade, wheat futures for May delivery fell 1.9 percent to $7.0525 a bushel, after touching $7.04, the lowest since June 25.

Soybean futures for May delivery declined 0.6 percent to $14.3525 a bushel.

Corn futures for May delivery rose 0.2 percent to $6.855 a bushel.

BASE METALS

Nickel fell for the fifth time in six sessions on signs that manufacturing is expanding at the slowest pace in four months in China, the world’s largest consumer of industrial metals.

On the London Metal Exchange, nickel for delivery in three months slumped 1.6 percent to $16,705 a metric ton.

Copper for delivery in three months climbed 0.4 percent to $7,836 a ton ($3.55 a pound). Aluminum and lead declined, while tin and zinc rose.

On the Comex, copper futures for May delivery gained 0.3 percent to $3.561 a pound.

CRUDE OIL

Crude oil fell as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry signaled that a diplomatic solution to a standoff over Iran’s nuclear program is possible.

On the Nymex, oil futures for April delivery dropped 2 cents to $93.11 a barrel.

Brent oil for April settlement advanced 0.3 percent to $114.44 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

North Sea Forties crude differentials dropped to the lowest in almost three months as Trafigura Beheer BV and Total SA failed to sell the grade. Glencore International Plc sold Russian Urals at the lowest in more than 10 months.

Nigeria, Africa’s largest producer, plans to increase exports of its benchmark Qua Iboe crude in April to 11 cargoes, including four lots deferred from March, according to a preliminary loading program obtained by Bloomberg News.

OIL PRODUCTS

Gasoline declined after crude oil retreated when Kerry indicated a diplomatic solution on Iran was possible.

On the Nymex, gasoline futures for March delivery fell 0.6 percent to $3.0611 a gallon.

Heating-oil futures for March delivery slid 0.2 percent to $3.0989 a gallon.

SOFT COMMODITIES

Orange-juice futures rose for the fourth straight session on concern that dry weather may curb yields in Florida, the second-largest citrus grower.

On ICE Futures U.S. in New York, orange juice for May delivery rose 0.4 percent to $1.2975 a pound.

Cocoa futures for delivery in May rose 0.2 percent to $2,143 a ton.

Cotton futures for May delivery dropped 1.7 percent to 81.72 cents a pound, the biggest decline since Jan. 25.

Raw-sugar futures for May delivery declined 0.3 percent to 18.09 cents a pound.

Arabica-coffee futures for May delivery fell 0.5 percent to $1.431 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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