Oil Declines to Two-Month Low: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials fell 0.4 percent to settle at 640.41 in New York, led by wheat. The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 prices fell 0.01 percent to 1,535.374.

CRUDE OIL

West Texas Intermediate crude fell below $90 a barrel for the first time in 2013 as service industries in China expanded at the weakest pace in five months, adding to speculation that demand growth is slowing.

WTI for April delivery slid 56 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $90.12 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since Dec. 24. Prices fell to $89.33 in intraday trading. Volume was 19 percent below the 100-day average for the time of day at 2:39 p.m.

Brent for April dropped 31 cents to settle at $110.09 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Volume was 24 percent above the 100-day average.

OIL PRODUCTS

Gasoline futures declined as U.S. refiners wrapped up seasonal maintenance and prepared to restart plants. Crack spreads narrowed.

April-delivery gasoline declined 3.03 cents to settle at $3.0983 a gallon on the Nymex on volume that was 0.3 percent below the 100-day average for the time of day. April’s premium over the May contract narrowed to 3 cents from 4 cents a gallon on March 1, indicating supplies may increase as plants boost production after seasonal maintenance.

Heating oil for March delivery fell 1.1 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $2.9191 a gallon, the lowest settlement since Dec. 10. Trading volume was 4.8 percent below the 100-day average.

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas futures jumped to a five-week high in New York on speculation that unusually cold weather in the East will spur demand for the heating fuel.

Natural gas for April delivery increased 7.3 cents to $3.529 per million British thermal units on the Nymex, the highest settlement price since Jan. 23.

BASE METALS

Lead and zinc fell in London as China’s efforts to cool property prices fueled concerns that growth may slow in the world’s biggest metals consumer.

Lead for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange dropped 1.2 percent to settle at $2,216 a metric ton at 5:52. Earlier, the metal touched $2,212.85, the lowest since Dec. 7. Zinc declined 0.9 percent to $2,002 a ton after falling to $1,995, the lowest since Jan. 17.

Aluminum and nickel were also lower in London. Copper gained 0.3 percent to $7,725 a ton ($3.50 a pound). Tin rose.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold futures climbed for the first time in four sessions on speculation that central banks will continue stimulus measures to spur economic growth.

Gold futures for April delivery rose 10 cents to settle at $1,572.40 an ounce on the Comex in New York.

Silver futures for May delivery climbed less than 0.1 percent to $28.496 an ounce on the Comex. On March 1, the price touched $27.925, the lowest for a most-active contract since Aug. 16. The metal has declined 5.7 percent this year.

SOFT COMMODITIES

Cocoa futures fell to a 14-month low on speculation that rain in Ivory Coast, the world’s largest producer, will boost supplies and add to increasing stockpiles. Cotton, orange juice, coffee and sugar advanced.

Cocoa for May delivery slid 1.2 percent to settle at $2,056 a metric ton on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, the lowest closing price since Jan. 6, 2012. The price has dropped 8.1 percent this year.

Cotton futures for May delivery jumped 1 percent to close at 86.26 cents a pound on ICE. Earlier, the price reached 86.75 cents, the highest for a most-active commodity since May 9.

GRAINS, OILSEEDS

Wheat fell to the lowest in eight months after a survey showed reserves will top a government forecast in the U.S., the world’s biggest exporter. Soybeans gained, and corn dropped.

Wheat futures for May delivery fell 2.5 percent to close at $7.025 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade after touching $6.975, the lowest since June 25.

Soybean futures for May delivery advanced 1.3 percent to $14.62 a bushel in Chicago on speculation that shipping delays in Brazil will increase overseas demand for U.S. supplies.

Corn for May delivery fell 0.7 percent to $7.0325 a bushel,

LIVESTOCK

Cattle futures gained for the sixth time in seven sessions on signs of increasing demand for beef in the U.S. as meatpacking plants process fewer animals. Hog prices declined to the lowest since November.

Cattle futures for April delivery gained 0.3 percent to settle at $1.3035 a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Last week, the price advanced 1.3 percent, the most since mid- December.

Feeder-cattle for May settlement rose 0.2 percent to $1.47725 a pound.

Hog futures for April settlement dropped 1 percent to 80.3 cents a pound. The price touched 80.05 cents, the lowest for a most-active contract since Nov. 9. In February, the price tumbled 9.3 percent, the most since July.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eliot Caroom in New York at ecaroom@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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