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Gas Leaps to 13-Week High on Supply Draw: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials rose 0.8 percent to settle at 646.65 in New York, led by natural gas. The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 prices rose 0.8 percent to 1,543.633.

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas futures climbed to a 13-week high in New York after a government report showed that U.S. inventories fell by more than forecast last week as cold weather boosted demand.

Gas rose 3.2 percent after the Energy Information Administration said stockpiles fell 146 billion cubic feet in the week ended March 1 to 2.083 trillion, sending a year-over- year deficit to the widest gap since July 2008. Analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg showed a decline of 132 billion cubic feet. Below-normal temperatures swept across most of the U.S. last week, according to Commodity Weather Group LLC.

Natural gas for April delivery gained 11.2 cents to $3.582 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement price since Dec. 6.

CRUDE OIL

West Texas Intermediate oil advanced after U.S. unemployment benefit applications dropped to a six-week low, bolstering optimism about the country’s economy, and the dollar weakened against the euro.

Crude oil for April delivery rose $1.13 to settle at $91.56 a barrel on the Nymex.

Brent oil for April settlement rose 9 cents to end the session at $111.15 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

OIL PRODUCTS

Gasoline’s spread to West Texas Intermediate oil narrowed as U.S. East Coast supplies of the motor fuel increased and the gap between WTI and Brent crude shrank. April gasoline’s premium over later months declined.

The April crack spread, or gasoline’s premium over WTI crude on Nymex, slipped $1.19 to $39.62 a barrel, the smallest difference in five days. Brent’s premium over WTI slipped $1.04 to $19.59 a barrel, a one-week low.

April-delivery gasoline fell 0.14 cent to $3.1233 a gallon on the Nymex on volume that was 13 percent above the 100-day average. Prices touched $3.1389 earlier.

Heating oil for March delivery rose 0.39 cent to settle at $2.9795 a gallon on trading volume that was 9.2 percent above the 100-day average.

Gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, fell 0.8 cent to $3.727 a gallon, AAA said today on its website. It was the eighth consecutive drop.

BASE METALS

Copper gained the most in almost four weeks after the European Central Bank maintained its view that the euro-area economy will gradually recover later this year and as U.S. jobless claims unexpectedly dropped.

Copper futures for delivery in May climbed 0.8 percent to settle at $3.5205 a pound on the Comex in New York, the biggest gain since Feb. 8.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months added 1 percent to $7,765 a metric ton ($3.52 a pound).

Nickel, aluminum, tin, lead and zinc also rose in London.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold futures rose as the European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged, driving the euro higher against the dollar and boosting the appeal of the precious metal as an alternative investment.

Gold futures for April delivery advanced 20 cents to settle at $1,575.10 an ounce on the Comex.

Silver futures for May delivery rose less than 0.1 percent to $28.808 an ounce on the Comex. The price gained for the fifth straight session, the longest rally since Jan. 23.

On the Nymex, platinum futures for April delivery advanced 1 percent to $1,595.10 an ounce.

Palladium futures for June delivery climbed 2.6 percent to $759.05 an ounce.

SOFT COMMODITIES

Sugar futures surged the most since November on concern that shipments will be delayed from Brazil, the world’s top exporter. Coffee, cocoa and orange juice rose, while cotton fell.

Raw sugar for May delivery gained 3.1 percent to settle at 18.77 cents a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, the biggest increase for a most-active contract since Nov. 19. The price rose for the fourth straight session, the longest rally in five months.

Arabica-coffee futures for May delivery rose 1.3 percent to $1.431 a pound in New York. The commodity has tumbled 24 percent in the past 12 months.

Cocoa futures for May delivery climbed 1 percent to $2,062 a ton. The price has dropped 7.8 percent this year.

Orange-juice futures for May delivery gained 1.5 percent to $1.2455 a pound. The price has climbed 6.1 percent this year.

Cotton futures for May delivery fell 0.8 percent to 86.50 cents a pound. The fiber climbed in the previous seven sessions, the longest rally in six weeks.

GRAINS, OILSEEDS

Wheat futures jumped the most in seven weeks after a government report showed export sales rose to a two-month high in the U.S., the world’s biggest shipper. Soybean and corn prices climbed.

Wheat futures for May delivery gained 1.7 percent to settle at $6.955 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest increase for a most-active contract since Jan. 15.

Soybean futures for May delivery rose 0.5 percent to $14.735 a bushel, the highest settlement in a month.

Corn futures for May delivery rose 0.4 percent to $6.9125 a bushel. Earlier, the price fell as much as 0.9 percent.

LIVESTOCK

Hog futures surged the most since November as slumping U.S. pork prices fueled speculation that demand for the meat will increase as consumers shift from more-expensive beef or poultry cuts. Cattle declined.

Hog futures for April settlement rose 3.2 percent to close at 81.8 cents a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the biggest gain since Nov 7. Yesterday, the most-active futures touched 78.25 cents, the lowest since Nov. 7. The price has declined 4.6 percent this year.

Cattle futures for April delivery slid 0.4 percent to $1.283 a pound on the CME, capping a third straight decline.

Feeder-cattle futures for May settlement rose 0.2 percent to $1.44925 a pound, the biggest gain in a week.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Murtaugh in Houston at dmurtaugh@bloomberg.net

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

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