Copper Advances on China Autos, U.S. Jobs: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials rose 0.1 percent to settle at 649.62 at 3:59 p.m. New York time, led by industrial metals.

The UBS Bloomberg CMCI gauge of 26 prices advanced 0.3 percent to 1,551.55.

BASE METALS

Copper rose to the highest in more than a week as signs of strength in Chinese auto sales and gains in the U.S. labor market brightened demand prospects for industrial metals.

Wholesale deliveries of cars, multipurpose and sport- utility vehicles rose 20 percent in the two months ended Feb. 28 in the strongest start since 2010, according to a Chinese industry group. U.S. job openings climbed in January, and confidence among small businesses rose in February for a third month, reports showed.

On the Comex in New York, copper futures for May delivery advanced 1.1 percent to $3.5545 a pound. Earlier, the price reached $3.576, the highest for a most-active contract since Feb. 28.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months gained 0.9 percent to $7,830 a metric ton ($3.55 a pound). Zinc, nickel, tin, aluminum and lead also rose.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold rose, capping the longest rally in six months, as Europe’s slumping economy increased speculation that central banks will expand stimulus measures, boosting demand for the metal as a store of value.

On the Comex, gold futures for April delivery climbed 0.9 percent to $1,591.70 an ounce. The price climbed for the fourth straight session, the longest rally since Aug 21.

Silver futures for May delivery rose 1.1 percent to $29.171 an ounce.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for April delivery fell 0.4 percent to $1,595 an ounce.

Palladium futures for June delivery dropped 0.5 percent to $775.50 an ounce.

CRUDE OIL

Crude oil advanced as the euro trimmed losses against the dollar and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries increased production.

On the Nymex, oil futures for April delivery rose 0.5 percent to $92.54 a barrel.

Brent oil for April settlement dropped 0.5 percent to $109.65 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

OAO Lukoil’s Litasco bought a cargo of Forties crude at the lowest differential in almost 11 months. Statoil ASA bid for Russian Urals blend at the highest spread in almost a month.

Daily exports of the 12 main grades of North Sea crude for loading in April will increase 8 percent to the highest in 10 months, programs obtained by Bloomberg News showed.

OIL PRODUCTS

Gasoline was little changed following wide price swings linked to volatile biofuel-credit prices.

On the Nymex, gasoline futures for April delivery slid 0.1 percent to $3.1502 a gallon. The price rose as much as 1.2 percent and dropped as much as 1.6 percent.

Heating-oil futures for April delivery fell 0.7 percent to $2.9484 a gallon.

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas fell from a three-month high on forecasts for mild weather that would erode demand for the heating fuel.

On the Nymex, gas futures for April delivery slipped 0.1 percent to $3.645 per million British thermal units.

U.K. gas surged to the highest in more than a year as freezing weather eroded inventory.

The day-ahead price jumped as much as 7.5 pence to 98 pence a therm, according to broker data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s the highest since Feb. 8, 2012, and was equivalent to $14.58 per million Btu. The contract was 95.75 pence at 5:11 p.m. London time.

SOFT COMMODITIES

Cocoa climbed to a three-week high on signs of reduced deliveries by farmers in Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest producer.

On ICE Futures U.S. in New York, cocoa for May delivery rose 1.3 percent to $2,158 a ton. Earlier, the price reached $2,176, the highest since Feb. 14.

Orange-juice futures for May delivery advanced 0.9 percent to $1.375 a pound.

Cotton futures for May delivery rose 0.7 percent to 87.33 cents a pound.

Arabica-coffee futures for May delivery fell 1 percent to $1.4235 a pound.

Raw-sugar futures for May delivery were unchanged at 18.82 cents a pound.

GRAINS, OILSEEDS

Soybeans fell the most in two weeks as the harvest accelerates in Brazil, where the crop was expected to increase to a record.

On the Chicago Board of Trade, soybean futures for May delivery dropped 0.7 percent to $14.6875 a bushel, the biggest decline since February 22.

Corn futures for May delivery rose 0.4 percent to $7.1425 a bushel, the fifth gain in six sessions.

Wheat futures for May delivery climbed 0.5 percent to $7.035 a bushel.

LIVESTOCK

Cattle rose for the second straight day on signs of increasing beef demand in the U.S.

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, cattle futures for April delivery rose 0.4 percent to $1.287 a pound.

Feeder-cattle futures for May delivery gained 0.2 percent to $1.44075 a pound.

Hog futures for April delivery advanced 0.4 percent to 81.45 cents 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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