Gold headed for the longest rally in six months as signs of slowing growth in Europe increased speculation that central banks will expand stimulus, boosting demand for precious metals as a store of value.
Gold futures for April delivery climbed 0.8 percent to $1,590.30 an ounce on the Comex in New York. Prices are heading for a fourth consecutive session of gains, the longest stretch since Aug. 21.
Silver futures for May delivery rose 1.1 percent to $29.16 an ounce, heading for the biggest jump since Feb. 25.
Precious metal markets: NI PCMKTS
West Texas Intermediate advanced, narrowing its discount to Brent crude to the lowest level in five weeks, as the euro trimmed losses against the dollar and OPEC increased production.
WTI for April delivery gained $1.01, or 1.1 percent, to $93.07 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices are up 1.4 percent this year. Volume was 26 percent above the 100- day average for the time of day.
Brent for April settlement advanced 47 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $110.69 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Volume was 42 percent above the 100-day average. Brent’s premium to WTI fell as narrow as $17.30, the lowest level since Jan. 31. The spread touched $23.44 on Feb. 8.
Oil markets: NI OILMARKET
Cocoa futures climbed to a three-week high on signs of reduced deliveries by farmers in Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest producer. Orange juice also gained, while sugar and coffee slid. Cotton was little changed.
Cocoa for May delivery rose 1.6 percent to $2,165 a ton on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, after touching $2,176, the highest for a most-active contract since Feb. 14. Prices are up 6 percent in the past four sessions, the longest rally since Dec. 3.
Also in New York, orange-juice futures for delivery in May rose 0.6 percent to $1.3705 a pound, heading for the fourth straight gain.
Raw-sugar futures for May delivery tumbled 1.1 percent to 18.62 cents a pound on ICE, heading for the biggest drop since March 1. Arabica-coffee futures for delivery in May slid 0.9 percent to $1.424 a pound. Cotton futures for May delivery were little changed, up 0.01 cent at 86.73 cents a pound, after dropping 0.6 percent.
Soft commodities markets: NI SOMKTS
Copper rose for a second day in New York as global equities strengthened and Chinese passenger-vehicle sales had the strongest start to a year since 2010.
Copper for delivery in May advanced 1.3 percent to $3.564 a pound on the Comex in New York. Copper for delivery in three months rose 1.4 percent to $7,863 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange.
Nickel, tin, aluminum and lead rose in London.
Base metals markets: NI BMMKTS
Soybean futures for delivery in May slid 0.4 percent to $14.7325 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, down from yesterday’s close of $14.795, the highest since Feb. 7.
Corn futures for May delivery rose 0.4 percent to $7.1425 a bushel in Chicago.
Wheat futures for May delivery climbed 0.1 percent to $7.005 a bushel on the CBOT.
Grains markets: NI GRMKTS
Ethanol weakened against gasoline on concern that improving returns for making the biofuel will spur a rebound in production from record low levels for this time of year.
The spread widened 1.79 cents to 62.63 cents a gallon, a day before the Energy Information Administration is to report the most recent weekly production data. Ethanol has risen 5.7 percent this month, boosting returns to the highest level since June and narrowing its discount to gasoline from the 2013 high of 78.76 cents on Feb. 14, Bloomberg data show.
Denatured ethanol for April delivery fell 0.9 cent to $2.535 a gallon on the Chicago Board of Trade, dropping from the highest price since Sept. 4. Prices have gained 16 percent this year.
Gasoline futures for April delivery rose 0.89 cent, or 0.3 percent, to $3.1613 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract covers reformulated gasoline, which is made to be blended with ethanol before delivery to filling stations.
Oil Products Europe: NI OPEMKT Gasoline: NI GASOLINE Heating oil: NI HEATOIL
Natural gas futures fluctuated near a three-month high in New York on forecasts of mild weather that would erode demand for the heating fuel.
Natural gas for April delivery fell 0.6 cent to $3.643 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Trading volume was 26 percent above the average for the time of day. Prices settled at $3.649 per million Btu yesterday, the highest close since Dec. 6. The futures have gained 8.7 percent this year.
U.K. natural gas: NI NUKMKT Gas market: NI GASMARKET Americas natural gas: NI AGASMARKET European natural gas: NI EGASMARKET
European Carbon Permits
The European Union canceled an auction of carbon emissions permits for the first time as bids failed to reach the bloc’s secret reserve price.
The sale was called off because the price would have cleared “significantly” below the prevailing market rate, according to European Energy Exchange AG, the unit of Deutsche Boerse AG that runs the auction. EU allowances for delivery in December fell to a five-week low of 3.71 euros ($4.83) a metric ton on London’s ICE Futures Europe before paring the decline.
EU carbon for December was trading at 3.84 euros a ton on ICE in London.
EU Carbon Emissions: NI ECBMKT
Cattle futures for April delivery rose 0.4 percent to $1.28675 a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Feeder- cattle futures for May delivery gained 0.3 percent to $1.44225 a pound on the CME.
Hog futures for April delivery advanced 0.2 percent to 81.35 cents a pound on the CME.
Livestock markets: NI LVMKTS
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