Natural Gas Surges to Three-Month High: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials rose 0.5 percent to settle at 650.23 at 3:46 p.m. New York time, led by natural gas.

The UBS Bloomberg CMCI gauge of 26 prices advanced 0.5 percent to 1,553.07.

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas jumped to a three-month high after a government report showed that U.S. stockpiles last week fell to the lowest in almost two years.

The Energy Information Administration said that inventories dropped 145 billion cubic feet to 1.938 trillion, the lowest since May 13, 2011. Analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg forecast a decline of 137 billion.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, gas futures for April delivery surged 3.6 percent to $3.812 per million British thermal units, the highest settlement since Nov. 23.

U.K. day-ahead gas fell as much as 13 percent to 75 pence a therm and was 77.5 pence at 4:58 p.m. in London, according to broker prices compiled by Bloomberg. A therm is 100,000 Btu.

SOFT COMMODITIES

Cotton rose to a 10-month high as exports climbed in the U.S., the world’s top shipper.

On ICE Futures U.S. in New York, cotton for May delivery jumped 2.5 percent to 90.86 cents a pound after reaching 91.17 cents, the highest for a most-active contract since April 30.

Raw-sugar futures for May delivery advanced 0.2 percent to 18.84 cents a pound.

Orange-juice futures for May delivery dropped 0.3 percent to $1.3695 a pound.

Cocoa futures for May delivery fell 0.8 percent to $2,130 a metric ton.

Arabica-coffee futures for May delivery declined 0.7 percent to $1.3965 a pound.

BASE METALS

Nickel jumped to a three-week high as strengthening European equities and an unexpected drop in U.S. jobless claims fueled bets that demand for industrial metals will climb

On the London Metal Exchange, nickel for delivery in three months advanced 1.7 percent to $17,225 a ton, the biggest gain since Feb. 22.

Copper increased 0.2 percent to $7,800 a ton ($3.54 a pound), and aluminum gained. Zinc, tin and lead fell.

In New York, copper futures for May delivery rose 0.3 percent to $3.5365 a pound on the Comex.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold rose for the fifth time in six sessions as a decline by the dollar boosted demand for the precious metal as an alternative investment.

On the Comex, gold futures for April delivery advanced 0.1 percent to $1,590.70 an ounce. Earlier, the price dropped as much as 0.8 percent on concern that the Federal Reserve may wind down monthly purchases of debt.

Silver futures for May delivery fell 0.5 percent to $28.807 an ounce.

On the Nymex, platinum futures for April delivery slid 0.2 percent to $1,589.80 an ounce.

Palladium futures for June delivery declined 0.1 percent to $770.75 an ounce.

CRUDE OIL

Crude oil climbed to a two-week high as the number of Americans filing applications for jobless benefits unexpectedly dropped last week.

On the Nymex, oil futures for April delivery rose 0.6 percent to $93.03 a barrel, the highest closing price since Feb. 25.

Brent oil for April settlement climbed 0.8 percent to $109.42 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Trafigura Beheer BV failed to sell North Sea Forties crude as at a higher price than yesterday’s trades. Eni SpA and Total SA bid unsuccessfully for Russian Urals grade.

The Buzzard oil field’s share in Forties rose to 39 percent for the week ending March 10, the highest proportion in a month, according to data published on BP Plc’s website.

OIL PRODUCTS

Gasoline settled little changed after dropping as much as 1.4 percent amid speculation that high refining margins will spur production.

On the Nymex, gasoline futures for April delivery slid less than 0.1 percent to $3.1413 a gallon.

Heating-oil futures for April delivery rose 0.2 percent to $2.9295 a gallon.

GRAINS, OILSEEDS

Wheat rose, capping the longest rally in seven months, after a government report showed higher demand for U.S. exports.

On the Chicago Board of Trade, wheat futures for May delivery advanced 2.1 percent to $7.2475 a bushel, the biggest gain since Nov. 27.

Corn futures for May delivery rose 0.9 percent to $7.165 a bushel.

Soybeans futures dropped 0.8 percent to $14.355 a bushel.

LIVESTOCK

Cattle dropped on signs of slowing demand from U.S. meatpackers.

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, cattle futures for April delivery slid 0.4 percent to $1.2805 a pound.

Feeder-cattle futures for May settlement declined 0.8 percent to $1.433 a pound.

Hog futures for June settlement rose 0.5 percent to 90.525 cents a pound. Earlier, the price dropped as much as 0.9 percent.

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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