WTI Oil Rises, Shrinks Discount to Brent: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities was little changed at 644.04 by 5 p.m. in London. The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 raw materials was little changed at 1,538.098.

CRUDE OIL

West Texas Intermediate crude rose, narrowing its discount versus Brent to the lowest level in two months, as the euro strengthened against the dollar and as the U.S. economy improved.

WTI for May delivery gained 46 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $92.91 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices are down 0.6 percent this week.

Brent for May settlement slipped 7 cents to $107.40 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange after falling to $106.90, the weakest intraday level since Dec. 7. The volume of all futures traded was 19 percent below the 100-day average for the time of day. The grade has lost 3.3 percent this year, while WTI has gained 1.2 percent.

The European benchmark’s premium to WTI shrank to as little as $14.42, the narrowest level since January on an intraday basis.

Oil markets: NI OILMARKET

BASE METALS

Copper rose in London, narrowing this week’s drop, on signs a price slump encouraged buyers in leading global consumer China as demand strengthens.

Copper for delivery in three months added 1.1 percent to $7,661.75 a metric ton on the LME, reducing the weekly slide to 1.2 percent. The metal for delivery in May rose 0.8 percent to $3.463 a pound on the Comex in New York.

Copper in Shanghai was about 700 yuan ($112) a ton more expensive than in London yesterday, according to figures compiled by Bloomberg, giving more incentive to import. That compares with an average discount this year of about 319 yuan.

Tin, nickel, lead, aluminum and zinc advanced in London.

Base metals markets: NI BMMKTS

GRAINS, OILSEEDS

Corn declined for the first time in seven days as U.S. farmers prepare to plant the most acres since the 1930s and after U.S. export sales of the grain fell last week. Soybeans and wheat also dropped.

Corn for May delivery lost 1.3 percent to $7.2375 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. Still, futures are poised for a 0.9 percent gain this week.

Soybeans for May delivery fell 0.6 percent to $14.3975 a bushel. Wheat for May delivery dropped 1 percent to $7.2175 a bushel.

Milling wheat futures for delivery in May traded on NYSE Liffe in Paris fell 0.2 percent to 241 euros ($313) a ton.

Grains markets: NI GRMKTS

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas futures rose above $4 per million British thermal units for a second day in New York on forecasts of cold early-spring weather that would spur demand for the heating fuel.

Natural gas for April delivery rose 4.4 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $3.979 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange after reaching $4.006.

U.K. natural gas: NI NUKMKT Gas market: NI GASMARKET Americas natural gas: NI AGASMARKET European natural gas: NI EGASMARKET

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold futures fell as lawmakers in Cyprus debated measures needed for a bailout, crimping demand for the precious metal as store of value.

Gold futures for April delivery dropped 0.4 percent to $1,607 an ounce on the Comex in New York. Yesterday, the metal reached $1,616.50, the highest for a most-active contract since Feb. 26.

Silver futures for May delivery fell 1.9 percent to $28.655 an ounce on the Comex. A close at that price would mark the biggest drop since Feb. 28.

Precious metal markets: NI PCMKTS

SOFT COMMODITIES

Cotton futures fell to the lowest in more than a week on signs that farmers will plant more of the crop than expected in the U.S., the world’s biggest exporter. Orange juice and arabica coffee gained.

Cotton for May delivery slumped 0.8 percent to 87.50 cents a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, after touching 87.33 cents the lowest since March 13.

Orange-juice futures for delivery in May advanced 0.4 percent to $1.3815 a pound on ICE. Arabica coffee for delivery in May rose 0.6 percent to $1.3455 a pound.

Also in New York, raw-sugar futures for delivery in May were unchanged at 18.21 cents a pound. Cocoa futures for May delivery were down less than 0.1 percent at $2,165 a ton.

Soft commodities markets: NI SOMKTS

OIL PRODUCTS

Gasoline fluctuated as Brent crude weakened versus West Texas Intermediate oil amid debate over a bailout for Cyprus, whose financial crisis threatens the euro-area economy.

Gasoline for April delivery fell 0.6 percent to $3.053 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Heating oil for April delivery slipped 0.5 percent to $2.8821 a gallon.

Oil Products Europe: NI OPEMKT Gasoline: NI GASOLINE Heating oil: NI HEATOIL

LIVESTOCK

Cattle futures dropped on signs that demand for animals is slowing from U.S. processors. Hogs also slumped.

Cattle futures for June delivery declined 0.4 percent to $1.21575 a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The price is down 7 percent this year.

Feeder-cattle futures for May settlement rose 0.2 percent to $1.4075 a pound in Chicago.

Hog futures for June settlement declined 0.5 percent to 89.15 cents a pound in Chicago.

Livestock markets: NI LVMKTS

To contact the reporter on this story: Sharon Lindores in London at slindores@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

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