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Natural Gas Advances to 20-Month High: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities declined 0.7 percent to 631.65 by 5:14 p.m. in London. The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 raw materials fell 0.3 percent to 1,509.12.

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas rose to a 20-month high in New York after a government report showed that U.S. stockpiles fell more than expected last week.

The futures advanced as much as 2.5 percent after the Energy Information Administration said supplies in the week ended April 5 dropped 14 billion cubic feet to 1.673 trillion. Analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg predicted a drop of 13 billion. The five-year average change for the week is an increase of 15 billion.

Natural gas for May delivery gained 8 cents, or 2 percent, to $4.165 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Trading was more than double the 100-day average for the time of day. The fuel reached $4.185, the highest intraday price since August 2011.

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

CRUDE OIL

West Texas Intermediate crude fell for the first time in four days as the International Energy Agency trimmed its forecasts for global oil demand while U.S. inventories climbed to a 22-year high.

WTI for May delivery dropped $1.32, or 1.4 percent, to $93.32 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The volume of all futures traded was 18 percent lower than the 100-day average for the time of day. The contract rose to $94.64 yesterday, the highest settlement since April 2.

Brent for May settlement slid $1.42, or 1.3 percent, to $104.37 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Volume was 21 percent above the 100-day average for the time of day. The European benchmark grade’s premium to WTI shrank to as little as $10.62, the narrowest level since Jan. 26, 2012.

Oil markets: NI OILMARKET

SOFT COMMODITIES

Sugar fell for the first time in New York this week on speculation producers in Thailand, the world’s second-biggest exporter, are selling just as the harvest in leading grower Brazil is set to start. Cocoa advanced.

Raw sugar for July delivery fell 0.7 percent to 17.76 cents a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. It rose 0.9 percent yesterday. White sugar for August delivery rose 0.4 percent to $496.70 a ton on NYSE Liffe in London.

Arabica coffee for delivery in July rose 0.2 percent to $1.3865 a pound on ICE. Robusta coffee for delivery in July advanced 0.9 percent to $2,050 a ton on NYSE Liffe.

Cocoa for July delivery gained 0.3 percent to $2,238 a ton in New York. Cocoa for July delivery rose 0.1 to 1,485 pounds ($2,287) a ton in London.

Soft commodities markets: NI SOMKTS

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold gained for the second time in three days as a weaker dollar increased demand for the precious metal as an alternative investment.

Gold futures for June delivery rose 0.4 percent to $1,564.40 an ounce on the Comex in New York. Prices earlier retreated as much 0.4 percent after U.S. jobless claims fell more than analysts expected, easing pressure on policy makers to increase stimulus to boost growth.

Silver futures for May delivery gained 0.3 percent to $27.73 an ounce.

Precious metal markets: NI PCMKTS

BASE METALS

Copper for delivery in three months rose 0.4 percent to $7,604 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange. Aluminum declined as much as 1.2 percent, the most since April 2. Copper for delivery in May advanced 0.4 percent to $3.432 a pound on the Comex in New York.

Tin closed down 0.1 percent at $22,850 a ton on the LME. Lead and zinc fell and nickel rose in London.

Base metals markets: NI BMMKTS

GRAINS, OILSEEDS

Soybean futures rallied, heading for the biggest weekly gain since January, on signs of improved demand for exports of U.S. animal feed. Wheat and corn also gained.

Soybean futures for May delivery rose 0.1 percent to $13.9425 a bushel on the Chicago Board of trade, heading for a 2.4 percent gain this week, the most since the five days ended Jan. 18. Soybean-meal futures for July delivery advanced 0.2 percent to $392.40 a short ton, after touching a nine-month low of $388.20 before today’s USDA report. March, and the U.K.’s wheat area has declined after excess rain.

Wheat futures for July delivery rose 0.5 percent to $7.0625 a bushel.

Corn futures for July delivery rose 0.4 percent to $6.35 a bushel.

Grains markets: NI GRMKTS

OIL PRODUCTS

Gasoline sank to the lowest level since February and crack spreads narrowed as refineries returned from maintenance, boosting inventories.

Gasoline for May delivery fell 1.96 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $2.8455 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices touched $2.8321, the lowest intraday level since Feb. 28.

The May crack spread versus WTI narrowed 52 cents to $25.17 a barrel. The spread against Brent oil on ICE Futures Europe Exchange fell 28 cents to $14.26.

Gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, fell 0.8 cent to $3.564 a gallon, AAA said today on its website. Prices have fallen 22.2 cents from the year-to-date high of $3.786 on Feb. 26 and are 35.1 cents below a year ago.

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

LIVESTOCK

Cattle futures rose the most in two weeks on signs of constrained supplies in the U.S., the world’s biggest beef exporter. Hogs also climbed.

Cattle futures for June delivery rose 0.6 percent to $1.20675 a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. A close at that price would mark the biggest increase for a most-active contract since March 28. Through yesterday, the commodity dropped 9.3 percent in 2013.

Feeder-cattle futures for May settlement climbed 0.1 percent to $1.42425 a pound.

Hog futures for June settlement advanced 0.5 percent to 89.925 cents a pound. Through yesterday, the price climbed 4.4 percent this year.

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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