Gold tumbled to the lowest price since July 2011, heading for a bear market, on signs that investors are favoring the dollar and equities as the global economy recovers. Silver dropped more than 6 percent.
Gold futures for June delivery plunged 4 percent to $1,503 an ounce on the Comex in New York. A close at that price would leave the metal down 21 percent from a record settlement of $1,891.90 in August 2011, meeting the common definition of a bear market.
Silver futures for May delivery dropped 6.3 percent to $26.965 an ounce in New York, the lowest since Nov. 18, 2010.
Precious metal markets: NI PCMKTS
Natural gas futures climbed in New York, heading for an eighth weekly gain, on speculation that cold weather would widen a supply deficit.
Natural gas for May delivery rose 6.7 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $4.206 per million Btu on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract reached $4.24, the highest intraday price since July 28, 2011. The futures have climbed 26 percent this year. Trading volume was double the average for the time of day. Gas is heading for the longest streak of weekly gains since 2009.
The discount of May contracts to October narrowed 0.1 cent to 10.1 cents. The discount of October to January expanded 1.3 cents to 31.3 cents.
U.K. natural gas: NI NUKMKT Gas market: NI GASMARKET Americas natural gas: NI AGASMARKET European natural gas: NI EGASMARKET
West Texas Intermediate crude fell to a one-month low after U.S. retail sales dropped and as Cyprus was said to seek more funds, signaling lower fuel demand. Brent oil’s premium to WTI shrank to the smallest level in 14 months.
WTI crude oil for May delivery declined $2.90, or 3.1 percent, to $90.61 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract touched $90.27, the lowest level since March 7. Prices have fallen 2.3 percent this week. The volume of all futures traded was more than double the 100- day average.
Brent for May settlement fell $2.79, or 2.7 percent, to $101.48 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Volume was 93 percent above the 100-day average for the time of day. Brent touched $101.09, the least since July 13. The European benchmark grade traded at a premium of $10.87 to WTI futures.
Oil markets: NI OILMARKET
Cotton futures fell, heading for the second straight weekly decline, on signs of increasing global supplies. Orange juice climbed.
Cotton for July delivery fell 1 percent to 85.90 cents a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York.
Orange-juice futures for May delivery fell 0.1 percent to $1.4275 a pound. On April 10, the USDA cut its forecast of orange output in Florida for a fifth straight month. The state is the world’s biggest grower, after Brazil.
Raw sugar for July delivery rose 0.7 percent to 17.92 cents a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York.
Arabica coffee for delivery in July fell 0.3 percent to $1.387 a pound on ICE.
Cocoa for July delivery gained 1.2 percent to $2,271 a ton in New York.
Soft commodities markets: NI SOMKTS
Zinc fell the most in three months in London, set for a ninth weekly retreat, as industrial metals plunged amid signs economies are struggling to maintain growth.
Zinc for delivery in three months declined 2.1 percent to $1,873 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, for a 0.7 percent weekly retreat. Prices dropped as much as 3.5 percent, the most since March 6, 2012. Copper, aluminum, nickel and lead all fell more than 1 percent and tin slid.
Copper for delivery in three months retreated 2.6 percent to $7,410.50 a ton on the LME. The metal for delivery in May fell 2.6 percent to $3.345 a pound on the Comex in New York.
Base metals markets: NI BMMKTS
Wheat rose the most in four sessions as frigid weather in North America raised the risk of damage to crops emerging from dormancy and delays in spring planting. Corn and soybeans also advanced.
Wheat futures for delivery in July jumped 1.8 percent to $7.16 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, heading for the biggest gain since April 8 and a second straight weekly advance. In Paris, milling wheat for delivery in November increased 0.6 percent to 215 euros ($281.45) a metric ton on NYSE Liffe.
Corn futures for delivery in July rose 0.9 percent to $6.395 a bushel in Chicago. Soybean futures for July delivery climbed 0.5 percent to $13.755 a bushel. U.S. exporters reported sales of 110,000 tons of soybeans for delivery after Sept. 1 to unknown destinations, the government said today.
Grains markets: NI GRMKTS
Gasoline sank to the lowest level since January on concern that U.S. and European economies are weakening, reducing fuel demand at the same time refineries increase output.
Gasoline for May delivery fell 5 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $2.781 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange on volume that was 15 percent above the 100-day average.
The May crack spread versus West Texas Intermediate crude widened 78 cents to $26.18 a barrel as WTI for May delivery slid 2.2 percent. The spread against Brent oil on ICE Futures Europe Exchange gained 78 cents to $15.41 as Brent for May delivery sank 1.9 percent.
Gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, fell 0.6 cent to $3.558 a gallon, AAA said today on its website. Prices have fallen 22.8 cents from the year-to-date high of $3.786 on Feb. 26 and are 34.9 cents below a year ago.
Oil Products Europe: NI OPEMKT Gasoline: NI GASOLINE Heating oil: NI HEATOIL
Hog futures fell, heading for the second straight weekly loss, on signs that cool weather across the U.S. is lowering demand for pork. Cattle advanced.
Hog futures for June settlement fell 0.1 percent to 89.325 cents a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. A close at that level would leave prices down 0.4 percent this week, after falling 1.5 percent last week.
Cattle futures for June delivery rose 0.2 percent to $1.20875 a pound on the CME. The commodity is down 8.8 percent this year through yesterday.
Feeder-cattle futures for May settlement dropped 0.1 percent to $1.416 a pound.
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