Corn, Natural Gas Lead Gain; Cocoa Falls: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities climbed 1.2 percent to 629.99 in New York. Corn and natural gas rallied, while cocoa fell. The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 raw materials was up 1.2 percent at 1,487.364.

GRAINS, OILSEEDS

Corn jumped the most in 10 months, gaining the maximum allowed by the Chicago Board of Trade, as rain and frigid weather slowed the pace of planting in the U.S., the world’s top exporter.

Farmers sowed 5 percent of corn crops as of yesterday, trailing the five-year average pace of 31 percent, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today after the close of trading. Much of the Midwest from Missouri to Michigan had double the normal rainfall in the past two weeks, and the region will remain wet and cool through May 7, T-Storm Weather LLC in Chicago said in a report.

Corn futures for July delivery surged by the exchange limit of 40 cents, or 6.5 percent, to close at $6.5975 a bushel, the biggest gain since June 25. Corn futures for December delivery, after the harvest, jumped 6.8 percent to $5.595.

Soybean futures for July delivery advanced 2 percent to $14.0875 a bushel, after reaching $14.11, the highest since March 28. Wheat futures for July delivery rose 3.5 percent to $7.165, the biggest gain since April 3. Earlier, the price reached $7.1975, the highest since April 15.

Grains markets: NI GRMKTS

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas rose the most in more than a week in New York on speculation that lingering cold has spurred fuel demand, widening a supply deficit.

Natural gas for June delivery rose 16.9 cents to settle at $4.392 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Trading was 15 percent below the 100-day average at 3:20 p.m. New York time.

Gas is the best performer this year on the Standard & Poor’s GSCI index of 24 raw materials, rising 31 percent, as colder-than-normal weather eliminated a stockpile surplus.

Gas future: NI NUSMKT

SOFT COMMODITIES

Cotton capped the longest rally in six weeks on concern that adverse weather may curb 2013 output potential in the U.S., the world’s top shipper, amid firm demand. Orange juice and sugar gained. Coffee and cocoa slid.

Cotton for July delivery climbed 1.8 percent to settle at 85.74 cents a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, the third straight increase and the longest rally since March 15.

Also in New York, orange-juice futures for July delivery surged 2.8 percent to $1.4265 a pound.

Raw-sugar futures for July delivery increased 0.2 percent to 17.45 cents a pound on ICE.

Arabica-coffee futures for July delivery fell 0.1 percent to $1.3375 a pound.

Cocoa futures for July delivery dropped 1.2 percent to $2,335 a metric ton on ICE.

Soft commodities markets: NI SOMKTS

BASE METALS

Copper advanced for the third time in four sessions on speculation that efforts by central banks to boost their economies, coupled with an improving U.S housing market, will underpin demand for the metal.

Copper futures for July delivery climbed 1.3 percent to settle at $3.2265 a pound on the Comex in New York. The metal gained 0.7 percent last week.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months rose 1.8 percent to $7,153.50 a ton ($3.25 a pound). Aluminum, lead, nickel, tin and zinc also gained in London.

Base metals markets: NI BMMKTS

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold futures rose on speculation that the Federal Reserve will maintain bond purchases to bolster the U.S. economy, while demand for coins and jewelry climbed.

Gold futures for June delivery gained 0.9 percent to settle at $1,467.40 an ounce on the Comex in New York. The price headed for the biggest monthly drop since December 2011 after entering a bear market on April 12.

Silver futures for July delivery gained 1.6 percent to $24.166 an ounce on the Comex. The price has dropped 20 percent this year.

On the Nymex, platinum futures for July delivery rose 2.1 percent to $1,507.40 an ounce. Palladium futures for June delivery climbed 2.5 percent to $699.20 an ounce, the biggest gain since March 20.

Precious metal markets: NI PCMKTS

CRUDE OIL

West Texas Intermediate crude rose to the highest level in more than two weeks as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index approached a record on optimism that central banks will maintain economic stimulus to bolster growth.

WTI oil for June delivery climbed $1.50 to $94.50 a barrel on the Nymex, the highest settlement since April 10.

Brent crude for June settlement rose 65 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $103.81 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange. The contract touched $103.94 in intraday trading, a two-week high.

Oil markets: NI OILMARKET

OIL PRODUCTS

Gasoline futures fell and crack spreads narrowed as refineries in Louisiana and California returned from planned and unplanned maintenance outages.

Gasoline for May delivery fell 0.74 cent to settle at $2.8275 a gallon on the Nymex.

The more actively traded June contract slipped 0.53 cent to $2.822. May gasoline and ultra-low-sulfur diesel contracts will expire at the 2:30 p.m. close of floor trading tomorrow.

Ultra-low-sulfur diesel for May delivery dropped 0.05 cent to settle at $2.9007 a gallon on the Nymex. Diesel for June delivery gained 0.07 cent to $2.8668 a gallon.

ULSD’s crack spread versus June WTI crude fell $1.47 to $25.91 a barrel. The spread versus Brent decreased 62 cents to $16.60.

Oil Products: NI OPFMKT

Gasoline: NI GASOLINE

Heating oil: NI HEATOIL

LIVESTOCK

Hog futures fell from the highest price since July on speculation that cooler weather later this week in the U.S. Midwest will slow demand for pork. Cattle also declined.

Hog futures for June settlement fell 0.4 percent to close at 92.15 cents a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange after touching 93.075 cents, the highest for a most-active contract since July 9.

Cattle futures for June delivery declined less than 0.1 percent to $1.2255 a pound. Prices are down 1.5 percent this month, heading for the third straight decline.

Feeder-cattle futures for August settlement slipped 0.9 percent to $1.49875 a pound.

Livestock markets: NI LVMKTS

To contact the reporter on this story: Christine Harvey in New York at charvey32@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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