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Cattle Futures at All-Time High; Oil Rises: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities climbed 0.3 percent to 688.44 yesterday. The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 raw materials decline 0.2 percent to 1,608.186.


Oil rose to a nine-month high in New York after Iran said it halted some crude exports and investors bet that fuel demand will increase as Europe moves closer to bailing out Greece.

Crude for March delivery rose as much as $1.97 to $105.21 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest intraday price since May 5. The contract, which expires tomorrow, was at $104.65 at 3:28 p.m. Singapore time. The more actively traded April contract gained $1.42 to $105.02. Prices increased 4.6 percent last week and are up 5.9 percent so far this year.

Brent oil for April settlement on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange climbed as much as $1.57, or 1.3 percent, to $121.15 a barrel. The European benchmark contract


Natural gas futures fell from the highest close in almost three weeks on the New York Mercantile Exchange after gaining 8.4 percent last week. Natural gas for March delivery slid 2.3 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $2.661 per million British thermal units at 12:55 p.m. in Singapore. The contract earlier declined as much as 2.9 percent. Futures settled at $2.684 per million Btu on Feb. 17, the highest closing price since Jan. 30. Prices rose last week after Encana Corp., Canada’s biggest producer,


Japan naphtha swaps for March climbed $9, or 0.9 percent, to $1,040.50 a metric ton at 10:59 a.m. Singapore time, according to data from PVM Oil Associates Ltd., a broker.

The benchmark naphtha’s premium to London-traded Brent crude futures rose to $128.76 a ton from $130.58 on Feb. 17. This crack spread gained 3.3 percent last week, the second consecutive weekly increase.

Singapore fuel oil’s discount to Dubai crude, a measure of refining losses from the fuel in Asia, widened 58 cents, or 12 percent, to $5.30 a barrel, PVM data showed. The crack spread is at the widest since Dec. 15. High-sulfur fuel oil swaps for March rose $5.75, or 0.8 percent, to $732.75 a ton, PVM said.

Singapore gasoil’s premium to Dubai crude narrowed 5.73 percent last week to $16.93 a barrel, the biggest decline since Nov. 25, PVM data showed.

PRECIOUS METALS Gold gained as China reduced banks’ reserve requirements to spur economic growth and European policy makers closed in on a Greek bailout, weakening the dollar. Palladium, platinum and silver advanced.

Spot gold climbed as much as 0.8 percent to $1,737.18 an ounce, and traded at $1,730.05 at 4:14 p.m. in Singapore. Immediate-delivery gold of 99.99 percent purity on the Shanghai Gold Exchange rose for a second day, climbing as much as 0.3 percent to 353.30 yuan a gram ($1,744.53 an ounce).

Spot silver , this year’s best-performing precious metal, climbed 0.4 percent to $33.4175 an ounce. It’s risen 20 percent in 2012 as holdings in exchange-traded products grew 1.8 percent.

Cash platinum gained for a second day, advancing as much as 1.5 percent to $1,658 an ounce, the highest price in a week. It


Copper snapped a six-day decline after China reduced reserve requirements for banks, fueling speculation the move may spur economic growth and boost metals demand. Zinc, lead and nickel also advanced.

Three-month copper increased as much as 2.7 percent, the most in two weeks, to $8,396.50 a metric ton and traded at $8,290 by 3:14 p.m. Shanghai time. The contract fell for six consecutive days since Feb. 10, the longest losing streak since September. May-delivery copper on the Comex climbed 1.5 percent to $3.772 a pound.

On the LME, aluminum rose 0.7 percent to $2,178 a ton, zinc gained 2.9 percent to $2,001.25 a ton and lead climbed 1.4


Cattle futures rose to an all-time high for the 10th time this year as rising demand for U.S. beef tightens supply and increases costs for restaurants including Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. Feeder cattle also reached a record and hogs gained.

Cattle futures for April delivery rose 1 percent to close at $1.309 a pound Feb. 17 on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, after reaching $1.31275, the highest for a most-active contract since the commodity started trading on the CME in 1964. The price, up 3.2 percent this week, has gained 7.8 percent in 2012.

Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement gained 1 percent to $1.58425 a pound in Chicago, after reaching a record $1.5905. Hog futures for April settlement rose 0.2 percent to close at 90.375 cents a pound in Chicago. The commodity has gained 7.2 percent this year.

Cocoa for May delivery retreated 2.5 percent to close at $2,345 a metric ton at 12:09 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, the biggest loss for a most-active contract since Feb. 10.

Raw-sugar futures for May delivery added 0.2 percent to settle at 23.77 cents a pound on ICE. The price was down 0.1 percent for the week. Arabica-coffee futures for May delivery gained 0.6 percent to $2.0235 a pound in New York, the first increase since Feb. 7.

Orange juice for March delivery rose 1.5 percent to close at $1.878 yesterday on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since Jan. 27. The price climbed 1.1 percent this week.

Palm oil advanced to the highest level in more than eight months as soybeans climbed last week after China, the largest importer, purchased a record amount of the oilseed from the U.S.

The May-delivery contract gained as much as 1.1 percent to 3,276 ringgit ($1,084) a metric ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange, the highest level for a most-active contract since June 15. It was at 3,252 ringgit at 4:55 p.m. in Kuala Lumpur.

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