Oil Falls; Soybeans Rise to One-Week High: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities dropped 0.2 percent to 701.67 at 5:20 p.m. Singapore time. The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 raw materials fell 0.2 percent to 1,617.7411.

CRUDE OIL

Oil extended two weeks of decline in New York on speculation that fuel demand may falter as Europe struggles to tame its debt crisis and China’s economy slows.

Oil for May delivery slipped as much as 61 cents to $106.26 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $106.48 at 9:08 a.m. London time. It rose $1.52 to $106.87 on March 23, the highest close since March 21. Prices are up 7.7 percent so far this year after advancing 25 percent in the last quarter of 2011.

Brent for May settlement was at $124.85 a barrel, down 28

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas for April delivery rose as much as 1.1 percent, or 2.5 cents, to $2.30 per million British thermal units in

OIL PRODUCTS

The premium of gasoil, or diesel, to Asian marker Dubai crude dropped $1.11 to $13.89 a barrel at 11 a.m. Singapore time, according to data from PVM Oil Associates Ltd., a broker. This crack spread, a measure of processing profit, is the narrowest since Dec. 31, 2010. Gasoil swaps for April were unchanged for a second day at $136 a barrel, PVM said.

April naphtha swaps increased $8.75, or 0.8 percent, to $1,064.45 a metric ton, according to PVM. The petrochemical feedstock is at the highest in three days. Naphtha’s premium to London-traded Brent crude futures climbed $10.93 to $123.91 a ton, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. This crack spread widened for the first day in four.

Fuel oil declined $1.12 to $7.50 a barrel below Dubai crude, according to PVM. The discount widened the most in more than two weeks, signaling increasing losses for refiners turning

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold may advance for a second day as concern resurfaced that Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis may worsen even as the region’s finance ministers prepare a deal to strengthen a firewall.

Spot gold traded little changed at $1,663.29 an ounce at 2:28 p.m. in Singapore after gaining as much as 0.5 percent to $1,669.57, the highest level since March 14. Bullion for April delivery rose as much as 0.4 percent to $1,669.40 an ounce on the Comex in New York before trading at $1,663.60.

Spot silver was little changed at $32.2075 an ounce after climbing as much as 0.7 percent to $32.435, the highest level since March 20. Platinum rose as much as 0.9 percent to

BASE METALS

Copper climbed for a second day on speculation that demand from China and the U.S., the world’s biggest consumers of industrial metals, remains robust.

Three-month copper rose as much as 0.7 percent to $8,440 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange and traded at $8,400 by 3:11 p.m. in Singapore. The metal lost 1.5 percent last week after reports showed manufacturing shrank in Europe and China. Comex May-delivery metal rose 0.2 percent to $3.8140 a pound.

On the LME, aluminum rose 0.2 percent to $2,180.25 a ton and zinc lost 0.3 percent to $2,000 a ton. Lead was little

GRAINS, SOFT COMMODITIES Soybeans advanced for a second day, rising to the highest level in one week, as dry weather in South America damaged crops and raised concern supplies may fall short of demand. Corn and wheat declined.

May-delivery soybeans rose as much as 0.8 percent to $13.7625 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, the highest price for the most-active contract since March 19, and were at $13.7575 a bushel at 2:47 p.m. in Singapore. Futures have risen 14 percent this year, heading for a 4.2 percent gain this month.