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Copper Falls Most in Three Weeks on China: Commodities at Close

March 28 (Bloomberg) -- The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 raw materials fell 1.2 percent to settle at 695.61 at 3:44 p.m. New York time, led metals.

The UBS Bloomberg CMCI Index of 26 prices declined 1.1 percent to 1,605.29.

BASE METALS

Copper fell the most in three weeks on signs that demand is ebbing in China, the world’s biggest consumer.

Jiangxi Copper Co., the Asian nation’s top producer, had an 18 percent profit decline in the second half of 2011. Equities in Shanghai fell the most in four months after Societe Generale SA said Chinese corporate profits won’t expand this year. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. cut its three-month outlook for raw materials.

Copper futures for May delivery dropped 2.3 percent to $3.7925 a pound on the Comex in New York, the biggest decline for a most-active contract since March 6.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months fell 2.2 percent to $8,349 a metric ton ($3.79 a pound).

Aluminum, zinc, tin, nickel also declined in London, while lead rose.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold futures fell the most in two weeks as a strike by jewelers in India, the world’s biggest buyer, curbed demand.

On the Comex, gold futures for June delivery slid 1.6 percent to $1,660.50 an ounce, the biggest drop for since March 14.

Silver futures for May delivery retreated 2.4 percent to $31.831 an ounce.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, palladium futures for June delivery slumped 2.4 percent to $647.35 an ounce. Earlier, the price touched $644.35, the lowest since Jan. 17. Platinum futures for July delivery dropped 1.3 percent to $1,640.60 an ounce.

CRUDE OIL

Crude oil dropped for the first time in four sessions after the U.S. Energy Department said inventories climbed the most in 20 months. Western nations considered releasing supplies from strategic reserves.

On the Nymex, oil futures for May delivery declined 1.8 percent to $105.41 a barrel. The price has climbed 33 percent since Sept. 30.

North Sea Forties blend was bid at a lower price as the closing of the Elgin-Franklin fields after a gas leak failed to boost the crude’s differential to dated Brent. Petraco Oil Co. sought to buy Russian Urals in the Mediterranean without success.

OAO Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil producer, issued a tender to sell 700,000 tons of Urals crude for loading in April from the Baltic Sea port of Primorsk, said two traders who participate in the market.

OIL PRODUCTS

Gasoline declined on a report that oil inventories rose the most in 20 months and speculation that Western nations may release petroleum supplies from reserves to cap prices.

On the Nymex, gasoline futures for April delivery fell 0.3 percent to $3.3955 a gallon.

Heating-oil futures dropped 0.3 percent to $3.2079 a gallon.

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas fell, extending a slump to a 10-year low, on speculation that U.S. government data will show a growing inventory surplus.

On the Nymex, gas futures for April delivery dropped 0.8 percent to $2.191 per million British thermal units, the lowest settlement since Feb. 14, 2002.

U.K. gas for April delivery advanced for the third straight day as supply was reduced to reflect the end of the winter season.

GRAINS, OILSEEDS

Corn futures fell to a two-month low on speculation that U.S. supply concerns will ease as farmers may plant the most acres since World War II.

On the Chicago Board of Trade, corn futures for May delivery slumped 1.7 percent to $6.2025 a bushel.

Soybean futures for May delivery slid 0.2 percent to $13.675 a bushel.

Wheat futures for May delivery declined 1.4 percent to $6.3075 a bushel.

LIVESTOCK

Cattle futures fell to an 11-week low on signs that U.S. demand for beef is weakening.

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, cattle futures for June delivery slumped 1.2 percent to $1.205 a pound. Earlier, the price reached $1.20025, the lowest since Jan. 10.

Hog futures for June settlement declined 1.7 percent to 92.175 cents a pound.

Feeder-cattle futures for May settlement dropped 0.9 percent to $1.537 a pound.

SOFT COMMODITIES

Sugar fell, capping the longest decline in seven weeks, on speculation that more exports from India will bolster global supplies.

On ICE Futures U.S. in New York, raw sugar for May delivery dropped 0.2 percent to 24.26 cents a pound. The price fell for the fourth straight session, the longest slump since early February.

Cocoa futures for May delivery dropped 2.6 percent to $2,295 a ton.

Arabica-coffee futures for May delivery declined 2.9 percent to $1.82 a pound.

Cotton futures for May delivery jumped 1.6 percent to 94.03 cents a pound. Earlier, the price reached 94.08 cents, the highest since March 6.

Orange-juice futures for May delivery dropped 0.1 percent to $1.67 a pound.

To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Galatola in New York at tgalatola@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net

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