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Sugar, Lean Hogs Lead Raw Materials Lower: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities slid 1.1 percent to 671.58 at 4:35 p.m. New York time. The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 raw materials lost 0.9 percent to 1,552.863.

SOFT COMMODITIES

Raw sugar fell to a 10-month low on renewed concern that Europe’s debt crisis will crimp global economic growth, eroding commodity demand. Cocoa dropped, while coffee rose.

Raw sugar for July delivery sank 2.5 percent to settle at 22.01 cents a pound at 2 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York.

Cocoa futures for July delivery fell 1.1 percent to $2,257 a metric ton on ICE, snapping a five-session rally, the longest since late October.

Arabica-coffee futures for July delivery rose 0.2 percent to $1.75 a pound in New York, the first gain in four sessions.

Cotton futures jumped to a two-week high on signs of slumping production in China, the world’s biggest grower and consumer. Orange juice fell.

Cotton for July delivery jumped 2 percent to settle at 90.02 cents at 2:33 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S.

LIVESTOCK

Hog futures fell to the lowest prices in almost six weeks on signs of increasing supplies of U.S. pork as demand weakens. Cattle also declined.

Hog futures for June settlement dropped 2.7 percent to settle at 87.35 cents a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, after reaching 87.3 cents.

Cattle futures for June delivery retreated 1.5 percent to settle at $1.14825 a pound on the CME. Prices have slumped 5.5 percent this year.

GRAINS

Soybeans fell to a two-week low on speculation that U.S. farmers will expand planting this year after prices rallied. Corn dropped to the cheapest in four months.

Soybean futures for July delivery declined 1.3 percent to close at $14.135 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Corn fell as wheat in the cash market offered a cheaper alternative for producers of livestock feed. In Chicago, corn futures for July delivery dropped 2.2 percent to $5.94 a bushel.

Wheat futures fell to the lowest in almost three months as beneficial weather boosted prospects for winter and spring varieties in the U.S., the world’s top exporter.

CRUDE OIL

Crude fell the most in two weeks on a U.S. Energy Department report showing a larger-than-expected supply gain.

Prices dropped 1.5 percent after the government said oil inventories rose 3.86 million barrels in the week ended April 13, more than double the increase forecast in a Bloomberg survey of analysts. Refineries operated at less than 85 percent of capacity for a second week.

Oil for May delivery slid $1.53 to settle at $102.67 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures have declined 6.5 percent since settling at $109.77 on Feb. 24, the highest level since May 2011.

Brent for June settlement fell 81 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $117.97 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe

OIL PRODUCTS

Gasoline sank to a seven-week low as a weaker Brent crude made some motor fuels less expensive to process and on speculation that at least one closed U.S. East Coast refinery will reopen, easing supply concerns.

Futures fell as the London benchmark oil declined on lessened tension over Iran’s nuclear program. Delta Airlines Inc. will bid for a shuttered ConocoPhillips refinery in Pennsylvania, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Gasoline for May delivery fell 3.13 cents, or 1 percent, to settle at $3.2027 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas futures settled unchanged at yesterday’s 10-year low before a government report that may show a below-average inventory increase.

Gas was steady for the first time since Feb. 10 after analysts predicted that stockpiles may have risen 24 billion cubic feet last week, according to a median of 22 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. BNP Paribas SA and Standard & Poor’s cut their 2012 price forecasts amid a chronic storage surplus.

Natural gas for May delivery was unchanged at $1.951 per

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold futures fell for the third time in four sessions as the dollar’s advance curbed demand for the precious metal as an alternative asset.

The greenback climbed as much as 0.5 percent against a basket of major currencies, and the Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials declined as much as 1.4 percent. Spain struggled to convince investors that the nation’s finances are under control, before another debt sale tomorrow.

Gold futures for June delivery slid 0.7 percent to settle

BASE METALS

Copper fell for the first time in three days as Chinese home prices dropped and bad loans surged in Spain, renewing concern that slowing economies will undercut demand.

Copper futures for July delivery declined 0.4 percent to settle at $3.6385 a pound at 1:17 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Still, prices have gained 5.9 percent this year.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months was unchanged at $8,050 a metric ton ($3.65 a pound).

Editors: Bill Banker, Margot Habiby

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