Natural Gas Rises; Corn Prices Rebound: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities gained 0.3 percent to 679.40 at 4:23 p.m. Singapore time. The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 raw materials rose 0.3 percent to 1,573.671.

CRUDE OIL

Oil traded near the highest level in a week after Federal Reserve policy makers said they expect growth to accelerate, boosting speculation fuel demand will rise. Iran said it may halt its nuclear expansion.

Crude for June delivery was at $104.11 a barrel, down 1 cent, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 3:06 p.m. Singapore time. The contract yesterday rose 57 cents to $104.12, the highest close since April 17. Front-month futures have climbed for four days, the longest winning streak in two months. Prices are 5.3 percent higher this year.

Brent oil for June settlement was at $118.87 a barrel, down 25 cents, on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas futures in New York rose for a second day on speculation that the lowest prices in a decade will prompt production cuts and spur higher demand from power plants.

Natural gas for May delivery increased 1.7 cents to $2.085 per million British thermal units in electronic trading today on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That follows yesterday’s gain of 4.7 percent, the biggest since Feb. 16, after Goldman Sachs

OIL PRODUCTS

High-sulfur fuel oil was up 30 cents at $3.82 a barrel below Asian marker Dubai crude at 11:05 a.m. Singapore time, according to data from PVM Oil Associates Ltd., a broker. That’s the smallest discount since Feb. 13.

Fuel-oil swaps for May increased $2, or 0.3 percent, to $726.75 a metric ton, PVM said. That’s the highest level in almost two weeks.

The premium of gasoil, or diesel, to Dubai crude rose 54 cents to $17.32 a barrel, according to PVM. This crack spread, a measure of refining profit, is the widest since Feb. 10. Gasoil swaps for May gained 55 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $132.95 a barrel, PVM said. Prices climbed for a third day, the longest stretch in two months.

Naphtha swaps for May rose $1.50, or 0.2 percent, to $1,004 a ton, according to PVM. The petrochemical feedstock is down 0.7 percent so far this week, after seven weeks of losses.

Naphtha’s premium to London-traded Brent crude futures

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold advanced for a third day after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said he is prepared to do more to boost economic growth if necessary, weakening the dollar and boosting the appeal of bullion as a store of value.

Spot gold gained as much as 0.3 percent to $1,648.65 an ounce and was at $1,648.51 by 2:53 p.m. in Singapore. The metal rebounded after dropping as much as 1 percent yesterday, as the dollar held a third day of losses against a six-currency basket including the euro.

Cash platinum, this year’s best-performing precious metal, was little changed at $1,555.50 an ounce, rebounding from its drop to a three-month low yesterday. Spot silver was little changed at $30.73 an ounce, after swinging between gains and

BASE METALS

Copper gained for a third day on optimism the Federal Reserve may take additional steps to boost the economy if needed, weakening the dollar and boosting demand for assets priced in the U.S. currency. Aluminum and nickel rose.

The three-month delivery contract rose 0.3 percent to $8,227.25 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange at 2:36 p.m. Singapore time, after dropping 0.5 percent earlier on speculation that consumption in China, the largest user, may slow. July-delivery metal climbed 0.5 percent to $3.726 a pound on the Comex in New York, paring a 0.5 percent drop earlier.

On the LME, aluminum rose 0.4 percent to $2,079.75 a ton and nickel increased 0.8 percent to $17,750 a ton. Lead and zinc were little changed at $2,090 a ton and $2,007.50 a ton respectively. Tin fell 0.6 percent to $21,802 a ton.

GRAINS, SOFT COMMODITIES

Corn rebounded from two days of declines on signs of increased Chinese demand for U.S. supplies. Soybeans dropped as a rally to the highest price since 2008 spurred investor sales.

Corn for July delivery gained as much as 0.7 percent to $6.05 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade and was at $6.035 at 2:28 p.m. in Singapore. Futures fell yesterday and on April 24 after the U.S. reported the first case of mad-cow disease in six years, prompting speculation that feed use may drop.

Soybeans for July delivery dropped as much as 0.6 percent to $14.665 a bushel before trading at $14.6825. Wheat for July delivery dropped as much as 0.3 percent to $6.245 a bushel and last traded at $6.2675.

Rubber advanced for a second day after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said he’s prepared to do more to stimulate U.S economic growth if necessary, raising the demand outlook for the commodity.

October-delivery rubber gained 0.8 percent to settle at 308.7 yen a kilogram ($3,804 a metric ton) on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange. The most-active contract has climbed 17 percent this year.

Palm oil dropped the most in a week on speculation that vegetable oil supplies may increase on higher output in Malaysia, the second-biggest producer, and accelerated planting of soybeans in the U.S.

The July-delivery contract dropped as much as 1.1 percent, the biggest intraday drop since April 19, to 3,474 ringgit ($1,137) a metric ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange. Futures traded at 3,478 ringgit at the close of the morning session in Kuala Lumpur.

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