Gold Falls for Sixth Week on Fed Signals: Commodities at Close
The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials fell 0.5 percent to settle at 646.71 at 3:54 p.m. New York time, led by metals.
The UBS Bloomberg CMCI gauge of 26 prices declined 0.8 percent to 1,569.7.
Gold dropped, capping the longest run of weekly losses since 2004, after Federal Reserve minutes showed policy makers may end monthly purchases of U.S. debt sometime this year.
Minutes from the Fed’s Open Market Committee’s meeting on Dec. 11-12 showed yesterday that members were divided between a mid- or end-of-year conclusion to the debt purchases, known as qualitative easing. The metal pared a decline to a four-month low after the U.S. unemployment rate remained at 7.8 percent in December, signaling the central bank probably won’t rush to end its third round of stimulus efforts.
Gold futures for February delivery slid 1.5 percent to $1,648.90 an ounce on the Comex in New York. Earlier, the price touched $1,626, the lowest for a most-active contract since Aug. 21. This week, the metal dropped 0.4 percent, the sixth straight loss and the longest slump since mid-May 2004.
Silver futures for March delivery tumbled 2.5 percent to $29.946 an ounce, the biggest drop since Dec. 20. Earlier, the price touched $29.24, the lowest since Aug. 21.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for April delivery dropped 1.4 percent to $1,558.50 an ounce. Palladium futures for March delivery dropped 1.2 percent to $688.50 an ounce.
Copper fell the most in two weeks after the Fed signaled a halt to asset purchases aimed at spurring U.S. economic growth.
On the Comex, copper futures for March delivery dropped 0.6 percent to $3.6935 a pound, the biggest loss since Dec. 20.
On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months declined 1 percent to $8,085 a metric ton ($3.67 a pound). Aluminum, zinc, nickel, tin and lead also fell.
Soybeans tumbled to the lowest since June and corn had the longest run of weekly declines since 2011 on speculation that higher output in South America will curb demand for U.S. supplies.
On the Chicago Board of Trade, soybean futures for March delivery dropped 1.4 percent to $13.6725 a bushel. Earlier, the price touched $13.56, the lowest since June 19.
Corn futures for March delivery fell 1.3 percent to $6.8025 a bushel. Earlier, the grain touched $6.795, the lowest since July 3. This week, the commodity dropped 2 percent, the fifth straight decline and the longest slump since September 2011.
Wheat futures for March delivery declined 1.1 percent to $7.4725 a bushel. Earlier, the price touched $7.3975, the lowest since June 27.
Cotton fell for the first time in a week on concern that demand may ease in China, the world’s top importer.
On ICE Futures U.S. in New York, cotton for March delivery slid 0.5 percent to 75.05 cents a pound, the first decline since Dec. 28.
Raw-sugar futures for March delivery fell 1.3 percent to 18.85 cents a pound. Earlier, the price touched 18.77 cents, the lowest since Dec. 14. This week, the commodity dropped 2.9 percent, the most since late October.
Cocoa futures for March delivery declined 1.6 percent to $2,220 a ton. This week, the price fell 1.3 percent, the third straight drop.
Orange-juice futures for March delivery increased 1.2 percent to $1.1295 a pound, the first gain since Dec. 19. This week, the price tumbled 11 percent, the most since mid-May, as the absence of cold weather benefited crops in Florida, the world’s second-biggest grower.
Arabica-coffee futures for March delivery advanced 0.6 percent to $1.4735 a pound.
Cattle futures dropped for the first time in three days on signs of slowing demand for U.S. beef.
On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, cattle futures for February delivery fell 0.7 percent to $1.3295 a pound. This week, the price dropped 0.5 percent, the first decline since Nov. 30.
Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement climbed 0.9 percent to $1.56325 a pound.
Hog futures for February settlement dropped 0.2 percent to close at 86.225 cents a pound.
Crude oil gained, capping the biggest weekly advance in three months, after U.S. employers hired more workers than expected in December.
On the Nymex, oil futures for February delivery rose 0.2 percent to $93.09 a barrel. This week, the price advanced 2.5 percent, the most since Sept. 14.
Brent crude for February settlement dropped 0.7 percent to $111.31 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Vitol Group bought a cargo of North Sea Forties crude at the highest differential in almost 10 months. Trafigura Beheer BV sold a lot of Brent blend.
Exports of North Sea Oseberg grade in February are planned at six cargoes of 600,000 barrels each, unchanged from this month, a loading program obtained by Bloomberg News showed.
Natural gas climbed from a 14-week low after a government report showed a larger-than-forecast decline in U.S. stockpiles.
On the Nymex, gas futures for February delivery gained 2.8 percent to $3.287 per million British thermal units. Yesterday, the price closed at $3.198, the lowest settlement since Sept. 26.
U.K. gas for same-day delivery declined as warmer-than- normal weather pushed seasonal demand to the lowest in almost a decade.
The price fell as much as 0.7 percent to 62.05 pence a therm and traded at 62.25 pence at 4:25 p.m. London time. February gas rose 0.5 percent to 66.6 pence a therm. That’s equivalent to $10.68 per million Btu.
Gasoline slid as the Fed signaled an end to bond purchases and labor-market gains gave the central bank more reason to ease stimulus efforts, threatening to limit economic growth and fuel demand.
On the Nymex, gasoline futures for February delivery fell 1.2 percent to $2.7643 a gallon.
Heating-oil futures for February delivery slipped 0.2 percent to $3.0177 a gallon.
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