Gold Drops as U.S. Inflation Concerns Wane: Commodities at Close
The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials slid 0.1 percent to settle at 675.37 at 3:45 p.m. New York time, led by metals.
The UBS Bloomberg CMCI gauge of 26 prices fell 0.1 percent to 1,618.4.
Gold futures posted the biggest drop in almost four weeks as U.S. inflation concerns waned, eroding demand for the metal as a hedge against rising consumer prices.
A government report today showed an index of inflation tied to spending patterns was unchanged in December from November. Excluding food and energy costs, consumer prices climbed 1.4 percent in 2012, compared with a 1.9 percent increase in the previous year. Inflation “has been running somewhat below the committee’s longer-run objective, apart from temporary variations that largely reflect fluctuations in energy prices,” the Federal Open Market Committee said yesterday.
On the Comex in New York, gold futures for April delivery dropped 1.2 percent to $1,662 an ounce, the biggest decline for a most-active contract since Jan. 4.
Silver futures for March delivery tumbled 2.6 percent to $31.351 an ounce, the biggest loss since Dec. 20.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for April delivery declined 0.8 percent to $1,675.40 an ounce.
Palladium futures for March delivery fell 0.8 percent to $745.70 an ounce.
Copper fell for the first time this week as a jump in U.S. jobless claims and a disappointing earnings forecast by United Parcel Service Inc. signaled the recovery is making uneven progress.
On the Comex, copper futures for delivery in March slipped 0.5 percent to $3.732 a pound, paring the monthly gain to 2.2 percent.
On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months dropped 0.7 percent to $8,165 a metric ton ($3.70 a pound). Nickel, tin, aluminum, zinc and lead also declined.
Wheat futures fell the most in a week as export sales tumbled 40 percent from the U.S., the world’s biggest shipper.
On the Chicago Board of Trade, wheat futures for March delivery dropped 1 percent to $7.795 a bushel, the biggest decline since Jan. 22.
Soybean futures for March delivery declined 0.7 percent to $14.685 a bushel.
Corn futures for March delivery gained less than 0.1 percent to $7.405 a bushel.
Crude oil fell for the first time in four days as claims for U.S. unemployment benefits increased more than forecast, reducing optimism that a growing economy will boost fuel demand.
On the Nymex, oil futures for March delivery dropped 0.5 percent to $97.49 a barrel.
Brent oil for March settlement rose 0.6 percent to $115.55 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Total SA and Chevron Corp. both failed to buy North Sea Forties crude for the third straight day as they lowered their bids. There were no bids or offers for Urals grade for a second day.
Refiners in Asia will trim imports of West African crude for loading next month to the lowest in three months.
Gasoline fell on speculation that prices rose too fast in the longest rally since July 2009 and as oil declined on concern that a rise in jobless claims signaled weaker economic growth and stagnant fuel demand.
On the Nymex, gasoline futures for February delivery dropped 0.4 percent to $3.0258 a gallon.
Heating-oil futures for February delivery climbed 0.4 percent to $3.1298 a gallon.
Natural gas rose for the second straight day after government weather models showed colder weather next month.
On the Nymex, gas futures for March delivery climbed 0.1 percent to $3.339 per million British thermal units.
U.K. within-day gas rose 2.6 percent to 66.3 pence a therm after closing yesterday at a three-week low.
Orange-juice futures jumped to a one-month high on concern that dry weather and a crop disease will trim output in Florida, the world’s second-biggest citrus grower.
On ICE Futures U.S. in New York, orange juice for March delivery advanced 0.3 percent to $1.197 a pound. Earlier, the commodity reached $1.232, the highest since Dec. 31.
Cocoa futures for March delivery rose 1.2 percent to $2,205 a ton.
Raw-sugar futures for March delivery gained 0.4 percent to 18.78 cents a pound.
Cotton futures for March delivery slid less than 0.1 percent to 82.95 cents a pound.
Arabica-coffee futures for March delivery dropped 0.5 percent to $1.4695 a pound.
Hog prices rose on speculation that demand for pork may increase as U.S. consumers buy more as a cheaper alternative to beef.
On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, hog futures for April settlement rose 0.1 percent to 89.35 cents a pound.
Cattle futures for April delivery dropped 0.1 percent to $1.328 a pound, the third straight decline.
Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement climbed 0.3 percent to $1.4955 a pound.
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