Crude Declines; Platinum, Gold Prices Drop: Commodities at Close
West Texas Intermediate oil fell to a seven-week low before a report that may show U.S. crude stockpiles rose. Prices slid with stocks and the euro as Italy’s election spurred concern Europe’s debt crisis will worsen.
WTI for April delivery was down 90 cents, or 1 percent, at $92.21 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 3:37 p.m. Singapore time. The volume of all futures traded was 10 percent higher than the 100-day average. Prices slid 2 cents to $93.11 yesterday.
Brent oil for April settlement on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange decreased as much as $1.14, or 1 percent, to $113.30 a barrel. The volume was 70 percent higher than the 100-day average. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $21.31 to WTI contracts, from $21.33 yesterday.
Asia’s gasoil crack falls for a fourth day. The fuel oil viscosity spread widens.
• Middle Distillates • Singapore 0.05%-sulfur gasoil’s premium to Dubai crude falls 51 cents to $20.49/bbl at 1:46 p.m. Singapore time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Spread declines for a fourth day • March gasoil swap down $1.31 at $129.69/bbl • March gasoil swap trades 8 cents/bbl above April contract • March East-West gasoil spread at 75 cents/mt • Jet fuel regrade down 4 cents to 15 cents/bbl • March kerosene swap trades 37 cents/bbl above April contract
• Light Distillates • Singapore naphtha’s discount to London Brent crude widens 2 cents to $5.90/bbl • March Japan naphtha swaps down $7.06 to $970.36/mt • March East-West naphtha spread up 5 cents to $7.49/mt
• Fuel Oil • Singapore fuel oil’s discount to Dubai crude widens 3 cents to $8.40/bbl • March 180-fuel oil swap down $5.25 to $640.15/mt • March fuel oil swap trades $1.45/mt below April contract • Viscosity spread up 13 cents to $6.75/mt, widens for a fourth day • March East-West fuel oil spread widens 16 cents to $28.55/mt
Copper climbed for a second day while the other industrial metals declined as investors weighed the implications of an inconclusive election in Italy and the possibility of stronger demand from China in March.
Copper for delivery in three months rose as much as 0.6 percent to $7,880 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, before trading at $7,848 at 2:18 p.m. Shanghai time. Nickel dropped 0.6 percent to $16,610, falling for a second day.
Platinum declined for a fifth day, narrowing its premium to gold, on reduced concern that South African supplies will be disrupted, and as political deadlock in Italy after elections hurt commodities and equities. Gold fell.
Spot platinum lost as much as 1.5 percent to $1,583.50 an ounce, the cheapest since Jan. 9, and was at $1,594.62 at 3:48 p.m. in Singapore. A fifth day of losses would be the longest slump since December. One ounce of platinum bought as few as 0.9945 ounce of gold, the least since Jan. 22, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Gold snapped three days of gains, losing 0.3 percent to $1,588.75 an ounce.
Cash silver fell 0.8 percent to $28.775 an ounce, taking this month’s loss to 8.5 percent. Spot palladium lost 0.3 percent to $734.20 an ounce.
GRAINS, OILSEEDS, SOFT COMMODITIES
Wheat declined to an eight-month low, trading below $7 a bushel for the first time since June, as a second major snowstorm brings relief to drought-stricken U.S. winter crop. Soybeans also declined.
The contract for May delivery lost as much as 1.1 percent to $6.9775 a bushel, the cheapest price for the most-active contract on the Chicago Board of Trade since June 25. It traded at $6.985 a bushel at 2:36 p.m. in Singapore on a trading volume that was 57 percent more than the 100-day average.
Wheat’s decline for four straight days narrowed its premium to corn to 15.25 cents a bushel, the smallest since May 2012. The two grains maybe used interchangeably in feed rations for pigs and chickens.
Corn for May delivery fell 0.6 percent to $6.83 a bushel in Chicago, while soybeans slid 0.8 percent to $14.2375 a bushel. That puts the price of soybeans at 2.08 times the cost of corn, compared with a 10-year average of 2.43 times. The crops compete for acreage.
Rubber futures slumped to a two-month low as concerns grew that Italy’s elections will lead to renewed turmoil in Europe, boosting Japan’s currency as a haven and cutting the appeal of the yen-based contracts.
The contract for August delivery on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange lost 2.9 percent to 289.8 yen a kilogram ($3,162 a metric ton), the lowest settlement for a most-active contract since Dec. 21. Futures have lost 4.2 percent this year.
Palm oil dropped to the lowest level in four weeks as global production of palm and soybeans is set to climb this year on increased acreage.
The contract for May delivery fell as much as 0.9 percent to 2,448 ringgit ($789) a metric ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange, the lowest price for the most active month since Jan. 29, before trading at 2,451 ringgit by the end of the morning session. Futures declined for a fifth day.
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