Copper, Lead Climb; Wheat, Palm Oil Gain: Commodities at Close
West Texas Intermediate oil traded near the lowest level this year after an industry report showed U.S. crude stockpiles increased for the seventh week in eight.
WTI for April delivery was at $92.85, up 22 cents at 2:05 p.m. Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The volume of all futures traded was 27 percent below the 100-day average. The contract slid 48 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $92.63 yesterday, the lowest close since Dec. 31. Prices have gained 1.1 percent this year.
Brent crude for April settlement on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange was up 9 cents at $112.80 a barrel. The volume of all futures traded was 45 percent above the 100-day average for this time. The European benchmark grade was at a premium of $19.95 to WTI futures, down from $20.08 yesterday.
The East-West fuel oil spread widened for a second day. Asia’s gasoil crack narrowed for a fifth day.
• Fuel Oil • Singapore fuel oil’s discount to Dubai crude narrows 7 cents to $7.65/bbl at 12:25 p.m. Singapore time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg • March 180-fuel oil swap up $1.07 at $639.09/mt • March fuel oil swap trades $1.04/mt below April contract • Viscosity spread down 31 cents at $6.48/mt • March East-West fuel oil spread up 7 cents at $29.70/mt
• Middle Distillates • Singapore 0.05% sulfur gasoil’s premium to Dubai crude falls 40 cents to $20.43/bbl • March gasoil swap down 12 cents at $128.91/bbl • March gasoil swap trades 51 cents/bbl above April contract • March East-West gasoil spread at $6/mt • Jet fuel trades below gasoil for a third day. March regrade spread at 33 cents/bbl • March kerosene swap trades 77 cents/bbl above April contract
• Light Distillates • Singapore naphtha’s discount to London Brent crude widens 2 cents to $5/bbl • March Japan naphtha swaps up 86 cents at $958.30/mt • March East-West naphtha spread up 31 cents at $7.15/mt
Industrial metals advanced after new-home sales surged by the most in two decades in the U.S., and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke defended stimulus measures, raising demand prospects from the second-largest user.
Copper for delivery in three months rose as much as 0.8 percent to $7,919 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, before trading at $7,882.75 by 4:11 p.m. Shanghai time. Lead climbed as much as 1.4 percent to $2,329 a ton.
Copper for delivery in June on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed 0.6 percent higher at 57,490 yuan ($9,232) a ton, and the May contract on the Comex in New York was little changed at $3.5825 per pound.
Gold headed for the worst run of monthly losses since 1997 as a 3.2 percent rally in four days spurred sales and investor holdings extended their decline on concern that the metal’s 12- year bull run was coming to an end.
Spot gold fell 0.1 percent to $1,611.55 an ounce at 1:17 p.m. in Singapore, heading for the fifth straight losing month. The metal reached $1,620.37 yesterday, the highest price since Feb. 15, after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke defended the central bank’s asset purchases. Holdings in exchange-traded products have slumped to a five-month low and are set for the biggest monthly drop since April 2008.
Cash silver fell 0.6 percent to $29.23 an ounce, set for a monthly decline. Spot platinum slid 0.2 percent to $1,619.37 an ounce, and palladium dropped 0.2 percent to $744.50 an ounce.
GRAINS, OILSEEDS, SOFT COMMODITIES
Wheat advanced for a second day on speculation the grain’s widest discount to corn in the cash market in nine months may boost demand in feed rations for pigs, cattle and chickens.
Wheat for May delivery gained as much as 0.5 percent to $7.145 a bushel after slumping yesterday to as low as $6.9775, the cheapest price for the most active contract since June 25. Futures were at $7.1225 at 3:58 p.m. Singapore time on a trading volume that was 19 percent more than the 100-day average for that time of day.
Corn for May delivery slipped 0.3 percent to $6.9275 a bushel, while soybeans for May delivery were little changed at $14.33 a bushel. That puts soybean futures at 2.07 times the cost of corn, compared with a 10-year average of 2.43 times. The crops compete for acreage.
Rubber fell for a seventh day and reached the lowest level since December amid concern that European turmoil may slow the global recovery and boost Japan’s currency as a haven, cutting the appeal of yen-based contracts.
The contract for delivery in August on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange declined as much as 1.7 percent to 284.8 yen a kilogram ($3,103 a metric ton), the lowest level since Dec. 21. Futures traded at 287.3 yen at 12:19 p.m. in Tokyo, expanding losses this year to 5 percent.
Palm oil climbed for the first time in six days on speculation that stockpiles in Malaysia may drop from a near record as India, the world’s biggest importer, boosts purchases to an all-time high this year.
The contract for May delivery advanced as much as 0.8 percent to 2,439 ringgit ($787) a metric ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange, before trading at 2,434 ringgit at 12:17 p.m. in Kuala Lumpur. Futures lost 5.7 percent in the five sessions through yesterday, erasing this year’s gains.
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