Palm Oil Drops for Eighth Day; Crude Falls: Commodities at Close
West Texas Intermediate oil dropped to the lowest price this year and headed for a second weekly decline as OPEC production rose for the first time in six months and Chinese manufacturing expanded less than forecast.
WTI for April delivery was down 29 cents at $91.76 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 3:45 p.m. Singapore time. The volume of all futures traded was in line with the 100-day average. The contract fell 71 cents to $92.05 yesterday, the lowest close since Dec. 31. Prices are down 1.5 percent this week and poised for the first back-to-back weekly declines since November.
Brent for April settlement dropped 30 cents to $111.08 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Volume was almost triple the 100-day average. The European benchmark grade was at a premium of $19.32 to WTI, from $19.33 yesterday.
Asia fuel oil’s discount to crude shrinks for fifth day, signaling reduced losses for refiners making residual products. Naphtha and gasoil swaps extend losses.
• Light Distillates • Singapore naphtha’s discount to London Brent crude widens 4 cents to $5.50/bbl as of 11:31 a.m. Singapore time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg • April Japan naphtha swaps down $14.74 at $927.99/mt • April East-West naphtha spread up $2.31 at $11.16/mt
• Middle Distillates • Gasoil’s premium to Dubai crude down $1.20 at $19.62/bbl • April gasoil swaps down $2.05 at $125.16/bbl • April gasoil swap trades at 78 cents/bbl above May contract • April East-West gasoil spread down $3.27 at $5.75/mt • Jet fuel regrade down 20 cents at 30 cents/bbl discount to gasoil • April kerosene swap trades 77 cents/bbl above May contract
• Fuel Oil • Fuel oil’s discount to Dubai crude narrows 17 cents to $6.77/bbl • April 180-cst fuel oil swaps down $4.39 at $627.22/mt • April fuel oil swap trades $1.51/mt below May contract • Viscosity spread widens $3.03 to $7.99/mt • April East-West fuel oil spread widens $1.26 to $30.27/mt
Copper fell to a two-month low and aluminum slid to lowest level since November as China’s manufacturing data trailed economists’ forecasts, a signal that recovery in the largest user of metals may be losing steam.
Copper for three-month delivery dropped as much as 0.7 percent to $7,760 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, the lowest since Dec. 20, and was at $7,780 at 3:17 p.m. Shanghai time. Aluminum lost as much as 0.6 percent to $1,993.25 a ton, the lowest since Nov. 28.
Gold swung between gains and losses, after the longest run of monthly declines since 1997, as investors weighed improving global economic data amid speculation that central banks will press on with stimulus.
Gold for immediate delivery was at $1,579.41 an ounce at 3:46 p.m. in Singapore from $1,579.58 yesterday. Prices are set to decline 0.1 percent this week after dropping 5.1 percent in February for the fifth monthly drop as investment holdings plunged 4.2 percent. Bullion for April delivery was little changed at $1,578.90 on the Comex in New York.
Cash bullion of 99.99 percent purity on the Shanghai Gold Exchange lost 1 percent to 320.70 yuan a gram ($1,602.89 an ounce). Most-active futures were little changed at 29,550 rupees per 10 grams ($1,686.40 an ounce) on the Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd. (MCX)
Silver for immediate delivery was little changed at $28.53 an ounce, poised for a fourth weekly loss. Platinum dropped as much as 0.6 percent to $1,574.37 an ounce, the lowest since Jan. 8. The metal is set for a third weekly fall. Palladium declined 0.4 percent to $725.85 an ounce.
GRAINS, OILSEEDS, SOFT COMMODITIES
Palm oil fell for an eighth day, the worst run in almost seven years, on speculation that declining exports may keep inventories near a record high in Malaysia, the largest producer after Indonesia.
The contract for May delivery dropped as much as 1.1 percent to 2,370 ringgit ($765) a metric ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange, and was at 2,389 ringgit at 3:48 p.m. in Kuala Lumpur. The losing streak is the longest since March 2006. Futures tumbled 6.3 percent last month.
Wheat advanced for a fourth day, the longest rally in six weeks, as spot prices traded at a discount to corn and importers locked in supplies before the U.S. harvest.
Wheat for May delivery climbed as much as 0.9 percent to $7.2125 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, and was at $7.20 at 2:04 p.m. in Singapore on trading volume that was 33 percent more than the 100-day average for that time. The last time the most-active contract rose for four days was in Jan. 16. Futures are up 0.2 percent this week for the first gain in six weeks.
Corn for May delivery added 0.3 percent to $7.0575 a bushel in Chicago, set for a 3.1 percent advance this week. Soybeans for May delivery were little changed at $14.5325 a bushel, poised for a second weekly increase. That puts the price of soybeans at 2.06 times the cost of corn, compared with a 10-year average of 2.43 times. The two crops compete for acreage.
Rubber extended a decline after falling in February, on concern that demand for the commodity may weaken after manufacturing growth slowed in China and Japan’s consumer prices dropped.
The contract for delivery in August lost as much as 2.3 percent to 286.3 yen a kilogram ($3,089 a metric ton) before trading at 286.6 yen on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange at 11:49 a.m. Futures lost 7.2 percent last month, the worst performance since June.
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