Crude, Copper Decline; Corn, Rubber Drop: Commodities at Close
West Texas Intermediate crude slid from the highest close in six weeks, snapping its longest rally this year. Exxon Mobil Corp. shut a pipeline that carries oil to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
WTI for May delivery slipped as much as 55 cents to $96.68 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $96.88 at 4:24 p.m. in Singapore. It closed at $97.23 on March 28, the highest settlement since Feb. 14, capping the longest rally since Dec. 20.
Prices increased 3.8 percent last week and 5.6 percent in March. The market was closed March 29 for Good Friday. The volume of all futures traded was 24 percent above the 100-day average for the time of day.
Brent for May settlement lost 23 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $109.79 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Prices gained 2.2 percent last week. They fell 1.2 percent in March and 1 percent in the first quarter. Volumes for all contracts were 72 percent below normal. The European grade’s premium to WTI widened 13 cents to $12.92 a barrel after settling March 28 at $12.79, the narrowest since July.
OIL PRODUCTS Front-month gasoil swaps in Asia narrowed their discount to second-month prices. Fuel oil’s discount to Dubai crude shrank for the first time in more than a week.
• Middle Distillates • Gasoil’s premium to Dubai crude widens $1.34 to $16.39/bbl as of 2:29 p.m. Singapore time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg • May gasoil swaps up 40 cents at $122.81/bbl • May gasoil swap trades 24 cents/bbl below June contract, down from 39 cents/bbl last week. Market now in contango for an eighth day • May East-West gasoil spread at minus $5.25/mt. Asia prices are below European prices for a sixth day • Jet fuel regrade at minus 20 cents/bbl • May kerosene swap trades 28 cents/bbl below June contract
• Fuel Oil • Fuel oil’s discount to Dubai crude narrows 41 cents to $6.38/bbl • May 180-cst fuel oil swaps down $3.35 at $635.27/mt • May fuel oil swap trades $1.04/mt above June contract • Viscosity spread at $7/mt. The gap is the widest since March 21 • May East-West fuel oil spread at $29.77/mt
• Light Distillates • Singapore naphtha’s discount to London Brent crude narrows 4 cents to $9.43/bbl • May Japan naphtha swaps down $5.61 to $892.12/mt • May East-West naphtha spread at $14.77/mt
Copper slumped for a fifth day in Shanghai to an eight- month low as a key gauge of Chinese manufacturing missed estimates, stoking concern demand in the biggest consuming nation is slowing.
Copper for delivery in July on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 2 percent to close at 53,740 yuan ($8,656) a metric ton, the lowest level since July 25. Futures for May delivery dropped 1.6 percent to $3.3456 a pound on the Comex. The London Metal Exchange is closed today for a public holiday.
Gold traded little changed after two quarterly losses amid speculation that a U.S. recovery and stronger dollar may cut demand. Silver slumped to the lowest level since August and was on the threshold of a bear market.
Gold for immediate delivery was at $1,596.70 an ounce at 3:35 p.m. in Singapore from $1,598.75 on March 29. The price dropped 4.6 percent in the three months to March to complete the first back-to-back quarterly declines since 2001. Silver fell as much as 1.9 percent to $27.9088 an ounce. Spot platinum advanced as much as 0.6 percent at $1,580.50 an ounce and was at $1,577.50. Holdings in ETPs expanded to a record 52.3814 metric tons on March 28, according to data tracked by Bloomberg.
Palladium lost 0.4 percent to $769.05 an ounce after posting a third consecutive quarterly gain.
GRAINS, OILSEEDS, SOFT COMMODITIES
Corn headed for a bear market, dropping for a second day after the U.S. government reported stockpiles were larger than estimated and acreage may climb to the highest since 1936. Wheat slumped to the cheapest since June.
The May-delivery contract lost as much as 4.7 percent to $6.6275 a bushel, the lowest level since July 3, on the Chicago Board of Trade, and was at $6.63 at 1:48 p.m. in Singapore. On March 28, prices plunged by the 40-cent limit to settle at $6.9525 after the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued the stockpiles data and forecasts for 2013 plantings.
Wheat for May delivery fell 1.5 percent to $6.7725 a bushel in Chicago, the lowest level since June 22. The price dropped 6.7 percent on March 28.
Soybeans for May delivery declined as much as 0.5 percent to $13.98 a bushel and traded at $14.015. The price touched $13.97 on March 28, the lowest since Feb. 14.
Rubber fell into a bear market as expanding stockpiles in China signaled easing demand from the world’s largest consumer of the commodity used in tires.
Rubber for delivery in September on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange dropped 2.6 percent to 266.9 yen a kilogram ($2,844 a metric ton), a 20 percent decline from this year’s highest settlement for a most-active contract of 334 yen reached Feb. 6.
Palm oil fell to the lowest level in more than two months on concern that exports from Malaysia, the second-biggest producer after Indonesia, may decline as Europe’s debt crisis and a slowing Chinese economy curb demand.
The contract for delivery in June dropped as much as 1.1 percent to 2,353 ringgit ($760) a metric ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange, the lowest level for the most-active contract since Jan. 11, and was at 2,360 ringgit at 12:13 p.m. in Kuala Lumpur. Prices fell 2.5 percent in the first quarter, the fourth quarterly loss in the worst streak since 1999.
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