Gasoline Leads Slump as Natural Gas Climbs: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities fell 0.5 percent to 649.58 at 4 p.m. in New York. Gasoline led the decline, while natural gas and grains advanced.

The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 raw materials slid 0.4 percent to 1,574.919.


Gasoline slid the most in two months as Brent crude retreated, lowering the cost of imported crude and motor fuel at a time when U.S. inventories are increasing and demand is stagnant.

Futures sank 1.9 percent as Brent dropped following the startup of the expanded Seaway pipeline, which will bring domestic oil to the Gulf Coast, pushing out imports. Gasoline consumption in the U.S. is the lowest in almost a year and inventories are the highest since February 2011, Energy Information Administration data show.

Gasoline for February delivery fell 5.38 cents to settle at $2.7395 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the biggest decline since Nov. 7 and lowest settlement since Dec. 21. Futures declined 0.9 percent this week, the second consecutive loss.

Heating oil for February delivery fell 4.58 cents, or 1.5 percent, to settle at $3.0085 a gallon on the exchange, the largest decline since Dec. 6. Prices declined 0.3 percent this week, the second-straight loss.

The average nationwide retail price for regular gasoline gained 0.3 cent to $3.313 a gallon, AAA said today on its website. That’s the highest price since Dec. 11.

U.S. oil product futures: NI OPFMKT


Natural gas futures in New York climbed the most in three weeks on forecasts for below-normal temperatures that would boost consumption of the heating fuel.

Gas advanced 4.2 percent after MDA Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland, predicted colder-than-usual weather in the Northeast and Great Lakes region from Jan. 21 through Jan. 25. A report from the EIA yesterday showed that inventories of the fuel last week fell by the most since February 2011.

Natural gas for February delivery rose 13.4 cents to settle at $3.327 per million British thermal units on the Nymex. Volume was 26 percent above the 100-day average at 2:36 p.m.

U.S. natural gas: NI NUSMKT


Oil dropped as accelerating Chinese inflation bolstered concern that economic stimulus may be curbed. The spread between crude in New York and London narrowed to the least in almost four months.

Crude oil for February delivery fell 26 cents to $93.56 a barrel on the Nymex. Trading volume was 12 percent above the 100-day average. Futures rose 0.5 percent this week, the fifth weekly gain in a row. Prices settled at $93.82 yesterday, the highest level since Sept. 18.

Brent oil for February settlement declined $1.25, or 1.1 percent, to $110.64 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Volume was 35 percent above the 100-day average. The grade dropped 0.6 percent this week.

Oil markets: NI CRMKTS


Corn prices surged, capping the biggest weekly rally since July, after the government said stockpiles in the U.S., the world’s largest grower and exporter, shrank more than analysts expected because of a drought-reduced harvest and rising demand for livestock feed.

Corn futures for March delivery advanced 1.4 percent to close at $7.0875 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest gain since Dec. 14. Prices rose 4.2 percent over five straight days, the first weekly rally since Nov. 30 and the biggest since July 20. Before the report, the contract tumbled as much as 1.8 percent.

Soybean futures fell to a six-month low after farmers last year harvested more than forecast in the U.S., the world’s top exporter, while Brazil was projected as the biggest grower for the first time in 2013.

Soybean futures for March delivery dropped 0.5 percent to close at $13.7325 a bushel in Chicago. Earlier, the price touched $13.515, the lowest for a most-active contract since June 19. The oilseed gained 17 percent last year after dry weather reduced U.S. output.

Grain markets: NI GRMKTS


Copper fell the most in three weeks as China’s inflation accelerated more than forecast, fueling speculation that the government will curb economic stimulus.

Copper futures for March delivery fell 1.5 percent to settle at $3.654 a pound on the Comex in New York, the biggest decline for a most-active contract since Dec. 20. The metal dropped for the sixth time in seven sessions.

On the LME, copper for delivery in three months slid 0.9 percent to $8,045 a ton ($3.65 a pound). Aluminum, lead and zinc also fell, while tin and nickel rose.

Base metals markets: NI BMMKTS


Gold fell for the second time in three days as inflation in China topped economist estimates, increasing concern that officials may curb stimulus.

Gold futures for February delivery dropped 1 percent to settle at $1,660.60 an ounce on the Comex. Today’s decline is the biggest for a most-active contract since Jan. 4. Prices are still up 0.7 percent this week, ending a six-week slump.

Silver futures for March delivery declined 1.6 percent to $30.408 an ounce in New York.

On the Nymex, platinum futures for April delivery fell 0.2 percent to $1,631.20 an ounce.

Palladium futures for March delivery slipped 0.1 percent to $701.45 an ounce.

Precious metal markets: NI PCMKTS


Cotton extended a rally to a more than one-week high after the government reported tightening U.S. supplies and increased demand. Orange juice, sugar and coffee also advanced, while cocoa fell.

Cotton for March delivery rose 0.6 percent to close at 75.62 cents a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, after touching 76.44 cents, the highest since Jan. 2. Prices dropped as much as 1.1 percent after the USDA report was released, as traders weighed shrinking domestic stockpiles against a bigger world crop.

Orange-juice futures for March delivery climbed 0.4 percent to close at $1.128 a pound in New York.

Also on ICE, raw-sugar futures for March delivery added 1.1 percent to 19.17 cents a pound. Arabica-coffee futures for March delivery advanced 2.5 percent to $1.5335 a pound. Cocoa futures for March delivery fell 0.6 percent to $2,256 a metric ton.

Soft commodities markets: NI SOMKTS


Cattle futures fell to the lowest in four weeks after the U.S. Department of Agriculture boosted its forecast for domestic beef output this year. Hogs also declined.

Cattle futures for February delivery declined 0.7 percent to settle at $1.306 a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Earlier, the price touched $1.30425, the lowest for the most-active contract since Dec. 11.

Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement dropped 1 percent to $1.5145 a pound. The price fell for the fifth straight day, the longest slump in almost 10 months. Earlier, the price touched $1.51425, the lowest since Dec. 11.

Hog futures for February settlement fell 0.5 percent to 84.2 cents a pound. The price touched 84.125 cents, the lowest since Dec. 12.

Livestock markets: NI LVMKTS

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