Natural Gas Slides on Supply, Cotton Gains: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities rose 0.3 percent to 664.22. The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 raw materials fell 0.1 percent at 1,594.667.


Natural gas futures declined for a third day in New York after a government report showed that U.S. stockpiles fell less than expected last week.

Gas dropped 3 percent after the Energy Information Administration said inventories slid 172 billion cubic feet in the week ended Jan. 18 to 2.996 trillion cubic feet. Analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg showed an expected withdrawal of 175 billion. Prices extended declines after a government forecast indicated milder weather.

Natural gas for February delivery fell 10.8 cents to settle at $3.446 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Trading was up 37 percent from the 100-day average at 5:08 p.m. The futures have risen 35 percent from a year ago.

Gas market: NI GASMARKET


Cotton futures rose for the seventh straight session, the longest rally in almost two years, on bets that production will drop in the U.S. as demand rebounds in China. Sugar, cocoa and orange juice declined.

Cotton for March delivery rose 3 percent to settle at 82.89 cents a pound on ICE Futures in New York, the biggest gain since Oct. 17. The price has gained 6.6 percent in six sessions.

Raw-sugar futures for March delivery slid less than 0.1 percent to 18.49 cents a pound on ICE, the seventh decline in eight sessions.

Cocoa for March delivery fell 0.9 percent to $2,195 a metric ton in New York, after sinking to $2,178, the lowest for a most-active contract since July 18.

Orange-juice futures for March delivery dropped 2.1 percent to $1.132 a pound on ICE, the first loss since Jan. 15.

Soft commodities markets: NI SOMKTS


Gold capped the biggest decline in almost two weeks after a drop in U.S. jobless claims signaled an improving outlook for economic growth and curbed demand for the precious metal as a haven asset.

Gold futures for February delivery fell 1 percent to settle at $1,669.90 an ounce on the Comex in New York, the biggest loss for a most-active contract since Jan. 11. Prices have erased this month’s gains.

Silver for March delivery declined 2.2 percent to $31.772 an ounce, ending a seven-session rally and the longest winning streak since August 2011. Today’s drop was the biggest since Jan. 4.

On the Nymex, platinum for April delivery fell 0.5 percent to settle at $1,683.80 an ounce.

Palladium for March delivery rose 0.1 percent to $726.70 an ounce on the Nymex.

Precious metal markets: NI PCMKTS


Hog futures rallied to the highest price since July on speculation that cold weather is disrupting the movement of animals. Cattle were little changed.

Hog futures for April settlement rose 1.9 percent to close at 89.675 cents a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, marking the biggest gain since Jan. 11. Earlier, the price reached 90.15 cents, the highest for a most-active contract since July 9.

Cattle futures for April delivery fell 0.1 percent to settle at $1.3035 a pound in Chicago. Prices are down 1.5 percent this month.

Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement rose 0.5 percent to $1.4795 a pound on the CME.

Livestock markets: NI LVMKTS


Gasoline advanced as inventories fell and as crude oil rallied on reports indicating the U.S. economy is stronger.

Gasoline for February delivery rose 2.91 cents to settle at $2.8629 on the Nymex.

Heating oil for February delivery gained 0.83 cent, or 0.3 percent, to $3.0864 a gallon on the exchange.


Heating oil: NI HEATOIL


Oil climbed after reports pointed to accelerating global growth, narrowing the discount to Brent crude.

Crude oil for March delivery gained 72 cents to settle at $95.95 a barrel on the Nymex. Futures were down 3 percent from a year earlier.

Brent crude for March rose 48 cents to $113.28 a barrel, narrowing the spread between the two by 24 cents to $17.33.

Oil markets: NI OILMARKET


Corn rose from a one-week low on speculation that demand from U.S. makers of biofuel and animal feed will erode inventories. Soybeans fell.

Corn futures for March delivery rose 0.5 percent to close at $7.2425 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. Earlier, prices slipped to $7.145, the lowest since Jan. 14, on speculation that rain may boost South America production, reducing overseas demand for U.S. supplies.

Soybean futures for March delivery fell 0.1 percent to $14.3525 a bushel in Chicago, after touching $14.15, the lowest since Jan. 16.

Grain markets: NI GRMKTS


Copper fell for a second day in New York as U.S. equities erased earlier gains, sparking demand concern amid signs of increasing supplies of the metal.

Copper futures for delivery in March declined 0.2 percent to settle at $3.6765 a pound on the Comex.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months retreated 0.1 percent to $8,095.50 a ton ($3.67 a pound).

Nickel was also lower in London. Aluminum was unchanged, while lead, zinc and tin rose.

Base metals markets: NI BMMKTS