Crude, Nickel, Wheat Fall; Cocoa Gains: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials fell 1.6 percent to 657.31 in New York. The UBS Bloomberg CMCI gauge of 26 prices declined 1.2 percent to 1,563.989.


West Texas Intermediate oil in New York fell to the lowest level this year as a government report showed that U.S. crude stockpiles climbed to the highest level since July.

Futures dropped 2.5 percent after the Energy Information Administration said that supplies rose 4.14 million barrels last week to 376.4 million. A 2-million-barrel gain was projected, according to a Bloomberg survey. Production jumped to the most in more than 20 years. Markets also declined after the Federal Reserve signaled that it may consider slowing the pace of asset purchases, according to minutes of the Jan. 29-30 meeting, released yesterday.

WTI crude oil for April delivery tumbled $2.38 to $92.84 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since Dec. 31. It was the biggest loss since Nov. 20.

Brent crude for April settlement fell $2.07, or 1.8 percent, to settle at $113.53 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Oil futures: NI CRMKTS


Gasoline futures declined for a third day in New York, the first three-day drop since December.

Gasoline for March delivery declined 2.3 cents, or 0.8 percent, to settle at $3.0365 a gallon on the Nymex.

Heating oil for March delivery fell 6.06 cents, or 1.9 percent, to settle at $3.0957 a gallon on the Nymex.

Oil products markets: NI OPFMKT


Platinum slumped to a six-week low on signs that Europe is struggling to recover from a recession, boosting concern that demand will slow. Gold was little changed.

On the Nymex, platinum futures for April delivery fell 1.6 percent to settle at $1,620 an ounce.

Gold futures for April delivery rose less than 0.1 percent to $1,578.60 an ounce on the Comex in New York.

Silver futures for March delivery climbed 0.3 percent to $28.699 an ounce on the Comex.

Precious-metal markets: NI PCMKTS


Sugar slid on a report that a global surplus will be larger than expected, partly because of more production in Brazil, the world’s largest grower. Cotton also dropped, while coffee, cocoa and orange juice advanced.

Raw-sugar futures for May delivery dropped 1.3 percent to settle at 17.9 cents on ICE Futures U.S. in New York.

Also on ICE, cotton futures for May delivery slumped 1.5 percent to 83.23 cents a pound, the first loss in a week.

Arabica coffee for May delivery gained 0.1 percent to $1.4175 a pound in New York.

Cocoa futures for May delivery advanced 0.9 percent to $2,133 a metric ton. Orange-juice futures for May delivery rose 1.9 percent to $1.289 a pound.

Soft commodities markets: NI SOMKTS


Natural gas futures dropped in New York for the first time in three days after weather forecasts for the central U.S. turned milder heading into March.

Natural gas for March delivery slid 3.3 cents, or 1 percent, to settle at $3.246 per million British thermal units on the Nymex.

U.S. gas market: NI NUSMKT


Copper, tin and nickel fell to the lowest level this year on signs of a deepening slump in Europe and concern that the Fed will slow the pace of economic stimulus.

Copper futures for May delivery declined 1.5 percent to settle at $3.5695 a pound on the Comex.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months fell 1.2 percent to $7,861 a ton ($3.57 a pound). Nickel slumped as low as $16,600, the cheapest since Nov. 27. Tin touched $22,980, the least since Dec. 20.

Lead, zinc and aluminum also retreated in London.

Base-metal markets: NI BMMKTS


Wheat fell the most in seven weeks as snowfall expected in Kansas, the biggest U.S. grower of winter varieties, eased concern that drought in the Great Plains will damage crops. Corn fell, and soybeans rose.

Wheat futures for delivery in May fell 2.9 percent to settle at $7.24 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Soybean futures for May delivery rose 0.1 percent to settle at $14.705 a bushel on the CBOT.

Corn futures for May delivery dropped 1.5 percent to $6.855 a bushel in Chicago.

Grain markets: NI GRMKTS


Hog futures fell, capping the longest slump in 15 months, on signs of slack export demand for U.S. pork. Cattle also dropped.

Hog futures for April settlement declined 0.7 percent to close at 82.375 cents a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Cattle futures for April delivery slid 0.3 percent to $1.27825 a pound. Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement declined less than 0.1 percent to $1.407 a pound.

Livestock markets: NI LVMKTS