Natural Gas Falls From 21-Month High: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities advanced 0.2 percent to 606.9 by 6:02 p.m. in London. The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 raw materials fell 0.1 percent to 1,458.124.


Natural gas futures dropped from a 21-month high in New York on forecasts for moderating weather that would limit demand for the heating and power-plant fuel.

Gas slid as much as 0.9 percent after Commodity Weather Group LLC predicted mostly normal temperatures in the eastern half of the U.S. from April 29 through May 3. The futures settled at $4.401 per million British thermal units yesterday, the highest close since July 20, 2011, after government data showed a smaller-than-expected increase in gas inventories.

Natural gas for May delivery fell 2 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $4.381 per million Btu on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The futures have climbed 3.7 percent this week and are heading for a record ninth weekly gain. Trading volume was 2.4 percent below the average for the time of day.

U.K. natural gas: NI NUKMKT Gas market: NI GASMARKET Americas natural gas: NI AGASMARKET European natural gas: NI EGASMARKET


Crude rose for a second day, paring its third weekly drop, on speculation that declines were excessive and as the euro increased against the dollar.

WTI crude for May delivery rose 51 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $88.24 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract touched $85.61 yesterday, the lowest level since Dec. 11. Trading in WTI futures was 4.7 percent below the 100-day average for this time of day. Futures are down 3.3 percent this week and are 14 percent lower than a year ago.

Brent oil for June settlement gained 76 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $99.89 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Futures touched $96.75 yesterday, the lowest intraday price since July 2.

Oil markets: NI OILMARKET


Gold futures topped $1,400 an ounce on signs that jewelers and other users of the metal are taking advantage of the biggest slump in prices in three decades.

Gold futures for June delivery climbed 0.7 percent to $1,401.90 on the Comex in New York. Earlier, the price reached $1,424.70, up 7.8 percent from the low on April 16. India is the world’s biggest buyer, followed by China.

Silver futures for May delivery climbed 0.2 percent to $23.285 an ounce. On April 16, the price touched $22, the lowest since Oct. 11, 2010.

Precious metal markets: NI PCMKTS


Cocoa rose to the highest in almost four months after North American processing unexpectedly gained for a second straight quarter, signaling improving demand. Coffee, sugar, orange juice and cotton also advanced.

Cocoa for July delivery climbed 0.9 percent to $2,339 a ton on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. Earlier, the price reached $2,348, the highest for a most-active contract since Dec. 21.

Arabica-coffee futures for delivery in July rose 1.2 percent to $1.425 a pound on ICE. Earlier, the commodity touched $1.4265, the highest since March 13.

Raw-sugar futures for July delivery gained 1.2 percent to 17.82 cents a pound in New York.

Orange-juice futures for July delivery advanced 1.2 percent to $1.476 a pound.

Cotton futures for July delivery added 0.2 percent to 85.67 cents a pound.

Soft commodities markets: NI SOMKTS


Copper fell in London, set for the biggest weekly drop in 16 months and near a bear market, on concern slowing economies from China to the U.S. will reduce demand as stockpiles of the metal expand.

Copper for delivery in three months slid 1.3 percent to $6,995 a metric ton on the LME. A close at $6,992 would be 20 percent below the February 2012 closing high, a common definition of a bear market. The weekly retreat of 5.6 percent is the biggest since the week of Dec. 16, 2011.

Nickel for delivery in three months fell 2.1 percent to $15,220 a ton in London, the lowest level since July 14, 2009. Macquarie Group Ltd. raised its estimate for this year’s surplus to 82,000 tons from 54,000 tons.

Tin and lead rose in London. Aluminum and zinc fell.

Base metals markets: NI BMMKTS


Soybeans are heading for a second weekly gain in Chicago after demand for U.S. exports improved last week amid shipping delays in Brazil, predicted to be the largest exporter this season.

Soybeans for July delivery fell 0.3 percent to $13.8575 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. Earlier they rose as much as 0.8 percent to $14.005. They are headed for a weekly advance of 0.5 percent. Soybean futures on April 16 fell to the lowest intraday level since June 19 on concern an outbreak of avian flu in China may hurt demand.

Wheat for delivery in July dropped 0.5 percent to $7.0325 a bushel in Chicago, also poised for a weekly decline.

Milling wheat for November delivery traded on NYSE Liffe in Paris gained 0.3 percent to 213 euros ($279) a metric ton. Spain, the European Union’s second-largest wheat importer after Italy, yesterday predicted its harvest of the grain will jump 31 percent after a wet autumn boosted soil-water reserves.

Grains markets: NI GRMKTS


Gasoline futures advanced a second day, narrowing a weekly drop. Crack spreads widened.

Gasoline for May delivery rose 1.29 cents to $2.7684 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange on volume that was 11 percent below the 100-day average for the time of day. Prices are down 1.2 percent this week.

Gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, fell 0.6 cent to $3.506 a gallon, AAA said today on its website. Prices have fallen 28 cents from this year’s high of $3.786 on Feb. 26 and are 38.5 cents below a year ago.

Oil Products Europe: NI OPEMKT Gasoline: NI GASOLINE Heating oil: NI HEATOIL


Hog futures fell for the first time in four days on signs of weakening demand for U.S. pork exports. Cattle also declined.

Hog futures for June settlement declined 0.7 percent to 90 cents a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The commodity rose 5.7 percent this year through yesterday.

Cattle futures for June delivery fell 0.5 percent to $1.20825 a pound.

Feeder-cattle futures for August settlement dropped 1 percent to $1.45725 a pound.