Bloomberg News

Copper Falls to Seven-Week Low on Europe: Commodities at Close

December 15, 2011

Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) -- The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities dropped 0.2 percent to 620.42 as of 4:54 p.m. in London. The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 raw materials was little changed at 1,466.744.

BASE METALS

Copper fell to the lowest in more than seven weeks on mounting concern that Europe’s debt crisis will cripple the global economy and metals demand.

Futures for March delivery fell 0.4 percent to $3.265 a pound on the Comex in New York. Earlier, the price touched $3.2325, the lowest for a most-active contract since Oct. 24.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months slipped 0.2 percent to $7,197 a metric ton ($3.27 a pound).

Aluminum, nickel, tin and zinc advanced. Base metals markets: NI BMMKTS <GO>

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold, heading for the first quarterly loss in more than three years, fell for a fourth day after the Federal Reserve failed to announce more stimulus measures.

Gold futures for February delivery fell 0.9 percent to $1,572.10 an ounce on the Comex in New York. Prices dropped 7.6 percent the previous three days. A loss this quarter would be first since the period ended Sept. 30, 2008.

Silver futures for March delivery slipped 0.3 percent to $28.845 an ounce on the Comex, heading for the third decline in four days. Precious metal markets: NI PCMKTS <GO>

CRUDE OIL

Oil fluctuated near the lowest level in more than five weeks as U.S. jobless claims unexpectedly declined and industrial production dropped for the first time in seven months in November.

Crude for January delivery fell 10 cents to $94.85 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures traded between $94.67 and $95.99. Yesterday, the contract fell to $94.95, the lowest settlement since Nov. 4. Prices have risen 3.8 percent this year after climbing 15 percent in 2010.

Brent oil for January settlement increased 43 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $105.45 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The contract expires today. The more-actively traded February futures gained 36 cents to $104.61. Crude oil futures: NI CRMKTS <GO>

SOFT COMMODITIES

Sugar rose in New York on lower supply from Brazil, the world’s largest producer and exporter. Cocoa and coffee declined.

Raw sugar for March delivery gained 0.3 percent to 22.86 cents a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. Prices fell 2.7 percent yesterday.

Cocoa for March delivery dropped 1.8 percent $2,140 a ton on ICE. Before today, the chocolate ingredient tumbled 28 percent this year.

Arabica-coffee futures for March delivery fell 0.3 percent to $2.174 a pound. Before today, the price dropped 9.4 percent in 2011.

In London futures trading, refined sugar advanced as robusta coffee and cocoa fell on NYSE Liffe.

Cotton rebounded from a 15-month low as the dollar declined, renewing demand for commodities as alternative investments. Orange juice retreated.

Cotton futures for March delivery gained 0.2 percent to 85.28 cents a pound on ICE Futures in New York. Before today, the fiber plunged 41 percent this year. The commodity touched 84.35 cents yesterday, the lowest since Aug. 24, 2010.

Orange-juice futures for January delivery slid 0.2 percent to $1.6745 a pound on ICE. Before today, the commodity advanced 2.6 percent this year, heading for a third straight annual gain. Soft commodities markets: NI SOMKTS <GO>

GRAINS, OILSEEDS

Soybean futures rose for the third time this week on speculation that yields for South American crops will decline as dry weather persists. Wheat was little changed, and corn fell.

Soybean futures for March delivery rose 0.5 percent to $11.16 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. Before today, the price was down 21 percent this year.

Wheat futures for March delivery rose less than 0.1 percent to $5.81 a bushel in Chicago. Yesterday, the price touched $5.79, the lowest for a most-active contract since July 21, 2010.

Corn futures for March delivery declined 0.7 percent to $5.7675 a bushel. Earlier, the price touched $5.7625, the lowest since Oct. 3. As of yesterday, the grain had dropped 7.7 percent this year as rising world output reduced demand for U.S. supplies. Grain markets: NI GRMKTS <GO>

OIL PRODUCTS

Gasoline declined to the lowest level in three weeks as Brent oil decreased. The motor fuel’s crack, or premium to the crude benchmark, widened to the highest level in six weeks.

Gasoline barges for immediate loading in Amsterdam- Rotterdam-Antwerp traded at $888 to $895 a metric ton, according to a Bloomberg survey of brokers and traders monitoring the Argus Bulletin Board. That’s the lowest since Nov. 21 and compares with yesterday’s deals from $902 to $922. European Union and United Nations emission credits advanced from record lows as equities rose.

EU permits gained 1.9 percent to 6.57 euros ($8.52) a metric ton on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange. Benchmark United Nations Certified Emission Reductions, offsets that can be used by EU factories and power stations to comply with carbon-dioxide limits, increased 2.8 percent to 3.98 euros a ton. Oil Products Europe: NI OPEMKT <GO> EU Carbon Emissions: NI ECBMKT

NATURAL GAS

U.K. natural gas for the first quarter fell for a second day amid record storage and below-normal heating demand even as Britain exports fuel to Belgium.

Gas for the first quarter, typically the period of highest heating demand, dropped 0.5 pence, or 0.9 percent, to 57.15 pence a therm, according to broker prices compiled by Bloomberg. That’s equal to $8.86 a million British thermal units and would be the lowest close since November 2010. The contract has fallen 9.1 percent this year and 23 percent since the winter heating season began on Oct. 1. Power for the first quarter slipped 25 pence to 44.81 pounds ($69.45) a megawatt-hour.

Natural gas futures rose in New York after a government report showed that U.S. stockpiles fell more than expected last week.

Natural gas for January delivery rose 5 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $3.186 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. U.K. natural gas: NI NUKMKT <GO> Gas market: NI GASMARKET Americas natural gas: NI AGASMARKET European natural gas: NI EGASMARKET

LIVESTOCK

Cattle futures for February delivery rose 0.5 percent to $1.19375 a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Prices are up 10 percent this year. Livestock markets: {NI LVMKTS <GO>}

--Editors: Claudia Carpenter, John Deane

To contact the reporter on this story: Claudia Carpenter in London at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter in London at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net


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