Bloomberg News

Natural Gas Extends Drop to Two-Year Low: Commodities at Close

January 16, 2012

Jan. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Natural gas futures were down 4.5 percent at 4:56 p.m. in London after falling to a two-year low. There was no trading in the Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities and UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 raw materials because of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday in the U.S.

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas fell in New York, taking its decline in the past six days to the biggest in more than five years, on speculation that milder-than-average weather in the U.S. will curb heating demand.

Natural gas for February delivery fell 12 cents to $2.555 a million British thermal units on the Nymex and traded as low as $2.54, the lowest since Sept. 4, 2009. Futures have declined more than 16 percent in the past six days, the largest drop since November 2006.

U.K. natural gas and electricity for this summer slumped as supplies were ample, even as colder weather caused heating demand to surge.

Gas for summer, the six months from April, slipped as much as 1 pence to 51.6 pence a therm, according to broker data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s the lowest since November 2010 and equal to $7.90 a million British thermal units. Power for summer fell 90 pence to 41 pounds ($62.69) a megawatt-hour, according to broker data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s the lowest since April 2010.

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

SOFT COMMODITIES

Cocoa fell for a third day in London on speculation Europe’s economic slowdown is curbing demand. Robusta coffee advanced.

Cocoa for March delivery slid 1.9 percent to 1,482 pounds ($2,270) a metric ton on NYSE Liffe in London.

Robusta coffee for March delivery gained 0.8 percent to $1,846 a ton in London. White, or refined, sugar for March delivery rose 0.2 percent to $623.10 a ton.

Soft commodities markets: NI SOMKTS

GRAINS, OILSEEDS

Wheat rose for a second day in Paris as the euro slipped, making French grain less expensive for importers paying in dollars, after Standard & Poor’s cut credit ratings for euro- region nations including France.

March-delivery milling wheat climbed 0.4 percent to 197.75 euros ($250.48) a ton on NYSE Liffe, paring an advance of as much as 1.4 percent.

Rapeseed for May delivery advanced 0.4 percent to 436 euros a ton. Corn for delivery in March slipped 0.1 percent to 201 euros a ton.

Grain markets: NI GRMKTS

BASE METALS

Copper rose in London as stockpiles of the metal used in pipes and wiring continued to shrink, indicating steady demand.

Copper for delivery in three months climbed 0.5 percent to $8,037 a metric ton on the LME. Prices increased for a fourth session in five. The metal for March delivery rose 0.5 percent to $3.6555 a pound on the Comex in New York.

Lead for three-month delivery on the LME gained 0.2 percent to $2,015 a ton and aluminum advanced 0.4 percent to $2,153 a ton. Tin dropped 0.7 percent to $20,950 a ton, zinc slipped 0.1 percent to $1,958 a ton and nickel slid 1.4 percent to $19,320 a ton.

Base metals markets: NI BMMKTS

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold may gain in London as concern about Europe’s debt crisis spurs demand for the metal as a protection of wealth.

Bullion for immediate delivery climbed $4.68, or 0.3 percent, to $1,643.68 an ounce in London. Prices rose 1.3 percent last week, the second increase in a row. Gold for February delivery was up 0.8 percent at $1,643.80 on the Comex in New York.

Silver for immediate delivery rose 0.5 percent to $29.845 an ounce. Palladium was up 0.3 percent at $640 an ounce. Platinum increased 0.3 percent to $1,493.84 an ounce.

Precious metal markets: NI PCMKTS

CRUDE OIL

Oil climbed from the lowest price in almost four weeks as Iran said that a disruption to crude supplies through the Strait of Hormuz would cause a shock to markets that “no country” could manage.

Crude for February delivery rose as much as 95 cents to $99.65 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 0.4 percent to $98.70 on Jan. 13, the lowest close since Dec. 21.

Brent oil for February settlement was at $111.22 a barrel, up 78 cents on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The contract expires today. The more actively traded March futures rose 78 cents to $111.13 a barrel. The European benchmark contract’s premium to West Texas Intermediate futures was at $11.80, compared with a record $27.88 on Oct. 14.

Crude oil futures: NI CRMKTS

OIL PRODUCTS

Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Cargill Inc. bought barges of gasoline in northwest Europe at prices within the previous session’s traded range. Gasoil for February delivery gained on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Gasoline for immediate loading in Amsterdam-Rotterdam- Antwerp changed hands at $954 a metric ton, according to a survey of brokers and traders monitoring the Argus Bulletin Board. That’s compared with deals on Jan. 13 at $945 to $956.

Oil Products Europe: NI OPEMKT

--Editors: Claudia Carpenter,

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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