Bloomberg News

Crude Oil Declines as Iran Tensions Ease: Commodities at Close

March 02, 2012

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials fell 1.2 percent to settle at 704.37 at 4 p.m. New York time, led by a drop in energy futures.

The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 prices declined 0.5 percent to 1,647.35.

CRUDE OIL

Crude oil fell the most this year as President Barack Obama said a pre-emptive strike on Iran might generate “sympathy” for the Persian Gulf country, easing concern that an attack would take place.

Obama said in an interview with the Atlantic magazine that a strike without warning might allow Iran to portray itself as a victim. Oil also declined as the dollar rose before reports next week that may show U.S. economic growth.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, oil futures for April delivery dropped 2 percent to $106.70 a barrel, the biggest drop since Dec. 14. The price tumbled 2.8 percent this week.

Brent oil for April slipped 2 percent to at $123.65 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

BP Plc sought to buy two cargoes of North Sea Forties crude without success after the grade’s premium to Dated Brent rose to a five-month high. Gunvor Group Ltd. failed to sell Russian Urals blend in northwest Europe at a higher price.

Total SA sold 1 million barrels of the new Nigerian Usan crude for loading on April 5 to April 15 to Cia. Espanola de Petroleos SA, or Cepsa, according to three traders who participate in the market.

OIL PRODUCTS

Gasoline fell in tandem with crude oil as Obama cautioned against a premature strike against Iran.

On the Nymex, gasoline futures for April delivery declined 2.4 percent to $3.2721 a gallon.

Heating-oil futures for April delivery dropped 2.2 percent to $3.2018 a gallon.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold fell, capping the biggest weekly loss since mid- December, as the dollar’s rally reduced the appeal of the metal as an alternative investment.

On the Comex in New York, gold futures for April delivery declined 0.7 percent to $1,709.80 an ounce. This week, the price dropped 3.7 percent, the most since Dec. 16.

Silver futures for May delivery fell 3.2 percent to $34.525 an ounce, capping a weekly loss of 2.5 percent.

On the Nymex, platinum futures for April delivery declined 0.6 percent to $1,691.70 an ounce. Palladium futures for June delivery decreased 0.6 percent to $712.55 an ounce.

BASE METALS

Copper fell on signs of ample supplies as inventories rose to the highest in at least nine years in China, the world’s biggest consumer of industrial metals.

On the Comex, copper futures for May delivery dropped 0.7 percent to $3.903 a pound.

On the LME, copper for delivery in three months slid 0.6 percent to $8,580 a ton ($3.89 a pound).

Aluminum, tin and nickel also declined in London. Zinc and lead advanced.

SOFT COMMODITIES

Cocoa fell on speculation that rains will boost crop prospects in West Africa, the world’s biggest producing region.

On ICE Futures in New York, cocoa for May delivery dropped 1.4 percent to $2,334 a metric ton. The price sank 1 percent this week.

Arabica-coffee futures for May delivery fell 1.1 percent to $2.018 a pound. The price slid 0.9 percent this week.

Raw-sugar futures for May delivery advanced 0.4 percent to 24.96 cents a pound.

Orange-juice futures for May delivery advanced 1.4 percent to $1.9035 a pound, the fourth straight gain and the longest rally since Jan. 23.

Cotton futures for May delivery slumped 1.6 percent to 88.23 cents a pound.

GRAINS, OILSEEDS

Soybeans gained for the 10th straight session, and corn rose on speculation that China, the world’s biggest pork producer, will increase purchases from the U.S. to feed a growing hog herd and curb food inflation.

On the Chicago Board of Trade, soybean futures for May delivery gained 0.8 percent to $13.33 a bushel, the highest for a most-active contract since Sept. 21. The 10-session rally was the longest since July 15.

Corn futures for May delivery rose 0.2 percent to $6.55 a bushel, capping a weekly gain of 1.7 percent.

Wheat futures for May delivery advanced 1.6 percent to $6.745 a bushel.

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas advanced as demand from utilities climbed after 18 nuclear reactors were idled for maintenance.

On the Nymex, gas futures for April delivery rose 0.9 percent to $2.484 per million British thermal units.

U.K. gas for April fell for the fourth straight day, the longest slump this year, as milder weather was forecast for next week.

The contract fell as much as 0.7 pence to 57.85 pence a therm. It was at 57.95 pence at 4:30 p.m. in London, broker data show. That’s equal to $9.18 per million Btu. A therm is 100,000 Btu.

LIVESTOCK

Hog rose to a one-week high on signs of increasing demand for U.S. pork as consumers seek alternatives to more expensive beef.

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, hog futures for April settlement increased 0.2 percent to 90.425 cents a pound.

Cattle futures for April delivery slid 0.8 percent to $1.2995 a pound.

Feeder-cattle futures for April settlement dropped 0.3 percent to $1.61325 a pound.

To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Galatola in New York at tgalatola@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net


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