Bloomberg News

Nickel, Gas Rally After U.S. Payrolls Gain: Commodities at Close

March 09, 2012

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials rose to the highest level in six days, increasing 0.6 percent to 707.22 at 4:07 p.m. in New York, after U.S. payrolls gained more than forecast, boosting the outlook for economic growth. Nickel, natural gas and copper led the gain.

The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 prices advanced for a third day, by 0.7 percent to 1632.259 at 4:19 p.m. in New York.

BASE METALS

Copper gained the most in two weeks on speculation that China, the world’s biggest metals user, will take steps to boost growth and on signs the U.S. economy is improving.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index of equities climbed as much as 1.4 percent on bets that Chinese authorities will act to stimulate growth after reports showed lower-than-expected industrial output and slowing inflation. U.S employers boosted payrolls by 227,000 last month, topping economists’ median projection of 210,000. Copper has jumped 12 percent this year.

Copper futures for May delivery gained 1.8 percent to settle at $3.8585 a pound at 1:24 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest advance since Feb. 21.

Nickel rose 2.7 percent to $19,300 a ton on the LME, the biggest gain since Jan. 26. Aluminum, zinc and tin also climbed in London, while lead slipped.

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas futures rose in New York for the first time in three days on speculation that prices near the lowest since 2002 will bring buyers into the market.

Gas gained 2.3 percent after settling at 10-year lows the past two days. The futures have traded between $2.25 and $2.81 per million British thermal units for most of this year and holding above a January low of $2.231 provided technical support, said Dominick Chirichella, senior partner at the Energy Management Institute in New York.

Natural gas for April delivery rose 5.2 cents to $2.324 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange after dropping 1.3 percent yesterday to $2.272, the lowest settlement price since Feb. 15, 2002. The futures this week dropped 16 cents, or 6.4 percent.

The price discount, or spread, of the April contract to May futures widened 0.1 cent to 10.1 cents.

Gas has dropped 22 percent this year, making it the worst performer on the Standard & Poor’s GSCI commodity index, as a stockpile surplus ballooned because of above-normal winter temperatures and record production.

GRAINS, OILSEEDS

Corn rose the most in three weeks on speculation that China, the world’s top pork consumer, will increase U.S. grain purchases to meet rising demand for livestock feed. Soybeans fell from a five-month high.

Shuanghui Group, China’s biggest hog processor, plans to boost production volume by 50 percent this year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts that China’s corn imports will quadruple this year. Global inventories of the grain will fall to five-year low, the agency said today.

Corn futures for May delivery rose 1.5 percent to $6.45 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since Feb. 13. The price fell 1.5 percent this week on speculation that warm, dry weather in the central U.S. will lead to early planting and higher yield potential as farmers plant the most acres since 1944.

Soybean futures for May delivery dropped 0.1 percent to $13.3775 a bushel. Earlier, the price reached $13.555, the highest since Sept. 19. The oilseed advanced 0.4 percent this week, the fourth straight gain.

Wheat futures rose the most in a week after a U.S. forecast on domestic and global inventories trailed estimates by analysts, signaling more demand for the grain used in food and livestock feed.

Wheat futures for May delivery rose 1.3 percent to settle at $6.43 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest gain since March 2. The commodity tumbled 4.7 percent this week on speculation that rain will boost crops in the U.S. Great Plains, adding to world supplies.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold rose for a third straight session, tracking gains in equities and commodities, after a report showed U.S. payrolls gained more than forecast, boosting the outlook for economic growth and raw-material demand.

U.S. employers boosted payrolls by 227,000 last month, topping economists’ median projection of 210,000, the Labor Department said today. The S&P 500 Index of equities climbed as much as 0.6 percent. Automatic purchases by computer programs may have contributed to the rally after prices rose above $1,700 an ounce, said Adam Klopfenstein, a market strategist at Archer Financial Services Inc.

Gold futures for April delivery gained 0.8 percent to settle at $1,711.50 at 1:55 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Prices rose 0.1 percent this week, the third gain in four.

Silver futures for May delivery rose 1.1 percent to $34.212 an ounce on the Comex. The metal declined 0.9 percent this week, the second straight loss.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, palladium futures for June delivery advanced 1.5 percent to $709.95 an ounce. Platinum futures for April delivery climbed 1.7 percent to $1,684.90 an ounce.

SOFT COMMODITIES

Arabica-coffee futures fell, capping the biggest weekly slump since September, on signs that supplies will be plentiful as harvest time nears in Brazil, the world’s top grower. Sugar slid, while cocoa rose.

Global coffee output will climb to a record next season as production in Brazil enters the high-productive cycle of the biennial crop, according to CoffeeNetwork, a unit of INTL FCStone Inc. Harvesting is starting in the South American nation, and the export season will commence in July.

Arabica coffee for May delivery tumbled 1.7 percent to settle at $1.862 a pound at 2 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. This week, the commodity sank 7.7 percent, the biggest drop since Sept. 23. Prices are down 18 percent this year.

Raw-sugar futures for May delivery slumped 1.3 percent to 23.66 cents a pound on ICE, marking the fourth decline in five sessions. The sweetener tumbled 5.2 percent this week, the biggest decline since Sept. 23.

Cocoa futures for May delivery climbed 0.6 percent to $2,410 a metric ton in New York, bringing the weekly gain to 3.3 percent, the biggest since Feb. 17.

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

LIVESTOCK

Cattle futures fell, capping the biggest weekly decline this year, on speculation that U.S. consumers are slowing purchases of meat because of high costs. Hogs gained.

Wholesale beef reached $1.988 a pound on Feb. 29, the highest since at least January 2004, Agriculture Department data show. Beef at the supermarket may rise as much as 5 percent this year, more than any food category, the government has forecast. Slowing demand is pressuring prices, said Chad Henderson, a market analyst at Prime Agricultural Consultants Inc.

Cattle futures for April delivery declined 0.5 percent to close at $1.26025 a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Prices fell 3 percent this week, the biggest decline for a most-active contract since Dec. 9.

Spot-steer prices averaged $1.2677 a pound in the first four days of this week, down 1.7 percent from a week earlier, USDA data show.

Feeder-cattle futures for May settlement slid 0.9 percent to $1.5715 a pound.

Hog futures for April settlement rose 0.1 percent to 87.825 cents a pound in Chicago. Prices dropped 2.9 percent this week, the biggest loss since Dec. 16.

OIL PRODUCTS

Gasoline rose for a third day as the U.S. added more jobs in February than projected, indicating the labor market may be strengthening and fuel demand will improve.

Futures advanced as U.S. employment increased by 227,000 in February, more than the 210,000 gain projected in a survey by Bloomberg News. The jobless rate held steady at 8.3 percent while the participation rate, which indicates the share of working-age people in the labor force, improved to 63.9 percent from 63.7 percent.

Gasoline for April delivery rose 1.84 cents, or 0.6 percent, to settle at $3.3324 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices were up 1.8 percent this week and have gained 24 percent this year, making the motor fuel the best performer in Standard & Poor’s GSCI index of 24 commodities.

April-delivery heating oil slipped 0.57 cent to $3.2638 a gallon on the exchange, after touching a low of $3.2481. Prices rose 1.9 percent this week and have gained 11 percent in 2012.

Regular gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, was unchanged at $3.758 a gallon yesterday, according to AAA data. Prices have increased 15 percent this year, and are 6.6 percent higher than a year earlier.

CRUDE OIL

Oil climbed for a third day in New York after U.S. employers boosted payrolls more than forecast, bolstering optimism that the world’s largest economy and fuel demand will grow.

Futures rose 0.8 percent after the Labor Department said payrolls increased by 227,000 in February. A gain of 210,000 was projected, according to the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Crude also advanced as Greece pushed through the biggest sovereign restructuring in history.

Oil for April delivery climbed 82 cents to settle at $107.40 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices advanced 0.7 percent this week and 8.7 percent this year.

Brent oil for April settlement gained 54 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $125.98 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lynn Doan in San Francisco at ldoan6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net


China's Killer Profits
LIMITED-TIME OFFER SUBSCRIBE NOW
 
blog comments powered by Disqus