Bloomberg News

Natural Gas Extends Slump to 10-Year Low: Commodities at Close

March 29, 2012

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 raw materials fell 1.7 percent to settle at 683.72 at 3:47 p.m. New York time, led by natural gas.

The UBS Bloomberg CMCI Index of 26 prices declined 1.3 percent to 1,585.1.

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas fell, extending a slump to a 10-year low, after a government report showed that U.S. supplies climbed more than expected last week.

The Energy Department said inventories rose 57 billion cubic feet in the week ended March 23. Analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg showed a gain of 48 billion, on average.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, gas futures for May delivery tumbled 5.8 percent to $2.149 per million British thermal units, the lowest settlement since Feb. 6, 2002. The drop was the biggest since March 1.

U.K. winter gas declined from a six-month high on lower crude-oil prices.

The contract fell 0.43 pence to 74.3 pence a therm as of 4:37 p.m. in London, according to broker data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s equal to $11.83 per million Btu. A therm is 100,000 Btu.

A therm is 100,000 Btu.

SOFT COMMODITIES

Coffee fell, heading for the biggest quarterly loss since 1998, on sales by producers and investors in anticipation of record supplies in Brazil, the world’s largest grower.

On ICE Futures U.S. in New York, arabica coffee for May delivery slid 3 percent to $1.7645 a pound.

Cocoa futures for May delivery slid 3.1 percent to $2,223 a metric ton.

Cotton futures for May delivery fell 0.5 percent to 93.54 cents a pound.

Raw-sugar futures for May delivery climbed 1.4 percent to 24.6 cents a pound.

Orange-juice futures for May delivery increased 0.1 percent to $1.671 a pound.

CRUDE OIL

Crude oil fell to a six-week low as U.S. equities dropped and France said governments are moving closer to an agreement on a release from emergency stockpiles to curb price gains.

On the Nymex, oil futures for May delivery dropped 2.5 percent to $102.78 a barrel, the lowest settlement since Feb. 16.

BP Plc failed to sell North Sea Forties blend for the third day after lowering its offer. No bids or offers were made for Russian Urals in the Mediterranean and northwest Europe.

Russia will reduce daily crude exports in April from the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk by 6.3 percent from March, a final loading program obtained by Bloomberg News showed.

BASE METALS

Nickel fell, capping the longest slump in a year, as Europe’s debt crisis and slowing economic growth in China dimmed the outlook for metal demand.

On the London Metal Exchange, nickel for delivery in three months fell 2.4 percent to $17,150 a ton, the seventh straight decline.

Aluminum also dropped on the LME. Lead, zinc, copper and tin rose.

On the Comex in New York, copper futures gained 0.1 percent to $3.7965 a pound.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold fell for the third straight day on concern that demand for raw materials may ebb as U.S. jobless claims topped forecasts and Standard & Poor’s said Greece may have to restructure its debt again.

On the Comex, gold futures for June delivery dropped 0.3 percent to $1,654.90 an ounce.

Silver futures for May delivery rose 0.5 percent to $31.992 an ounce, the first gain in three sessions.

On the Nymex, palladium futures for June delivery fell 0.4 percent to $644.55 an ounce. Platinum futures for July delivery dropped 0.7 percent to $1,628.30 an ounce.

GRAINS, OILSEEDS

Wheat fell to a two-month low on speculation that supplies will be ample as exports ebb in the U.S., the world’s biggest shipper, and farmers boost planting.

On the Chicago Board of Trade, wheat futures for May delivery fell 2.9 percent to $6.125 a bushel. Earlier, the price touched $6.1125, the lowest for a most-active contract since Jan. 20.

Corn futures for May delivery fell 2.6 percent to $6.04 a bushel.

Soybean futures for May delivery dropped 0.9 percent to $13.555 a bushel.

LIVESTOCK

Hog futures fell to a three-week low on signs of increasing supplies of U.S. pork as animals gain more weight than normal before slaughter because of warm Midwest weather.

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, hog futures for June settlement dropped 2.3 percent to 90.075 cents a pound. Earlier, the price reached 89.925 cents, the lowest for the most-active contract since March 8.

Cattle futures for June delivery slumped 1.7 percent to $1.18475 a pound.

Feeder-cattle futures for May settlement retreated 1.2 percent to $1.51825 a pound.

OIL PRODUCTS

Gasoline rose to an 11-month high on concern that refinery shutdowns in the U.S. East Coast will tighten supplies as demand climbs before the peak summer-driving season.

On the Nymex, gasoline futures for April delivery rose 0.2 percent to $3.4006 a gallon, Earlier, the price reached $3.4455, the highest since April 29.

Heating-oil futures for April delivery fell 1.5 percent to $3.1589 a gallon.

-- With assistance from Ben Farey and Sherry Su in London; Whitney McFerron, Elizabeth Campbell and Jeff Wilson in Chicago; and Debarati Roy, Mark Shenk, Christine Buurma, Yi Tian, Joe Richter, Marvin G. Perez and Paul Burkhardt in New York. Editors: Thomas Galatola, Patrick McKiernan

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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