The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities declined 0.41 percent to 697.56 at 4 p.m. New York time. The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 raw materials fell 0.3 percent to 1,620.397.
Oil declined for the first time in three days as U.S. factory orders climbed less than expected in February and the Federal Reserve said it’s holding off on increasing monetary accommodation.
Oil for May delivery slipped $1.22 to settle at $104.01 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures have risen 5.2 percent this year.
Brent crude for May settlement slid 57 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $124.86 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark contract’s premium to New York-traded West Texas Intermediate was at $20.85, the biggest spread since October.
Gasoline rose as prices in Europe increased to a record, weakening the incentive to export cargoes of the motor fuel to the U.S.
Gasoline for May delivery advanced 1.32 cents, or 0.4 percent, to settle at $3.3954 a gallon on the Nymex. Prices have risen 26 percent this year, the best-performing contract in the Standard & Poor’s GSCI index of 24 commodities.
May-delivery heating oil fell 2.21 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $3.2275 a gallon on the Nymex. Prices have risen 10 percent this year.
Natural gas gained for a second day in New York on forecasts for cold Midwest weather next week that may boost heating-fuel demand.
Natural gas for May delivery rose 3.5 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $2.187 per million British thermal units on the Nymex. The futures have slipped 27 percent this year, the worst performer on the Standard & Poor’s GSCI Index of 24 commodities.
Gold slumped the most in more than four weeks after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting showed bankers may refrain from announcing further monetary stimulus unless economic growth slows.
Gold for immediate delivery slumped 2 percent to $1,643.93 an ounce at 3:24 p.m. in New York. A close at that level would be the biggest loss since Feb. 29.
On the Comex in New York, gold futures for June delivery fell as much as 2.4 percent in electronic trading, after settling down 0.5 percent to $1,672 at the close of floor trading.
Copper dropped for the first time in four sessions in New York as increasing inventories signaled a dimming outlook for demand.
Copper futures for May delivery fell 0.1 percent to settle at $3.919 a pound at 1:17 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The metal climbed 3.4 percent in the previous three sessions on gains in U.S. and Chinese manufacturing. Prices increased 11 percent in the first quarter, the most since 2010.
LME stockpiles advanced 1.2 percent to 260,650 metric tons, daily exchange figures showed, as supplies increased in the U.S. ports of Baltimore and New Orleans and in Incheon, South Korea.
On the LME, copper for delivery in three months slid 0.3 percent to $8,615 a metric ton ($3.91 a pound). Markets in China, the biggest global user, were shut.
Tin and aluminum declined in London. Nickel, lead, and zinc advanced.
GRAINS, SOFT COMMODITIES
Corn rose, capping the biggest three-session rally since May, as demand for immediate supplies climbed after inventories fell to an eight-year low in the U.S., the world’s top exporter. Soybeans dropped from a six-month high.
Corn futures for May delivery climbed 0.5 percent to close at $6.5825 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, capping a three-session rally of 9 percent, the most since May 18.
Soybean futures for May delivery fell 0.3 percent to settle at $14.1675 a bushel in Chicago, snapping a two-day rally. Earlier, the price reached $14.3425, the highest for a most- active contract since Sept. 7. Prices have risen 17 percent this year as hot, dry weather reduced South American production.
Wheat rose, erasing earlier losses, on speculation that more of the grain will be used as animal feed in the U.S. southern Great Plains because of climbing corn costs.
Wheat futures for May delivery climbed 0.2 percent to $6.58 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price earlier lost as much as 1.1 percent on forecasts that frost won’t damage the crop this week. Kansas is the biggest U.S. producer of the winter variety.
Cotton futures fell for the fourth straight session after the U.S. Department of Agriculture said that farmers plan to sow more than analysts anticipated. Orange juice rose.
Cotton for May delivery fell 0.5 percent to close at 92.64 cents a pound at 2:36 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. Prices have tumbled 53 percent in the past year amid forecasts for record crops from India to Brazil.
Orange-juice futures for May delivery climbed 0.2 percent to $1.625 a pound on ICE. The commodity has slumped 28 percent since reaching a record $2.2695 on Jan. 23.
Cocoa futures fell, capping the longest slump this year, on signs of ample U.S. supplies, ebbing demand and improving prospects for crops in Ivory Coast, the world’s top grower. Sugar and coffee also slid.
Cocoa futures for May delivery declined 2 percent to settle at $2,143 a metric ton at 12:07 p.m. in New York. The price fell for the fifth straight session, the longest slide since the end of December.
Raw-sugar futures for July delivery fell 1.3 percent to 23.46 cents a pound in New York. Earlier, the price touched 23.41 cents, the lowest for a most-active contract since March 12.
Arabica-coffee futures for May delivery slid 0.5 percent to $1.8535 a pound.
In London futures trading, cocoa, refined sugar and robusta coffee slid on NYSE Liffe.
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