Oil Nears Five Month Low; Gas Stops Gains: Commodities at Close
The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities declined 1.1 percent to 640.690 at 3:54 p.m. New York time. The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 raw materials dropped 1.1 percent to 1492.662.
Oil fell to the lowest level in almost five months amid growing speculation that Greece may leave the euro currency union and as Saudi Arabia’s oil minister said prices should decline further.
Crude for June delivery fell $1.35 to $94.78 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since Dec. 19. Futures are down 14 percent from this year’s closing high of $109.77 Feb. 24.
Brent for June settlement dropped 69 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $111.57 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Natural gas futures fell in New York for the first time in six days on forecasts that mild weather will limit demand from electricity generators.
Natural gas for June delivery dropped 7.8 cents, or 3.1 percent, to settle at $2.431 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was the biggest percentage decrease since May 2. Next-month futures have rebounded 28 percent since sliding to a 10-year intraday low of $1.902 on April 19. Gas is down 19 percent this year.
Gasoline slid to a three-month low on concern that Europe’s debt crisis will worsen, curbing fuel use, after Greece failed to form a new coalition government and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party lost a key election.
Gasoline for June delivery fell 4.18 cents to $2.959 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since Feb. 7.
Regular gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, fell 0.1 cent to $3.727 a gallon yesterday, according to AAA. That’s the lowest level since Feb. 27. Prices are down 20.9 cents since reaching a 2012 high of $3.936 on April 4. Gasoline peaked in 2011 at $3.985 on May 4.
June-delivery heating oil declined 3.41 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $2.9295 a gallon on the exchange, the lowest settlement since Dec. 29. Prices have lost 0.2 percent this year, after gaining 13 percent through Feb. 24.
Gold erased its gains for this year as concern that Europe’s debt crisis is deepening strengthened the dollar and cut gold’s appeal as an alternative asset. Other precious metals also declined.
Gold futures for June delivery declined 1.5 percent to settle at $1,561 an ounce at 1:40 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Earlier, prices touched $1,555, the lowest since Dec. 30. The metal ended 2011 up 10 percent at $1,566.80.
Bullion for immediate delivery dropped as much as 1.4 percent to $1,556.52. It ended 2011 at $1,563.70.
Silver futures for July delivery tumbled 1.9 percent to $28.353 an ounce on the Comex.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, palladium futures for June delivery fell 1.4 percent to $594.85 an ounce, extending this year’s loss to 9.3 percent. Platinum futures for July delivery dropped 2 percent to $1,442.60 an ounce, after touching $1,442.10, the lowest since Jan. 10.
Copper fell to a four-month low in New York on speculation that demand will decline because of a possible Greek exit from the currency union that uses the euro and because of a slowdown in China, the world’s biggest user of the metal.
Copper futures for July delivery fell 2.6 percent to $3.554 a pound at 1:16 p.m. on the Comex in New York, after slipping to $3.5425, the lowest since Jan. 12. Copper fell 2 percent last week and is down 7.2 percent this month.
Soybeans fell to the lowest in more than six weeks on speculation that Europe’s worsening debt crisis and a slowing Chinese economy will curb demand for food, feed and fuel made from the oilseed. Corn rose.
Soybean futures for July delivery declined 1.4 percent to close at $13.87 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, the fifth drop in six sessions. Earlier, the most-active contract touched $13.76, the lowest since March 30.
Corn futures for July delivery rose 0.3 percent to $5.83 a bushel in Chicago. On May 11, the grain touched $5.7225, the lowest since Oct. 3. Prices have fallen 9.8 percent this year after U.S. farmers told the government in March they intend to plant the most acres since 1937.
Cocoa fell to the lowest in two weeks as rains boost crops in West Africa and producers from the world’s top-growing region sold beans. Orange juice and cotton also slid, while sugar and coffee rose.
Cocoa for July delivery dropped 2.5 percent to settle at $2,261 a metric ton at 12:02 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. Earlier, prices touched $2,220, the lowest for a most- active contract since May 1.
Orange-juice futures for July delivery tumbled 4.9 percent to $1.166 a pound, the biggest drop since May 1.
Raw-sugar futures for July delivery rose 0.2 percent to 20.27 cents a pound in New York, after touching 20.07 cents, the lowest for a most active contract since Sept. 1, 2010.
Arabica-coffee futures for July delivery gained 0.5 percent to $1.7795 a pound on ICE.
Cotton futures for July delivery slid 0.2 percent to 78.82 cents a pound, a ninth straight decline.
In London futures trading, cocoa declined on NYSE Liffe. Refined and robusta coffee gained.
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