Bloomberg News

Oil Falls, Wheat and Corn Gain: Commodities at Close

May 16, 2012

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities fell 0.4 percent to 633.40 at 4:22 p.m. New York time. The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 raw materials was up 0.1 percent to 1,494.425.

CRUDE OIL

Oil fell to the lowest level in more than six months as U.S. supplies grew to the most since 1990 and talks to form a coalition government in Greece collapsed, raising concern that Europe’s debt crisis will worsen.

Crude oil for June delivery fell $1.17, or 1.2 percent, to $92.81 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since Nov. 2. Prices have fallen 15 percent since closing at the 2012 high of $109.77 a barrel on Feb. 24.

Brent oil for June settlement slipped 53 cents, or 0.5 percent, to expire at $111.71 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The more-actively traded July futures retreated $1.70, or 1.5 percent, to $109.75.

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas futures advanced to the highest level in almost 12 weeks as predictions of rising temperatures signaled increased demand for the fuel to run air conditioners.

Natural gas for June delivery rose 11.8 cents to $2.618 per million British thermal units on the Nymex, the highest settlement price since Feb. 23. Futures have narrowed the loss for the year to 12 percent after dropping to $1.902 on April 19, the lowest intraday price in more than a decade.

OIL PRODUCTS

Gasoline slid to a three-month low after the Kyodo News service reported that the U.S. called for a release of strategic oil reserves amid rising crude supplies and concern that Europe’s debt crisis threatens fuel demand.

Gasoline for June delivery fell 2.32 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $2.9209 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since Feb. 3.

Regular gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, rose 0.1 cent to $3.728 a gallon yesterday, according to AAA. It was the first increase since April 14. The 2012 high is $3.936 on April 4.

June-delivery heating oil fell 3.54 cents, or 1.2 percent, to settle at $2.8976 a gallon, the lowest settlement since Dec. 28. Prices have lost 1.3 percent this year.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold, on the brink of a bear market, declined for a fourth straight session as concern that Greece will have to leave the euro boosted the dollar and cut the metal’s appeal as an alternative asset. Silver, palladium and platinum all retreated as well.

Gold futures for June delivery fell 1.3 percent to settle at $1,536.60 on the Comex in New York. The settlement leaves prices down 19 percent from a record close of $1,891.90 reached on Aug. 22, about 1 percentage point shy of a bear market.

Silver futures for July delivery dropped 3.1 percent to $27.196 an ounce on the Comex.

On the Nymex, palladium futures for June delivery slipped 1.2 percent to $594.10 an ounce. Platinum futures for July delivery retreated 1 percent to $1,432.20 an ounce.

BASE METALS

Copper fell to the lowest price since January on concern that slowing growth in China and Greece’s possible exit from the euro zone point to lower demand for the metal.

Copper futures for July delivery slid 1.1 percent to settle at $3.478 a pound on the Comex in New York. Prices dropped for a fourth straight session, the longest slump since February, and are down 9.2 percent this month.

GRAINS

Wheat rose the most since March on speculation that hot, dry weather will curb production in Kansas, the biggest U.S. grower of winter varieties. Corn and soybeans also gained.

Wheat futures for July delivery gained 5 percent to settle at $6.3875 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest one-day gain since March 30. The price has jumped 7 percent this week on the dry Kansas weather.

Corn futures for July delivery climbed 3.8 percent to close at $6.20 a bushel, also the biggest gain since March 30. Futures for December delivery after the harvest rose 2.3 percent to $5.2625, the biggest advance since April 19.

Soybean futures for July delivery gained 0.6 percent to settle at $14.22 a bushel on the CBOT, capping the first two-day gain since April 30.

SOFT COMMODITIES

Cotton fell to the lowest level since July 2010 amid signs of slowing demand from China and rising global inventories. Orange juice also declined. Raw sugar and Arabica coffee gained.

Cotton for July delivery dropped 2.8 percent to settle at 76.97 cents a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. The fiber touched 76.85 cents, the lowest level for a most-active contract since July 30, 2010. Cotton has fallen 14 percent this month, on track for the worst performance since July of last year.

Orange-juice futures slid 1.1 percent to $1.128 a pound on ICE, after touching $1.1035, the lowest price for a most-active contract since November 2009. Prices are down 33 percent this year.

Raw sugar for July delivery climbed 1.6 percent to settle at 20.73 cents a pound on ICE, the biggest gain since March 22.

Arabica-coffee futures for July delivery slid 0.2 percent to $1.78 a pound on ICE. Cocoa futures for July delivery advanced 1.1 percent to $2,292 a metric ton in New York.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at bsullivan10@bloomberg.net

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


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