Bloomberg News

Oil Falls to Six Month Low; Gold Rises: Commodities at Close

May 17, 2012

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities fell 0.44 percent to 630.62 at 4:12 p.m. New York time. The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 raw materials was up 0.1 percent to 1,496.13.

CRUDE OIL

Oil fell to a six-month low as investors speculated Spanish banks may have their credit ratings lowered and an American gauge of manufacturing trailed projections, bolstering concern that economic growth and fuel demand will drop.

Crude oil for June delivery fell 25 cents to $92.56 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since Nov. 2. Futures are down 6.3 percent this year.

Brent oil for July settlement slipped $2.26, or 2.1 percent, to end the session at $107.49 a barrel on the London- based ICE Futures Europe exchange, the lowest close since Dec. 30. Brent’s premium to the July WTI contract narrowed to $14.55 a barrel.

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas futures declined for the first time in three days in New York after the government reported U.S. stockpiles grew by more than expected last week.

Natural gas for June delivery fell 2.4 cents to settle at $2.594 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange after sliding as much as 4.2 percent. Futures have dropped 13 percent this year.

OIL PRODUCTS

Gasoline slid to a three-month low as Brent crude sank before the reversed Seaway pipeline begins operating this weekend and on indications the U.S. economic recovery is stalling.

Gasoline for June delivery fell 4.27 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $2.8782 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was the lowest settlement since Feb. 2.

Gasoline has lost 16 percent since reaching a 2012 high of $3.4166 on March 26. In that same period, futures pared their year-to-date gain to 7.1 percent from 27 percent.

Regular gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, fell 0.6 cent to $3.722 a gallon yesterday, according to AAA. It was the lowest level since Feb. 27. Gasoline is down 21.4 cents since reaching a 2012 high of $3.936 on April 4.

June-delivery heating oil fell 4.86 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $2.849 a gallon, the lowest settlement since Dec. 19.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold jumped the most since October as a four-day slump and speculation that the Federal Reserve will announce more stimulus for the U.S. economy boosted demand for the precious metal.

Gold futures for June delivery rose 2.5 percent to $1,574.90 an ounce at 1:47 p.m. on the Comex in New York. That’s the biggest gain for a most-active contract since Oct. 25. Yesterday, prices retreated to $1,526.70, the lowest since Dec. 29.

Silver futures for July delivery surged 3 percent to $28.02 an ounce, the biggest advance since April 12.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for July delivery rose 1.5 percent to $1,453.40 an ounce, and June delivery palladium futures rose 2 percent to $605.85 an ounce.

BASE METALS

Copper closed little changed in New York and London as investors weighed concern that Greece may exit the euro region against speculation the Federal Reserve will take more steps to spur U.S. economic growth.

Copper futures for July delivery rose 0.1 cent, or less than 0.1 percent, to settle at $3.479 a pound at 1:24 p.m. on the Comex in New York, after dropping 5.8 percent during the previous four sessions. The metal is down 9.2 percent in May, heading for the biggest monthly drop since September.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months slid less than 0.1 percent to $7,649 a metric ton ($3.47 a pound). Aluminum, nickel and zinc advanced in London. Lead and tin fell.

GRAINS

Soybeans gained for a third day and corn rose on speculation that dry weather in the next two weeks may threaten global production as demand rises for supplies from the U.S., the world’s largest exporter and producer.

Soybean futures for July delivery gained 1.1 percent to close at $14.38 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, capping the first three-day rise since April 30. Futures for delivery in November rose 0.3 percent to $13.065.

Corn futures for July delivery climbed 0.8 percent to $6.25 a bushel in Chicago. Prices are up 7.6 percent this week, heading for the biggest gain in a year on increased Chinese purchases of U.S. grain. Futures for December delivery after the harvest advanced 0.4 percent to $5.2825.

Wheat rose to a six-week high on concern that dry weather will curb output in the U.S., the world’s largest exporter, and in the Black Sea region, including Russia and Ukraine.

Wheat futures for July delivery advanced 3 percent to settle at $6.5775 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, after jumping to $6.585, the highest since April 4. Prices are up 10 percent this week, erasing a loss for the year.

SOFT COMMODITIES

Cocoa futures fell, heading for the biggest weekly drop in a month, as the debt crisis in Europe and slower growth in the U.S. may curb demand for chocolate from the world’s biggest consumers. Sugar and coffee gained.

Cocoa for July delivery slid 3 percent to settle at $2,224 a metric ton at 12:08 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. Prices are down 4.1 percent this week, heading for the biggest drop since April 6.

Raw-sugar futures for July delivery advanced 0.6 percent to 20.86 cents on ICE, the fourth straight gain.

Arabica-coffee futures for July delivery climbed 1.2 percent to $1.801 a pound.

LIVESTOCK

Cattle futures climbed to a seven-week high on speculation that demand for U.S. beef is increasing as warmer weather spurs consumers to grill outdoors. Hog prices rose.

Cattle futures for August delivery rose 0.9 percent to settle at $1.2005 a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, after reaching $1.201, the highest for a most-active contract since March 29.

Feeder-cattle futures for August settlement advanced 1 percent to $1.59925 a pound in Chicago. Earlier, the price reached $1.59975, the highest since March 5.

Hog futures for July settlement increased 1.3 percent to settle at 88.75 cents a pound in Chicago after reaching 88.9, the highest for a most-active contract since April 20. The commodity has climbed 5.3 percent this year.

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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