Bloomberg News

Natural Gas Rises to Highest in Six Months: Commodities at Close

July 18, 2012

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 raw materials rose 1.1 percent to settle at 639.75 at 4 p.m. in New York, led by natural gas.

The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 prices advanced 0.8 percent to 1,557.93.

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas climbed to a six-month high on speculation that government data will show a shrinking supply surplus for the 15th consecutive week.

Analyst forecasts showed stockpiles rose 33 billion cubic feet in the week ended July 13, according to the median of 16 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The five-year average increase is 74 billion, Energy Department data show. The agency’s weekly report is due at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow in Washington.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, gas futures for August delivery rose 6.3 percent to $2.973 per million British thermal units, the highest closing price since Jan. 9.

U.K. gas for delivery today fell as demand dropped to the lowest in more than a week.

Gas dropped 1.7 percent to 54.25 pence a therm at 4:09 p.m. London time. August gas declined 0.5 percent to 53.9 pence a therm. That’s equivalent to $8.42 per million Btu. A therm is 100,000 Btu.

CRUDE OIL

Crude oil topped $90 a barrel for the first time since May as U.S. housing starts increased more than forecast and gasoline inventories fell.

On the Nymex, oil futures for August delivery rose 0.7 percent to $89.87.

Brent crude for September settlement gained 1.1 percent to $105.16 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Total SA failed to sell North Sea Forties at a higher price than its offer yesterday. Gunvor Group Ltd. and OAO Lukoil withdrew their offers for Russian Urals in the Mediterranean and northwest Europe.

Total didn’t manage to sell Forties for loading on July 28 to July 30 at 35 cents a barrel more than dated Brent, 5 cents more than its offer yesterday, according to a Bloomberg survey of traders and brokers monitoring the Platts trading window.

OIL PRODUCTS

Gasoline rose to a seven-week high after U.S. inventories declined unexpectedly last week.

On the Nymex, gasoline futures for August delivery climbed 1.4 percent to $2.8834 a gallon.

Heating-oil futures for August delivery advanced 1.3 percent to $2.8776 a gallon, a nine-week high.

GRAINS, OILSEEDS

Soybeans jumped to a four-year high and corn resumed this month’s rally on signs that hot, dry weather during the next 10 days will prolong a Midwest drought and cut output in the U.S., the world’s biggest producer.

On the Chicago Board of Trade, soybean futures for November delivery rose 1.9 percent to $16.20 a bushel. Earlier, the price reached $16.22, the highest for a most-active contract since July 2008.

Corn futures for December delivery advanced 1.7 percent to $7.8425 a bushel.

Wheat futures for September delivery climbed 2.1 percent to $9.0325 a bushel. The price reached $9.085, the highest since Feb. 14, 2011.

BASE METALS

Copper rallied for the first time in three days as U.S. equities gained and a government report showed new-home construction rose at the fastest pace in almost four years, brightening demand prospects for the metal.

On the Comex in New York, copper futures for September delivery rose 0.5 percent to $3.474 a pound.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months climbed 0.6 percent to $7,637 a metric ton ($3.46 a pound).

Aluminum, lead and zinc also advanced in London, while tin fell and nickel was unchanged.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold futures fell the most in a week after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke provided no specific plans for more purchases of U.S. debt to bolster the economy.

On the Comex, gold futures for August delivery fell 1.2 percent to $1,570.80 an ounce, the biggest drop since July 6.

Silver futures for September delivery dropped 0.8 percent to $27.095 an ounce.

On the Nymex, platinum futures for October delivery fell 1.2 percent to $1,404.20 an ounce. Palladium futures for September delivery slipped 1 percent to $577.55 an ounce.

SOFT COMMODITIES

Orange-juice futures fell, capping the longest slump in 10 weeks, as rain boosted the outlook for the crop in Florida, the world’s second-biggest citrus producer.

On ICE Futures U.S. in New York, orange juice for September delivery slid 1.3 percent to $1.161 a pound. The price fell for the seventh straight session, the longest slump since early May.

Raw-sugar futures for October delivery rose 0.7 percent to 22.95 cents a pound.

Arabica-coffee futures for September delivery climbed 0.2 percent to $1.8215 a pound.

Cocoa futures for September delivery advanced 0.4 percent to $2,204 a metric ton.

Cotton futures for December delivery gained 1.2 percent to 71.93 cents a pound.

LIVESTOCK

Cattle futures rose to a four-month high on speculation that surging feed costs will force ranchers to cull herds, cutting the outlook for meat supply.

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, cattle futures for October delivery jumped 2.4 percent to $1.22825 a pound. The price earlier rose by the exchange limit of 3 cents to $1.22975, the highest since March 19.

Feeder-cattle futures for August settlement climbed by the limit of 3 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $1.372 a pound.

Hog futures for October settlement rose 3.1 percent to 80.05 cents a pound.

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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