The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials fell 0.3 percent to settle at 648.21 at 4 p.m. New York time, led by metals.
The UBS Bloomberg CMCI gauge of 26 prices slid 0.2 percent to 1,547.62.
Gold fell, capping the longest run of monthly declines in 16 years, as signs of economic optimism curbed demand for the metal as a haven.
Jobless claims in the U.S. dropped in the week that ended Feb. 23, the government said today. German unemployment unexpectedly fell in February amid signs that Europe’s biggest economy is recovering, and Japan’s industrial production in January rose for the second straight month.
On the Comex in New York, gold futures for April delivery dropped 1.1 percent to $1,578.10 an ounce. This month, the metal tumbled 5 percent, the fifth straight decline and the longest slump January 1997.
Silver futures for May delivery fell 1.9 percent to $28.432 an ounce.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for April delivery fell 1 percent to $1,583.50 an ounce.
Palladium futures for March delivery declined 1.5 percent to $734.55 an ounce.
Copper fell, capping the first monthly drop since October, after the U.S. economy expanded less than forecast last quarter and the International Monetary Fund signaled a lower growth forecast for the country.
On the Comex, copper futures for May delivery declined 0.5 percent to $3.5475 a pound. This month, the price dropped 4.9 percent.
On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months fell 0.7 percent to $7,815 a metric ton ($3.54 a pound).
Aluminum slipped 0.7 percent to $2,005 a ton, the lowest settlement in three months. Nickel, tin, lead and zinc also slid.
Crude oil closed at the lowest this year as the U.S. economy grew less than economists forecast and the euro weakened against the dollar.
On the Nymex, oil futures for April delivery dropped 0.8 percent to $92.05 a barrel, the lowest settlement since Dec. 31.
Brent oil for April settlement fell 0.4 percent to $111.38 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Mercuria Energy Trading SA bought two cargoes of North Sea Forties, matching yesterday’s trade at a three-week high. Russian Urals differentials rebounded from a 22-month low in the Mediterranean.
Bharat Petroleum Corp., India’s second-largest state refiner, bought 3 million barrels for loading in April, said four traders who asked not to be identified because the information is confidential.
Gasoline rose amid supply concerns at two refineries supplying the Chicago market.
On the Nymex, gasoline futures for March delivery climbed 2 percent to $2.9146 a gallon.
Heating-oil futures for March delivery fell 0.5 percent to $2.9719 a gallon.
Natural gas rose, capping the first monthly gain since October, after a government report showed that U.S. stockpiles fell more than average last week.
On the Nymex, gas futures for April delivery advanced 1.5 percent to $3.486 per million British thermal units. The price rose 4.4 percent this month.
U.K. gas declined for the third straight day as above- average temperatures cut demand for the heating fuel.
The price for tomorrow dropped 0.7 percent to 70.15 pence a therm as of 4:42 p.m. London time. Next-month gas climbed 1.2 percent to 69.4 pence a therm. That’s equivalent to $10.54 per million Btu.
Cotton advanced to the highest since May on signs of higher export demand in the U.S., the world’s top shipper.
On ICE Futures U.S. in New York, cotton for May delivery climbed 1.1 percent to 85.29 cents a pound, the highest closing price for a most-active contract since May 9.
Raw-sugar futures for May delivery gained 1.7 percent to 18.39 cents a pound.
Cocoa futures for May delivery rose 0.2 percent to $2,135 a ton.
Orange-juice futures for May delivery increased 1.7 percent to $1.278 a pound.
Arabica-coffee futures for May delivery fell 0.2 percent to $1.432 a pound.
Soybeans rose the most in more than a week after the government said U.S. exporters increased sales to China, the biggest consumer.
On the Chicago Board of Trade, soybean futures for May delivery climbed 0.9 percent to $14.5225 a bushel, the biggest gain since Feb. 19.
Corn futures for May delivery advanced 1.2 percent to $7.035 a bushel.
Wheat futures for May delivery rose 0.4 percent to $7.145 a bushel.
Cattle futures fell, capping the first monthly decline since September, on signs of slack demand for beef and increasing supplies.
On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, cattle futures for April delivery slid less than 0.1 percent to $1.2985 a pound. The commodity dropped 2.2 percent in February, snapping a four- month rally.
Feeder-cattle futures for May settlement rose 0.3 percent to $1.4805 a pound.
Hog futures for April settlement closed unchanged at 81 cents a pound. This month, the price tumbled 9.3 percent, the most since July.
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