Gasoline Surges on Refinery Shutdowns: Commodities at Close
The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials rose 0.3 percent to close at 666.64 at 5 p.m. in New York as gasoline and natural gas climbed.
The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 prices was little changed at 1,606.01.
Gasoline surged to the highest level since August as refinery outages, scheduled maintenance and plant closures in North America and Europe tighten supplies of the motor fuel.
Futures rose 2.8 percent as ConocoPhillips planned to shut the fluid catalytic cracker at its Bayway refinery in New Jersey. Two unprofitable refineries in Pennsylvania have shut down, one owned by Sunoco Inc. and one owned by ConocoPhillips. Hovensa LLC plans to shut its 350,000-barrel-a-day St. Croix plant in the U.S. Virgin Islands next month.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, gasoline for February delivery rose 8.02 cents to $2.9268 a gallon, the highest settlement since Aug. 31. It gained 5.1 percent for the week. The crack spread, or the premium of gasoline over crude oil, widened $3.19, or 16 percent, to $23.22 a barrel, the highest level since October.
Natural gas futures rose in New York, capping the biggest weekly gain in more than a year, on revised forecasts for colder weather and speculation that more companies will cut production after Chesapeake Energy Corp. and ConocoPhillips announced plans this week to reduce output.
Gas gained 2.8 percent. A midday update to the National Weather Service’s Global Forecast System model showed below- normal temperatures in the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. from Feb. 6 through Feb. 10, according to MDA EarthSat Weather in Rockville, Maryland. Chesapeake said Jan. 23 it will cut gas production by 500 million cubic feet a day.
On the Nymex, natural gas for February delivery rose 7.3 cents to settle at $2.678 per million British thermal units. The futures climbed 14 percent this week, the biggest weekly gain since October 2010.
The February contract lost 4.5 percent yesterday and expired today. The more active March futures contract gained 10.2 cents, or 3.8 percent, to $2.756.
Corn rose for a sixth time in seven sessions as overseas demand improved and farmers withheld supplies from exporters, boosting cash bids for the biggest U.S. crop. Soybeans fell on beneficial rain in South America.
U.S. exporters sold 170,200 metric tons of corn to Mexico, the Department of Agriculture said today. The premium for corn delivered to terminals near New Orleans was 77.5 cents above March futures, the highest in five months, USDA data show. Spot premiums for corn in Illinois were the highest in 37 years, the University of Illinois said in a report.
On the Chicago Board of Trade, corn futures for March delivery rose 1.1 percent to close at $6.4175 a bushel, a two- week high.
Soybean futures for March delivery fell 0.3 percent to $12.19 a bushel. Yesterday, the price touched $12.31, the highest since Jan. 11 on speculation that dry weather damaged crops in Argentina and Brazil, the biggest producers after the U.S.
Wheat futures for March delivery fell 1 percent to settle at $6.4725 a bushel.
Hog futures rebounded from a two-week low on speculation that demand for U.S. pork will increase. Cattle prices also rose.
In the past 12 months, wholesale beef jumped 6.4 percent, while pork prices slumped 4.8 percent, USDA data show. The spread may help spur consumer demand, Lou Arens, a broker at PCI Advisory Services in Waucoma, Iowa, said in a telephone interview.
On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, hog futures for April settlement rose 0.7 percent to close at 87.375 cents a pound. The commodity has gained 3.6 percent this month.
Cattle futures for April delivery climbed 0.3 percent to $1.2845 a pound. On Jan. 25, the price reached $1.29675, the highest since the commodity started trading on the CME in 1964.
Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement advanced 0.6 percent to $1.546 a pound. On Jan. 25, the price climbed to a record $1.55525.
Gold climbed to a seven-week high as the dollar weakened after European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said Greece was close to reaching agreement with its creditors.
Greece and its creditors are haggling over the terms of an accord to reduce the country’s borrowings. Gold prices jumped 4.3 percent this week, while the dollar retreated 1.7 percent mainly because of the Federal Reserve’s pledge to keep interest rates low until at least late 2014.
On the Comex, gold futures for April delivery gained 0.3 percent to settle at $1,735.40 an ounce, the highest closing price since Dec. 7.
Silver futures for March delivery rose 0.1 percent to $33.79 an ounce, jumping 6.7 percent this week. Silver is the best-performing commodity among the Standard & Poor’s GSCI index of 24 commodities this month.
On the Nymex, platinum futures for April delivery advanced 0.4 percent to $1,623 an ounce, extending the weekly gain to 5.9 percent, the most since October 2011. Palladium futures for March delivery fell 0.6 percent to $690.15 an ounce. Still, prices climbed 2.1 percent this week.
Copper futures fell from a four-month high after the U.S. economy expanded less than forecast, signaling that a rally in metal prices may be overdone.
Gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced, climbed at a 2.8 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter, trailing the 3 percent median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, government data showed.
On the Comex, copper futures for March delivery fell 0.3 percent to settle at $3.889 a pound. Earlier, the metal reached $3.939, the highest for a most-active contract since Sept. 16.
The price climbed 3.9 percent this week and is up 13 percent in January, heading for the biggest gain ever to start the year.
On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months fell 0.8 percent to $8,525 a metric ton ($3.87 a pound).
Lead, aluminum and zinc also declined in London, while nickel and tin rose.
Cocoa fell for the first time in a week after the U.S. economy expanded less than forecast in the fourth quarter, signaling that demand for some commodities may ebb. Sugar and coffee also declined.
Gross domestic product climbed at a 2.8 percent annual pace, government data showed today. The median forecast of 79 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was 3 percent. The International Cocoa Organization has forecast that global bean processing may increase 2 percent in the season that started Oct. 1, compared with 4.1 percent a year earlier, with usage in Europe and the U.S. easing.
On ICE Futures U.S. in New York, cocoa for March delivery dropped 1.9 percent to close at $2,406 a metric ton, the first decline since Jan. 20.
Raw-sugar futures for March delivery declined 2.1 percent to 24.21 cents a pound, the biggest drop since Jan. 5. This week, the price dropped 2.7 percent, the most in two months.
Arabica-coffee futures for March delivery fell 1.1 percent to $2.1735 a pound. This week, the price dropped 3.6 percent, the most since mid-December.
In London futures trading, cocoa, refined sugar and robusta coffee fell on NYSE Liffe.
Oil climbed this week as gasoline jumped to the highest level since August and amid signs Greece is near an agreement with its creditors.
Futures rose 1.1 percent this week after gasoline surged on speculation that refinery outages and plant closures will cut supplies. Olli Rehn, the European Union’s commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, said an agreement is “very close” on private-sector involvement in a Greek debt swap.
On the Nymex, oil for March delivery slipped 14 cents today to settle at $99.56, cutting the weekly gain to $1.10. Prices have climbed 16 percent in the past year.
Brent oil for March settlement gained $1.60, or 1.5 percent, this week to $111.46 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The futures ended today’s session up 67 cents, or 0.6 percent.
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