Gold Climbs; Crude Heads for Weekly Gain: Commodities at Close

Gold and other precious metals continue their climb in 2012. Many other commodities are seeing higher prices as well as many investors are looking at ways to safely invest their assets.

January 06, 2012, 5:54 AM EST
By Christian Schmollinger
Business Week

Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) -- The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities rose 0.5 percent to 664.36 as of 6:27 p.m. in Singapore. The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 raw materials climbed 0.5 percent to 1,547.041


Oil headed for a weekly gain in New York on signs that the U.S. economic recovery is gaining momentum and concern that tensions with Iran may lead to a disruption in Middle East exports.

Crude for February delivery was at $102.18 at 8:36 a.m. London time. Yesterday, the contract fell $1.41 to $101.81, the lowest settlement this week. Prices gained 8.2 percent in 2011.

Brent oil for February settlement on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange rose 0.5 percent, to $111.31 a barrel. The European benchmark contract was at a $11.06 premium to New York-traded West Texas Intermediate crude. The spread was a record $27.88 on Oct. 14. Crude markets: NI CRMKTS


Futures fell in New York. Gas for February delivery dropped 0.03 percent to $2.979 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices are 33 percent lower than a year ago. U.S. natural gas: NI NUSMKT


Gasoil, or diesel, swaps for February slid 10 cents to $128 a barrel at 11:45 a.m. Singapore time, according to PVM Oil Associates Ltd., a broker. Prices are set for a 4.5 percent gain this week, the most since April.

Gasoil’s premium to Dubai crude rose $1.21 to $19.66 a barrel, the highest since Nov. 21, PVM said. This crack spread, a measure of refining profit, is headed for the first weekly increase in four weeks.

Fuel oil’s discount to Dubai crude narrowed $1.16 to $2.96 a barrel, according to PVM. The gap increased the previous three days, signaling losses for refiners turning oil into residual products. February high-sulfur fuel oil swaps dropped 50 cents to $685 a metric ton, PVM said.

Benchmark naphtha swaps decreased $5, or 0.5 percent, to $939 a ton, according to PVM. The petrochemical feedstock is up 3.7 percent from last week.

Naphtha’s premium to London-traded Brent crude futures dropped $1.15 to $93.46 a ton, based on data compiled by Bloomberg. This crack spread is down 4.2 percent this week, set for a third weekly decline. Asia oil products: NI OPAMKT


Cash gold gained as much as 0.4 percent to $1,628.52 an ounce, the highest level since Dec. 21, and traded little changed at $1,621 an ounce at 3:55 p.m. in Singapore. February- delivery bullion rose as much as 0.6 percent to $1,629.30 on the Comex in New York.

Spot silver lost 0.2 percent to $29.305 an ounce, paring its first weekly advance in five. Immediate-delivery platinum swung between gains and losses before trading little changed at $1,413.50 an ounce, heading for a weekly increase. Cash palladium was unchanged at $638 an ounce, poised for a second weekly retreat. Precious metal markets: NI PCMKTS


Copper for delivery in three months gained 0.3 percent to $7,565.75 a metric ton by 9:42 a.m. on the London Metal Exchange. The metal is down 0.5 percent this week. The March- delivery contract rose 0.3 percent to $3.435 a pound on the Comex in New York.

Aluminum for three-month delivery on the LME gained 0.5 percent to $2,047 a ton. Zinc rose 0.9 percent to $1,850 a ton and lead was little changed at $2,005.50 a ton. Nickel dropped 0.2 percent to $18,630 a ton, while tin decreased 0.7 percent to $19,710 a ton. Base metals markets: NI BMMKTS


Soybeans for delivery in March rose 0.7 percent to $12.1775 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade at 3:57 p.m. Singapore time, set for a 0.8 percent gain this week. The contract earlier dropped 0.4 percent.

Corn for delivery in March advanced 0.6 percent to $6.475 a bushel, after declining as much as 0.5 percent. It was set for a 0.2 percent gain this week. Wheat for March delivery gained 0.4 percent to $6.32 a bushel, erasing an earlier loss of 0.3 percent and trimming the weekly loss to 3.2 percent.

Wholesale pork slid 1.1 percent Jan. 4 to 84.71 cents a pound, the lowest since Jan. 14, 2011, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s Lean- Hog Index, a measure of spot-market prices, traded at 81.39 cents a pound yesterday, or 3.785 cents less than the February futures contract.

Hog futures for February settlement fell 1.6 percent to settle at 83.85 cents a pound yesterday on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, after reaching 83.775 cents, the lowest since Dec. 22. The price has rallied 7.5 percent in the past year. Cattle futures for February delivery dropped 0.6 percent to settle at $1.2095 a pound on the CME. Prices have rallied 13 percent in the past 12 months.

Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement gained 0.2 percent to $1.5085 a pound in Chicago, after reaching a record $1.521. Prices are up 23 percent in the past year.

Palm oil advanced, heading for a third weekly rise, on speculation that stockpiles in Malaysia may drop below 2 million metric tons for the first time in four months as output declines due to floods. The March-delivery contract gained as much as 0.6 percent to 3,208 ringgit ($1,018) per ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange, erasing an earlier loss of 0.4 percent. It was at 3,206 ringgit at 5:11 p.m. in Kuala Lumpur. Futures are set for a 1 percent gain this week. Grain markets: NI GRMKTS Livestock markets: NI LVMKTS


Orange juice for March delivery rose 2.9 percent to settle at $1.7805 a pound yesterday on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, after gaining as much as 5 percent to $1.817, the highest for a most-active contract since Aug. 5. Prices have rallied 9.1 percent in the past two weeks.

Raw sugar for March delivery plunged 5.3 percent to settle at 23.13 cents a pound yesterday on ICE Futures in New York, the biggest decline since Sept. 16. The sweetener sank 27 percent in 2011 as crops expanded in Asia and Europe.

Arabica-coffee futures for March delivery declined 3.2 percent to close at $2.1955 a pound in New York, the biggest drop since Oct. 31. The price sank 29 percent since reaching a 14-year high in May.

Cocoa futures for March delivery dropped 2.3 percent to $2,028 a metric ton in New York, the second day of losses, after touching $2,016, the lowest for a most-active contract since Dec. 12. The commodity fell 31 percent last year. Soft commodities markets: NI SOMKTS

To contact the reporter on this story: Christian Schmollinger in Singapore at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alexander Kwiatkowski at

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