March 19th, 2014

Crude oil futures climbed above $100 a barrel after a government report showed that inventories at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for the contract, dropped for a seventh week. Brent oil decreased.

WTI gained 0.7 percent. Supplies at Cushing slipped 989,000 barrels last week to 29.8 million, the least since January 2012, the Energy Information Administration said. Prices also rose after Enterprise Products Partners LP said yesterday it will more than double capacity on the Seaway pipeline linking Cushing and Houston. Brent fell 0.9 percent, cutting its premium to the U.S. grade.

“Prices should stay above $100 and continue rising through the end of the month based on the market fundamentals,” said Frank Curzio, an analyst at Stansberry & Associates, an investment advisory firm in Fernandina Beach, Florida.

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March 12th, 2014

Corn Futures – The return of rain to corn-growing areas of Brazil, the world’s second-largest exporter, is threating to cut output after dryness earlier this year delayed planting of the country’s second annual crop.

While dryness in most producing areas in the month to Feb. 15 delayed sowings, the return of rain compounded the lack of sunshine to slow crop development, according to Marco Antonio dos Santos, an agronomist at Sao Paulo-based weather forecaster Somar Meteorologia. Too much rain in Mato Grosso, the biggest producing state, meant growers couldn’t harvest their soybeans in time, which postponed replanting of fields with corn.

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March 7th, 2014

Commodities: As the hip-hop duo Outkast once opined, “You can plan a pretty picnic, but you can’t predict the weather.” Big Boi and Andre 3000 could’ve been describing the commodity markets so far this year.

From drought in Brazil to the arctic blast that swept across North America, extreme weather drove coffee, sugar and natural gas into bull markets just as escalating political tension in Ukraine created supply risks for energy and grains. The rally for raw materials was a surprise to banks from Citigroup Inc. to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. that had forecast 2014 would mark a continuation of last year’s slump.

Commodity funds recorded inflows of $1.57 billion last month, the first gain since September, after withdrawals last year reached a record $43.3 billion, according to EPFR Global, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based researcher. Investors who shunned gold as the metal slumped into a bear market in 2013 increased holdings through exchange-traded funds in February for the first time since 2012. Dryness in Brazil erased the prospect of a record coffee crop as prices jumped, after the longest slide in two decades.

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March 3rd, 2014

Wheat futures climbed the most since 2012 and corn rallied to the highest price since September as tensions escalated in Ukraine, a leading exporter of both grains.

Ukraine, set to be the third-largest corn shipper this year, mobilized its army reserves after Russia seized control of the eastern European country’s Black Sea region of Crimea, sparking one of the most serious standoffs between the West since the end of the Cold War. Ukraine probably will boost wheat exports this season to 9.5 million metric tons from 7.1 million a year earlier, making it the sixth-biggest supplier, according to the International Grains Council.

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March 3rd, 2014

Gold futures advanced to a more than four-month high in New York as concern of a conflict between Russia and Ukraine boosted demand for a haven. Silver climbed.

Ukraine put its forces on combat readiness over the weekend after Russian President Vladimir Putin got parliamentary approval to send troops into its southern neighbor. U.S. President Barack Obama warned Russia not to intervene and Secretary of State John Kerry travels to Ukraine today to offer support as Russian troops occupy the Black Sea region of Crimea.

Bullion is the fourth-biggest gainer in 2014, after coffee, lean hogs and corn, on the Standard & Poor’s GSCI Index of 24 commodities as unrest in Ukraine and signs of slower economic growth boosted demand for a store of value. Gold rebounded from a 28 percent drop in 2013 as U.S. economic data from factory output to retail sales missed estimates just as the Federal Reserve started to scale back asset purchases.

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