Coffee prices surge on worries about Brazil’s crop; Natural gas jumps on severe cold weather

By The Associated Press | Associated Press – Thu, Feb 20, 2014 10:19 AM AEDT

Coffee prices surged again Wednesday as traders worried that dry weather in Brazil will affect that country’s crop and hurt supplies.

Natural gas futures were also sharply higher because of the severe cold weather in the U.S. and concerns over supplies.

The actively traded May contract for coffee beans soared 17.8 cents, or 12 percent, to settle at $1.73 a pound. Wholesale coffee prices haven’t been that high since October 2012. Coffee futures had also risen 12.6 cents on Tuesday.

In energy trading, U.S. crude for April delivery rose 74 cents at $102.84 a barrel. The last time the price of oil was above $103 was in October.

April natural gas gained 19.7 cents to $4.95 per 1,000 cubic feet. Very cold weather in the eastern part of the U.S. has boosted energy prices. The National Weather Service said more snow is ahead for residents of northern New England.

Wholesale gasoline for April slipped 0.4 cent to $3 a gallon and heating oil for April rose 2.7 cents to $3.07 a gallon.

Gold for April delivery fell $4, or 0.3 percent, to $1,320.40 per ounce.

Silver for March delivery fell 4.8 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $21.85 per ounce. Copper for the same month closed flat at $3.29 per pound.

Platinum for April was also unchanged at $1,424.50 per ounce. Palladium for March dropped $1.75, or 0.2 percent, to $735.40 per ounce.

In other trading of agricultural products, wheat for March delivery climbed 8.25 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $6.2025 a bushel.

Corn for March delivery rose 4.25 cents, or 1 percent, to $4.5375 a bushel and soybeans for the same month fell 6.75 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $13.5425 a bushel.