Commodities: Large gains in lumber and natural gas

LONDON (ShareCast) - Although gold and industrial metals such as copper saw subdued trading yesterday, with gold falling by just 0.17% to the 1,673.50 dollar per troy ounce level and copper ending barely 0.04% higher at 377 dollars per pound, other corners of the commodity arena saw large - and potentially interesting - moves.

That against the backdrop of largely 'in-line' US ISM services figures and a stable US dollar index (-0.04% to 79.57 points).

Notwithstanding the above, large moves were seen in lumber futures - on speculation of soon to come increases in Chinese demand - which rose by 2.71% in trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Sugar futures were lower by 1% with consensus estimates pointing to an additional 6% fall this year.

That is according to a Bloomberg poll of 27 analysts and traders compiled at the Kingsman sugar conference in Dubai this week. Ethanol production in Brazil's center south will climb 14% in the 2013-14 marketing year that starts there in April, according to Brazil-based Copersucar SA, pressuring cane sugar prices lower.

Grain futures were generally higher by approximately 1%, with the wheat complex being the exception.

Brent oil futures ended the day higher by $0.934 at the $116.69 mark on the ICE, recovering much of the previous day´s losses.

Natural gas futures rose by 2.53% to $3.40MMBtu on NYMEX, in anticipation of a cold spell in the Midwest.

Lastly, on Wednesday morning the Financial Times writes on how, "the credit crunch that has engulfed the commodities trading industry for the last two years has eased, with French banks regaining their appetite to lend to the sector after a large retrenchment in 2011 and 2012."