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Metals Slump on Renewed Concerns of a Slowdown in Europe
May 20,2010 08:46CST
industry news
Source:SMM

May 19 (Bloomberg) -- Commodity prices dropped to a 10- month low, led by metals, on heightened concerns that debts in Europe will slow economic growth and curb demand for raw materials.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel laid out proposals to wrest control over "destructive" financial markets. Equities around the world dropped, and the euro traded at a four-year low against the dollar before recovering. Crude oil touched the lowest price since September. Palladium plunged the most since 2008, and gold slipped below $1,200 an ounce.

The Standard & Poor's GSCI Total Return Index of 24 items fell 1 percent to 3,958 in New York, after sliding to 3,912, the lowest level since July 17. The index has dropped for five straight sessions and 14 percent this month, wiping out gains in February, March and April.

"Nervousness over Europe is just driving everybody out of the riskier assets, and commodities are seen as riskier for sure," said David Wilson, an analyst in London at Societe Generale.

The declines in commodities are "taking the hopes for continued global economic strength down with them," Dennis Gartman, an economist, wrote today in his daily Gartman Letter. "In the present environment, the simple mantra is that a strong dollar equals weak commodity prices."

Crude oil futures for June delivery rose 46 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $69.87 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after falling as much as 2 percent. The euro rose against the dollar after sliding to its poorest level since April 2006.

Gold, Platinum Fall

Gold futures for June delivery fell $21.50, or 1.8 percent, to $1,193.10 an ounce on the Comex in New York, down from a record $1,249.70 last week. Palladium future for June delivery plunged $47.30, or 9.3 percent, to $459.70 an ounce on the Nymex, the biggest drop since Nov. 19, 2008.

Greece had to tap emergency loans from the euro region today to repay 8.5 billion euros of 10-year bonds after recording a budget deficit equal to 13.6 percent of gross domestic product last year. Greece estimates its economy will contract by 4 percent this year.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months fell 2.8 percent to $6,505 a metric ton, and nickel declined 3.8 percent to $21,300 a ton.

Copper has dropped 12 percent this month and nickel, used to make stainless steel, is down 19 percent on signs of oversupply. Aluminum, copper, lead, zinc, nickel and tin supply outpaced demand in the first quarter, the World Bureau of Metal Statistics said.

"Higher risk aversion, as witnessed by the stronger dollar and weaker equity markets worldwide, is bringing metals under pressure," said Eugen Weinberg, an analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt.

In farm commodities, wheat futures for July delivery rose 1.5 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $4.6925 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, halting the longest slide since December at five straight declines.
 

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