LONDON, Jun. 30 -- Commodities fell the most in 10 months, led by declines in industrial metals and energy, on economic concerns in the U.S. and China.
The Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of 19 raw materials tumbled 2.8 percent, the most since Aug. 14. Only gold climbed. A measure of U.S. consumer confidence in June fell more than analysts forecast, and a gauge of China's economy in April showed the smallest gain in five months. Equities from Shanghai to New York tumbled.
"There is potential that if the global economy stops growing, it could have a negative impact on exports," said Doug Harper, an analyst at Richard A. Brock & Associates, a broker in Milwaukee. "There are concerns about the general economy. The stock market is in the tank because there's not much good news out there today."
The CRB index fell 7.26 to 256.27. The gauge has dropped 9.6 percent this year. Today, nickel prices plunged 7.6 percent, the most in seven weeks. Copper tumbled 5.1 percent, and crude oil declined 3 percent.
China is the world's largest consumer of industrial metals, soybeans, pork and cotton and is the second-biggest user of oil, corn and sugar.
Today, the New York-based Conference Board, a research group, revised its leading economic index in April for China to a gain of 0.3 percent. On June 15, the board reported a 1.7 percent increase.
"This correction doesn't affect our outlook for the Chinese economy," William Adams, an economist for the Conference Board in Beijing, said in a telephone interview. "Growth was not likely to accelerate in China, and in fact, a moderation is possible."
Nickel for delivery in three months fell $1,575 to $19,075 on the London Metal Exchange. The price has dropped 11 percent this month.
Copper futures for September delivery fell 15.9 cents to $2.9305 a pound on the Comex in New York.
"We are expecting slowing growth in China and the U.S. for the second half of this year," Jeffrey M. Christian, the managing director of CPM Group, said today in an interview in New York. "It could create fear for investors and that would continue to impact the base metals."
Oil futures for August delivery dropped $2.31 to $75.94 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Gold futures for August delivery climbed 0.3 percent to $1,242.40 on the Comex. Earlier, the metal dropped as much as 0.9 percent.
"Fears of a double-dip recession on the back of a mountain of government debt is making bullion an attractive safe-haven investment," said Rupert Robinson, the chief executive officer of Schroders Plc's U.K. private banking unit.