Crude fell to the lowest level in almost eight months as employment reports in the U.S. and the euro area signaled fuel demand may tumble.
Crude futures for July delivery declined $3.30, or 3.8 percent, to $83.23 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since Oct. 7. Prices are down 24 percent from this year’s closing high of $109.77 on Feb. 24. Futures decreased 8.4 percent this week, the most since the week ended Sept. 23.
Brent for July settlement tumbled $3.44, or 3.4 percent, to $98.43 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London, the lowest close since Jan. 27, 2011. The European benchmark fell 7.9 percent this week and 8.3 percent this year.
Gasoline slid to a five-month low, erasing a yearly gain, as the U.S. and European labor markets weakened and factory output slowed in China and Europe, threatening demand for fuel. Heating oil slid to a 16-month low.
Gasoline for July delivery tumbled 6.59 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $2.6568 a gallon on the Nymex, the lowest settlement since Dec. 28.
July-delivery heating oil fell 7.53 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $2.6279 a gallon, the lowest settlement since Jan. 25, 2011. The fuel lost 7.1 percent this week, its biggest decline since Sept. 23. Prices have tumbled 10 percent this year.
Natural gas futures dropped to a four-week low in New York as forecasts for cooler weather in the eastern U.S. over the next week signaled reduced demand from power plants.
Natural gas for July delivery sank 9.6 cents to $2.326 per million Btu on the Nymex, the lowest settlement price since May 4. The futures, down 22 percent this year, fell 9.4 percent this week, the biggest decline since the week ended Jan. 20.
July $2.75 calls, bets that prices will rise, were the most active options in electronic trading on the exchange. They were 1.3 cents lower at 2.3 cents per million Btu on volume of 699 contracts at 3:14 p.m.
The price discount, or spread, of the July contract to August futures increased 0.2 cent to 6.1 cents.
Gold jumped the most since August as signs of weakening job growth in the U.S. fueled expectations that the Federal Reserve will take further steps to spur growth, boosting the appeal of the metal as an inflation hedge.
Gold futures for August delivery jumped 3.7 percent to settle at $1,622.10 an ounce on the Comex in New York, the biggest advance for a most-active contract since Aug. 8.
Silver futures for July delivery surged 2.7 percent to $28.512 an ounce on the Comex, the biggest gain in two weeks. Prices climbed 0.4 percent this week, rising for the first time in six.
On the Nymex, platinum futures for July delivery advanced 1.1 percent to $1,433.20 an ounce, helping the metal climb 0.5 percent this week. Palladium futures for September delivery rose 10 cents to $614.
Copper futures fell for the fifth straight week, the longest slump in two years, as U.S. job growth stalled and rising unemployment in Europe added to signs that metal demand may dwindle.
Copper for July delivery fell 1.5 percent to settle at $3.3135 a pound on the Comex in New York. Earlier, the price touched $3.30, the lowest for a most-active contract since Dec. 20. The metal, down 3.9 percent this week, has slumped 19 percent in the past 12 months.
Aluminum, tin, lead and nickel also fell in London. Zinc rose.
Corn futures fell to an 18-month low as economic data from Europe, Asia and the U.S. indicated commodity demand will ebb. Soybeans for delivery after the harvest slid as rains boosted yield potential.
Corn futures for July delivery, the contract with the highest open interest, slumped 0.7 percent to close at $5.515 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price has fallen 15 percent this year after farmers said they intended to plant the most acres since 1937.
Soybean futures for November delivery fell 1 percent to $12.58.
Wheat futures for July delivery tumbled 4.9 percent to settle at $6.1225 a bushel on the CBOT, the biggest drop for a most-active contract since Jan. 12. This week, the price plunged 10 percent, most since mid-March 2011.
Sugar and coffee futures extended slumps to the lowest since 2010 on concern that the sluggish global economy will curb demand for raw materials. Cotton futures slumped to the lowest price in more than 27 months and orange juice and cocoa also slid.
Raw sugar for July delivery declined 1.7 percent to settle at 19.09 cents a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, after touching 18.95 cents, the lowest for a most-active contract since Aug. 17, 2010. The price dropped 2.7 percent this week.
Arabica-coffee futures for July delivery fell 2 percent to $1.575 a pound in New York. This week, the price dropped 6.1 percent.
Cotton for December delivery plunged 3.9 percent to settle at 67.61 cents a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, after touching 67.35 cents, the lowest for a most-active contract since Feb. 8, 2010.
Orange-juice futures for July delivery fell 0.3 percent to $1.117 a pound in New York, paring this week’s advance to 2.2 percent. The price has dropped 39 percent in the past 12 months.
Cocoa futures for July delivery fell 1 percent to $2,063 a metric ton on ICE. This week, the commodity dropped 2.2 percent, the third straight decline and the longest slump since December.
In London futures trading, refined sugar, robusta coffee and cocoa also tumbled on NYSE Liffe.
Hog futures climbed, marking the biggest weekly increase since March 2011, on signs of improved demand from U.S. pork processors. Cattle prices rebounded.
Hog futures for July settlement rose 0.6 percent to settle at 91.575 cents a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Prices increased 5.8 percent this week, the biggest gain since March 11, 2011.
Cattle futures for August delivery added 0.6 percent to settle at $1.196 a pound in Chicago, after dropping as much as 0.7 percent. In May, the commodity climbed 4.2 percent, the most since January.
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